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Clearing the Downloads Folder


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#1 clayto

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 12:21 PM

My Downloads Folder has a lot in it, using up memory.  Most of it is SetUp files, etc.  Often anonymous because that is  usually all they are called  ---- Setup.  Is it a good idea to delete (most) of these to save memory, especially on small machines like my Tablet, or is there an important reason for keeping them?  If one needed to install a program again it should be easy to do it from the interne (which also makes sure it is the latest version).

 

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#2 Aura

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 12:36 PM

Hi clayto :)

To be honest, you should never keep anything in your Downloads folder. If you need to keep something you downloaded, you should move it in an appropriate folder, like Documents, Music, Videos, Pictures, Desktop, etc. If you downloaded a document only to see it once, you should delete it right after. It's safe to delete everything you have in Downloads that you downloaded if you don't need these files anymore. If you need the installation file for a program, I would redownload it to make sure that I have the latest installer anyway.

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#3 rp88

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 04:31 PM

" If you need the installation file for a program..." Personally i would suggest contrary to Aura's advice here and keep such files, one day you might uninstall a piece of software only to find it's website has shutdown and it is no longer available, worth keeping a copy for yourself in case of this. Updating can be done quickly and easily after installation.
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#4 Aura

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 04:33 PM

Wouldn't apply to programs that are constantly updated or that have a download archive webpage like Java, Flash Player, VirtualBox, etc. Such programs needs to always be at their latest version otherwise they are considered as security holes in a system. On top of that, if you uninstall a program and the product is discontinued, maybe its a good thing to not use it anymore and just move on.

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#5 noknojon

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 04:53 PM

They will be listed as Temporary Files once used ..

 

Empty your temp folders using TFC (Temporary File Cleaner)

  • Please download TFC by Old Timer and save it to your desktop.
  • Alternate download link
  • Save any unsaved work. (TFC will close ALL open programs including your browser!)
  • Double-click on TFC.exe to run it. (If you are using Vista, right-click on the file and choose "Run As Administrator".)
  • Click the Start button to begin the cleaning process and let it run uninterrupted to completion.
  • If TFC prompts you to reboot, do so immediately. If not prompted, manually reboot the machine anyway allowing Windows to load normally to ensure a complete clean.


#6 Aura

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 05:21 PM

" If you need the installation file for a program..." Personally i would suggest contrary to Aura's advice here and keep such files, one day you might uninstall a piece of software only to find it's website has shutdown and it is no longer available, worth keeping a copy for yourself in case of this. Updating can be done quickly and easily after installation.


Oh and I forgot to add, this is what I actually do. D:\Files\Installers contains installers (.msi, .exe, etc.) for multiple programs, but like I said, only the ones that don't need to be update regulary and also heavy duty programs (with big installers) like SQL Server 2008 R2, Visual Studio 2013, Netbeans, etc.

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#7 jcgriff2

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 10:51 PM

Go ahead and clear out the Downloads folder if you wish.

 

Just to clarify - the items in your Downloads folder are taking up hard drive space -- not memory.


Edited by jcgriff2, 20 March 2015 - 10:52 PM.

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#8 clayto

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Posted 22 March 2015 - 02:53 PM

Thanks --- some informative comments. I think I will clear out my Downloads folder, selectively perhaps, as I want to restore as much HD space as I can. As well, I am saving space by starting to upload files into various Cloud services, plus using a high capacity memory card which is a permanent feature of my Tablet.

#9 rp88

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Posted 22 March 2015 - 04:20 PM

Aura post #4: your advice is true for things which crucially need super reguar updates, though in some cases it can still be easier to install first the old one then update from within it immediately afterrwards. As for your comment about softwre which isn't available not being worth using, that's not true. It is true for things which need active patching on a regular basis, internet facing things, plugins and such, but for desktop applications which don't go online (things like photo editing programs, video editing programs, 3d modelling programs, audio editors...) it doesn't really apply. If a program was good when it was available and doesn't have internet facing parts then it's still worth using even if it becomes not available.

clayto: just to ask, precisely how much storage is the downloads folder using up? how many gigabytes? there might be other things on your computer which are just as big or bigger which might benefit from cleaning as well.

If you don't WANT to keep those setup files ( i've given reasons for keeping them IF you want to, aura has given reaons for getting rid of them IF you want to ) there is usually no need to keep them.

A program almost always functions fine without that installer about, most installers are a little bit like zip files in that they contain stuff and when you execute them they unpack it into the configuration they need to actually run the program and place this unpacked stuff into somewhere like C:\Program Files\(folder relevant to that software) to run the program, the original installer no longer being needed for further use.

