Skip to main content

How to Fix a Slow-Opening Windows Downloads Folder

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.

3. Navigate to the Customize tab.

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

5. Click Ok.

Windows 10 Annoyances and Problems

The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com 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.