Saturday, December 26, 2015

Windows 10 Download Folder Blues


Like most people I leave my browsers download folder to the default "Downloads" on Windows 10.

I have on occasion had an issue where I download something and then want to upload it somewhere else right away, but when I browse to my Downloads folder Windows Explorer does not show me the contents of the directory,  Instead it says "Working on it."

This time it frustrated me enough I decided to fix the problem.  It turns out the reason what it that Windows 10 optimizes folders for certain types of data.  In my case (and probably yours too) my Download folder was set to type "Pictures."  What this means to Windows aside from "be slow" I don't know.  I assume there is a thumbnail generation process, indexing and other things that are technical but would add value to a folder filled with pictures.

But I don't need to wait for that, and as an engineer, I download a ton of stuff that are not pictures.  And you probably do too -- music, games, apps, documents, pdfs....  And Windows 10 already comes with a premade optimized folder for Documents, Pictures, Music and Videos.  So why should your Downloads folder be slow to access?

There is a simple fix.



Open up Windows explorer by pressing Windows-E
Right click on you "Downloads" folder on the left and choose "Properties"
Go to the "Customize Tab" and under "Optimize Folder" chose "General Items"

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What are the consequences for this in terms of seeing thumbnails?  Probably significant -- but I would suggest that if you want to see thumbnails put your pictures in a folder that is optimized for pictures.  Likewise I notice that there are optimizations for Documents, Music and Videos.  And Windows 10 by default provides folders for all of those sort of things.  I suspect putting things in their right place will help you with searching you media as well as other things.

So the best practice imho is to download things and then if you intend to keep them, move them into folders for that type of content, and leave your Download optimized for general content.


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