Finding Your Downloads

Finding downloads on your computer can sometimes feel like a maze. Get it all cleared up in this free lesson on finding your downloads.

Finding your downloads

Screenshot of Google Chrome Downloads FolderA list of recently downloaded files

While you may spend a lot of time browsing the Web, you can also use the Internet to download files to your computer. From email attachments to photos, music, movies, applications, and more, you've probably downloaded lots of different files from the Web.

Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to locate those files after downloading them. In this lesson, you'll learn how to find your downloads easily on both Windows and Mac OS X computers.

Using the Downloads folder

By default, most computers will save downloaded files in a specific folder, known as the Downloads folder. If you're having trouble finding a downloaded file, this is the first place you should look.

Using the Downloads folder in Windows:

Using the Downloads folder in Mac OS X:

If you don't see the Downloads folder on the Dock, you can use Spotlight to search for it. Simply click the Spotlight icon in the top-right corner of the screen, then type Downloads in the search box.

Screenshot of Mac OS XSearching for the Downloads folder using Spotlight

Viewing recent downloads in your browser

You can also view downloads directly from your web browser. This is especially helpful for finding files you've downloaded recently, but it may not display every file in your Downloads folder.

We'll use Internet Explorer in the example below, but other web browsers will have similar options for viewing recently downloaded files.

Searching for files

Sometimes you may not be able to find the file you need in the Downloads folder. If you believe the file is still on your computer, you can always search for the file.

Searching for files in Windows:

Screenshot of Microsoft WindowsSearching for a file with the Start menu

If you're using Windows 8, simply navigate to the Start screen and start typing the file name.

Searching for files in Mac OS X:

Screenshot of Mac OS XSearching for a file with Spotlight

If you still can't find the file you need, you may be able to redownload it from the original source on the Web.