How to change download location and save location on Windows 11


Featured - How to change the default download location and save location in Windows 11

When you download or save a file on Windows 11 or Windows 10, the operating system wants to place your files in a default download folder or save location. This is fine for many people, but for some it can cause loss of vital space on their small OS drive. As a result, today we are going to show you how to change the download location on Windows 11 / Windows 10, as well as how to change the default save location of Windows 10 / Windows 11.

Besides freeing up space on your c: drive, changing the save and download location in Windows 11 / Windows 10 can speed up your workflow and allow you to perform better backups. You can save them to a separate virtual drive that you back up, for example, or in your OneDrive folder. While you can do this before while browsing, having Windows starts you in the right folder saves a lot of time.

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While we are targeting the methods below to a Windows 11 audience, they will also work on Windows 10. However, you may see some changes in your UI so be aware of them. With that said, let’s get started:

How to change the download location on Windows 11 / Windows 10

If you want to change the location of downloads on Windows 11 / Windows 10, you need to move your downloads folder. However, it’s not as easy as cutting it and pasting it somewhere else. As you may have noticed, Windows 11 / Windows 10 does not allow you to move the folder through the traditional method, you just need to create a shortcut to it or copy it.

So how do you change the download location? Microsoft has fortunately implemented a handy user interface in folder properties that makes things easier:

  1. Open File Explorer

    press the To start up on your taskbar and click “File Explorer” in the pinned apps section. You can also press Windows + E if you haven’t pinned File Explorer.

    Windows 11 - Open File Explorer

  2. Right click on “Downloads” and select “Properties” from the list

    Windows 11 - Open File Explorer - Properties

  3. Open the “Location” tab and press the “Move …” button

    By default, your folder will point to C: Users Your user Downloads. We want to change that to a place of our choosing.

    Windows 11 - File Explorer - Downloads - Properties - Location - Move

  4. Navigate and click on your new downloads folder and press “Select Folder”

    If you don’t have a new downloads folder yet, you can right-click anywhere and press “New> Folder” to create one.

    Windows 11 - File Explorer - Downloads - Properties - Location - Move - Select Folder

  5. Press “OK” with your new folder path selected

    Windows 11 - File Explorer - Downloads - Properties - Location - Move - Select a folder Accept

  6. Press “Yes” until the warning prompt to move all your downloads to the new location

    Windows 11 - File Explorer - Downloads - Properties - Move - Move All

How to change default save location in Windows 11 / Windows 10

Windows 10 / Windows 11 save location will change the drive where the operating system prompts you to save the files you create or certain files from the Internet. Here’s how you change it:

  1. Open the Settings app

    To do this, press the Start button and then click “Settings” in pinned apps. If it’s not in your pinned apps, you can tap “Windows + I” to open it instead.

    Windows 11 - Open settings

  2. Select “System” from the sidebar and click on the “Storage” drop-down menu

    Windows 11 - Settings - System - Open storage

  3. Click on “Advanced storage settings”, then “Where new content is saved”

    Windows 11 - Settings - System - Storage - Advanced storage settings - Where new content is saved

  4. Change the drive letter in the “New applications will be saved in:” drop-down list and press “Apply”

    You can repeat this process for each type of media if you want. For example, you might want your photos and videos to be saved to a different drive because they take up a lot of space, but keep your documents on the C: drive.

    Windows 11 - Settings - System - Storage - Advanced storage settings - Where new content is saved - Apply in new volume E

How to create a virtual hard disk in Windows

Windows 10 - Create and attach a virtual hard drive

If you have a single hard drive or SSD but still want to change the default Windows 10 / Windows 11 backup location, you can create a virtual drive. It won’t free up space, but it can help organization or make backups easier. You can follow our dedicated virtual hard drive tutorial to do so or even create a dynamically expanding virtual hard drive.

How to sync a OneDrive folder to any directory on your PC

Windows 10 - OneDrive location

Now that you know how to change the default save location to download folder location in Windows 11 / Windows 10, make sure they sync with OneDrive. You can use a mklink to save the sync of any directory to OneDrive and therefore make sure they are backed up.

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