How to Fix a Slow-Opening Windows Downloads Folder

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When you're browsing through your hard drive in File Explorer (aka Windows Explorer), most folders open quickly. However, the Downloads folder, which is one of the most frequent and important places on your computer, often takes 10 seconds or longer to fully load. While you watch in frustration, a status bar in Explorer slowly fills itself for no apparent reason, even if you have a fast computer with a speedy SSD.


The slow-loading Downloads folder problem occurs because, by default, Windows is trying to create thumbnails for photos and videos in the folder, even if none of the files are pictures. With a quick settings change, you can make the Downloads folder open quickly in Windows 7, 8 or 10. Here's how. 

MORE: Out of the Box Tips: Set Up Your New Laptop Like a Pro

1. Open File Explorer. You can get there by hitting Windows Key + E or clicking on the explorer icon in your taskbar.

2. Right click on the Downloads shortcut in the right window pane and select Properties.

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3. Navigate to the Customize tab.


4. Select "General items" from the "Optimize this folder for:" list.

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5. Click Ok.

Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
Add a comment
  • Thanks Says:

    Worked perfectly for me! (Windows 10)

  • wlexxx Says:

    i have win 7 professional
    there is no "customize" tab
    i see the others shown..


  • _KDB_ Says:

    Thanks, this worked for me on windows 10.
    My dl folder was working fine but once I downloaded alot of pics I guess my machine automatically optimized to be used for pictures and not general files.

  • ahnnnnn Says:

    does nothing at all.
    how can so many people from all over the world be posting this same useless "fix"?

  • Dave L Says:

    This doesn't seem to have any effect, at least on Windows 10.

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