You should have no trouble clearing your downloads folder just by deleting all the things in it which you don't want.

As for clearing other space, and making some other small enhancements which can help make things faster i would suggest using CCleaner from piriform. You can use it's temp file cleaning functons to remove the little bits of data which a program creates for further use while running but has no need of once you close it, these add up to quite a lot within just a few days so regular removal of them can be helpful. You can alos use it's startups function to disbale the startup of un-necessary services and programs, but you should check the names of each service or program online or on this forum to ensure it isn't smething important before you disbale it. Disabling is better than deleting because it can be undone if you later decide it was better to have a given thing start automatically at startup. You shoudl NOT however touch the registry cleaning/editing section in CClener, it can't make anyhting better but does risk causing severe system damage if you are unlucky.

Another pair of useful tactics for freeing up storgae space (which sometimes has effects on the speed of a system) are clearing out the recycle bin (a surprising number of people do not) and uninstalling unwanted programs, do you have any programs that you have barely used and think you are never likely to use again?

This is the advice i would give for computers which run programs in the "normal" way. For tablets where "apps" are the main thing i can't give any advice or comments as have no experience with such things.

Edited by rp88, 22 March 2015 - 04:21 PM.

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#10 Aura

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Posted 22 March 2015 - 05:51 PM

clayto, Mega.co.nz offers you 50GB of free cloud storage if you ever need it.

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#11 clayto

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 01:48 PM

Thanks Aura, I will check out Mega

rp88 Thanks for your informative posting --- I want to learn more about the Downloads Folder. Until recently my only computer was an aging Acer Aspire Laptop with Windows XP which has been getting very sluggish and prone to freezing. I am still using it, but recently my main computer has become a Quantum View 10.1 Tablet with Windows 8.1, so I am having to learn about the new OS (and may have to learn about W10 later this year!) Everything about the Tablet is 'small' compared to the Laptop so I have become more conscious of the need to clean out unwanted files. I use CCleaner and Ashampoo WinOptomiser every few days and empty the Bin frequently. I find Windows' own Disk Cleanup tool is good at removing unnecessary files that the other utilities appear not to have removed..

 

My Downloads Folder is 599 MB at present, which probably seems quite small to you. I have 'two' Download Folders which are in fact the same Folder but they look very different, one is a long list of programs, setup and related files, the other is the same but in the form of images / iconsDo I need both?  And if I don't,  which of the two are the best ones to delete?  The apps I install from Windows Store are held somewhere else, I don't know where!  I am curious that the two versions of the Download Folder are the same size ---- I would have thought that the images would have taken up more memory?

 

I will look to see what I can zip; I am starting to move some  things 'in current use' to a 15 GB memory card (the Tablet has a Card slot as well as USB) and to Cloud Services.  All the photos and most files from the XP are now in the Cloud, via DropBox. I use Foxit for reading / writing pdf documents and plan to save all my pdfs to Foxit Cloud. I have Backup in the Cloud via Norton Anti-virus. There are plenty of options for storage without having to use the Tablet's small capacity Hard Disk (2 GB).

 

clayto



#12 Aura

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 02:06 PM

Can you give us the location of both these Download folders? What are their path?

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#13 clayto

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 03:08 PM

Hi

 

One is:  This PC>Downloads    (This has the large icons in it)

 

The other is:  Home group>my name>Downloads   (This presents a list, with small icons)

 

The memory size is the same in both so I assume one is a mirror of the other but a distorting mirror.

 

Is this not usual in W8.1?  I certainly do not have this in my WXP Laptop.  These duplicate Folders were not created by me but automatically by the OS.  And there are others, for example there is a This PC>Desktop and a my name>Desktop.  I have three Music Folders, one empty, one with a list of tracks, and another one under Liberies with a different list.

 

I have been puzzled by this, as I find it somewhat confusing rather than helpful so I would appreciate any clarification you can offer.  As I am new to W8.1 I assume Windows knows what it is doing!

 

clayto



#14 Aura

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 03:16 PM

These aren't the real path of these folders. Right-click on them and select Properties. Then it should show you their real path.

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#15 clayto

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 08:16 AM

Hello Aura

 

C:\Users\Christopher\Downloads

 

C:\Users\Christopher\Downloads

 

Here are the paths, copied and pasted .  As youcan see, they are bothe the same yet the contents of the Folders LOOK very different despite the fact that they are the same files and total memory taken isthe same.  As I have said there are a number of 'duplicate' Folders like this.  I find it very odd and dont know if it is 'normal' or not.

 

clayto 






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