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How to manage your downloads on a Chromebook

by Dan Millward
How to manage your Chromebook downloads

The Chromebook works differently to other computers and this is the same when it comes to downloading files. In this article, we’ll look at managing your Chromebook downloads, which is important if you want to keep on top of your files. We’ll also look at what happens when you download files on your Chromebook computer.

THE DOWNLOADS FOLDER

When you download files from the internet they are automatically saved into the downloads folder. If you’re anything like me I’m sure you intend keeping your files in order. However, when you get busy it’s all too easy to let files you download sit in that folder.

You might think there is nothing wrong with this because it just means you’ve got a lot of different file types sitting in the folder. This is true but if you leave it like this for too long. You’ll soon be faced with a situation where you’ve so many files that you’ll forget what you need to keep and what can be deleted.

There is another reason why leaving files in the downloads folder is not a long term solution.

FILES IN THE DOWNLOADS FOLDER ARE AUTOMATICALLY DELETED

If you’ve got files sitting in your Chromebooks downloads folder that you need to keep. Then you should move these to another folder. This is because files in the downloads folder are automatically deleted and without warning.

This might appear a little extreme but this is how Chrome OS deals with a situation where you are running low on storage. If you’re downloading files and your storage is full Chrome OS will automatically delete other files from the folder.

Also, there is no going back on this. You cannot restore files that have been deleted from your downloads folder. Once they are gone they’ve gone.

So to avoid this happening you’ll need to change how you currently manage your downloads.

MANUALLY MOVE FILES

One way to avoid your files being deleted by accident is to manually move the files you need to a different folder. To do this you’ll first need to create a new folder.

This is easily done by opening the file manager and clicking on ‘My Files’. Then in the right-hand section of the file manager right-click and select ‘New Folder’. You then just need to type the name of the new folder you’d like to create.

You can see below that I created a folder called ‘My Saved Downloads’.

How to manage your Chromebook downloads

Once you’ve created a new folder you can easily drag and drop files from the ‘Downloads’ folder into your new folder. This will avoid these files being deleted if your Chromebook starts running low on storage space.

The problem with this method is that it’s very easy to forget to do this on a regular basis. It’s very similar to keeping your desk organised. We all know we should do it but it’s all too easy to let things get on top of us.

CHANGE THE LOCATION OF YOUR CHROMEBOOK DOWNLOADS

If you don’t want to run the risk of files being deleted by accident. Another option is to change the folder where your downloads are saved. By doing this you stop the risk of files being deleted if your Chromebooks storage gets full.

It still means you need to manage your files and you would regularly need to check what was needed. If you just left the downloads to pile up, then you would soon end up running out of storage space.

How to change your downloads folder on your Chromebook

Time needed: 2 minutes.

How to change your Chromebooks download folder

  1. Click on the bottom right menu of your desktop

    To get to the Chromebook settings you need to click on the time at the bottom right of your Chromebooks desktop.
    How to change the Chromebooks download folder

  2. Click on the settings cog

    From this menu, you need to click on the settings cog, which will look similar to the image below.
    Chromebook settings cog

  3. Click on the settings menu

    In the top left click on the settings menu.

    Chromebook settings menu

  4. Choose downloads under the ‘Advanced’ menu

    Once you’ve clicked on settings you will see a list of menu options. Click on ‘Downloads’ under the ‘Advanced’ menu heading.

  5. Change the downloads folder

    To change the folder click on the ‘Change’ button as shown below.

    Chromebook downloads menu

  6. Create a new folder or choose an existing one

    You can now choose to either create a new folder by clicking on the ‘New Folder’ button in the bottom left or you can choose an existing folder and then pressing the ‘open’ button.
    Choose your new Chromebook downloads folder

That’s all done. When you next download files they will be automatically saved to the new folder that you selected.

CHOOSE YOUR DOWNLOAD FOLDER ON EVERY DOWNLOAD

Another method is to choose the location of your file download every time you download a file. The benefit of doing this is that you don’t need to regularly keep on top of your files. By choosing the location each time you are sorting your files at the same time of downloading.

The only downside to this is that it does create an extra step on each download. If you’re busy and need to get things done this can be frustrating. However, either way, you’ll need to deal with your files eventually. If you choose your location for each download, you don’t need to worry about having a huge amount of files to sort at a later date.

To do this just follow the same steps as above, but at step 5 choose ‘ask where to save each file before downloading’.

Another advantage of this method is that you get to choose the name of the download on each occasion. This is great because it means you do not need to worry about changing filenames at a later date.

YOU CAN CHOOSE A FOLDER IN GOOGLE DRIVE

One way to avoid using your storage space altogether is to choose a folder in Google Drive. This is a good option if you download a lot of files. It also means you’ve got a backup of your downloads should anything happen.

In either of the options above you can easily choose a folder in Google Drive. I would definitely choose this option if your Chromebook comes with little storage space. By doing this you’ll be able to use the extra storage space to install any Android Apps you use on a regular basis.

CONCLUSION

You should treat the Downloads folder as a temporary option. Always remember the files will be automatically deleted if your Chromebook runs low on storage. By using the steps above you can stop this from happening. It’s also a much more efficient way of managing your downloads.

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