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source: Mandi Ehman

Why I Download Files to My Desktop

Why I Download Files to My Desktop

Last week, Lauren talked about 5 ways to clean up your Mac, and while talking about cleaning out your downloads folder, she said, “Ideally your downloads folder is the landing place for all your downloaded files — not your desktop, right?”

Funny enough, while I know popular advice is to use the downloads folder for all of the things you download from the internet, I actually prefer to use my desktop (because I’m a rebel like that!).

Here’s why:

If it’s on my desktop, I can do something with it — file it, use it, trash it — right away rather than just building up a clunky downloads folder that slows my computer down.

Like my kitchen counters, my desktop might get pretty messy during the day, but I always clean it up at night and then I can easily find what I’m looking for because I’ve put it in the correct folder and deleted all the trash.

I’m also less likely to let the clutter build when it’s on my desktop than I am when it’s hidden away in the downloads folder (kind of like a junk drawer in the kitchen!).

And, because my desktop is in plain view, I’m less likely to forget about something that I downloaded, which my ADD-like brain might do otherwise.

Now, in fairness, Lauren pointed out that Macs actually assign resources differently than PCs, and having a lot of files on your Mac desktop can impact the performance of your computer, so if you’re strapped for resources or dealing with a slow machine, you might want to keep your desktop clear at all costs. For me, though, keeping my downloads on my desktop forces me to deal with them (because I like having a clear desktop), which actually keeps my computer running better!

Want to try it for yourself? Here’s how to change your default download folder in various browsers:


On the Tools menu, select Options. The download folder settings are on the General tab (which should come up by default). Select the radio button next to Save files to and then click the Browse… button to select your desktop as the download destination.


Click on the Options menu icon on the far right of the screen (three horizontal lines) and select Settings. Click Show Advanced Settings and scroll down to the Downloads section. Next to Download location click on Change… and select your desktop as the download location.

Internet Explorer

Click the gear icon on the far right of your screen and select View downloads (or hit ctrl+J while your browser is open). Click the Options link in the bottom left-hand corner. Then click Browse… and select the desktop as your default download location.


Click the gear icon on the far right of your screen and select Preferences. On the General tab, look for the Save downloaded files to: option and select Other… from the list. Then select the desktop to set it as your download destination.

Do you have a default folder for your downloads, or do you select the location each time you download a file from the internet? If you use a default folder, do you prefer a dedicated downloads folder or your desktop?