[Solved] Can't Open Downloads Folder in Windows 10

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I was trying to download some files and when I did this, I wasn’t allowed to access my Downloads folder. My computer uses a Windows 10 version, what can I do to fix this?

Users who find out that they can’t open downloads Windows 10 is a common problem. This folder being inaccessible means that you won’t be able to access the stuff you download either. It’s more than just an inconvenience, and it’s a problem you’ll want to fix as soon as possible. If you find out this issue is happening with your computer then don’t worry – you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got a selection of solutions to help remedy this problem in no time at all.

Resolving this problem and trying to fix can’t open Downloads folder on Windows 10 error isn’t easy unless you’re an expert with computers. Unless you know what types of fixes actually work, you could waste a lot of time using ineffective methods. To save you time we’ve gathered 5 of the top fixes so that you can repair the Downloads folder as soon as possible.

Run System File Checker

The first thing to do when you see a not responding/inaccessible Downloads folder is to run the System File Checker. The purpose of this built-in Windows utility is to scan all of the system files. This scan will detect any corrupt, faulty, or missing system files that could cause issues with the Windows’ functionality.

  • Step 1. Search CMD in the search bar, right-click on “Command Prompt”, and click “Run as Administrator”.

  • Step 2. Type in the command “DISM.exe /online cleanup-image /restorehealth”, press the Enter key, and wait a second.

  • Step 3. Next, type in the command “sfc /scannow”, press the Enter key, and wait. This command will take much longer to run than the previous command.

  • Run System File Checker

  • Step 4. Once the scan finishes, you’ll be shown a message if any corrupt files were repaired. Turn off the computer and back on to finalise the repair.

Since the Downloads folder is created by the system, this command will detect if any underlying problems are affecting the folder. It also automatically repairs the folder if necessary.

Restore Windows System

Another fix you can try is restoring the Windows system. This will usually help fix can’t open Downloads folder on Windows 10 error if the problem arose after you updated Windows. Even small updates can cause features to break and reverting to the previous version will fix anything that was broken as a result.

To use this solution, a Restore Point must be available. For some Windows updates the system will create them. However, this isn’t frequent and it’s ideal if users remember to create reliable Restore Points. Hopefully, there is a point available in which case, follow these steps.

  • Step 1.  In the Windows search bar, enter “System Protection” and choose “Create a Restore Point” from the search results.

  • Step 2. Confirm that you are in the “System Protection” tab, and select the C: Drive. Click on “Configure” and ensure that the “Turn on System Protection” setting is currently active. Click “Apply” then “OK”.

  • Step 3. Navigate back to the System Properties window and now click the “System Restore…” button.

  • Step 4. Several restore points will be listed, select the most recent available point (presumably right before you updated).

  • Step 5. Windows will walk you through the remaining steps with on-screen instructions.

It’s worth mentioning that this doesn’t impact your personal files. Only system files will be restored so there’s no need to worry about losing personal data from using this Windows tool.

Optimize the Downloads Folder for General Items

Still can’t open Downloads Windows 10? The third fix we suggest trying is much simpler than the others so far. After you download any file, Windows takes the liberty of filtering it into a category – music, photos, videos, etc. Certain folders, like the Pictures folder, are automatically set to optimize files as photos.

  • Step 1. Search “This PC” and open up the This PC file explorer menu.

  • Step 2. At the top of the window, locate and right-click on “Downloads”, and select “Properties”.

  • Optimize the Downloads Folder for General Items

  • Step 3. Click on the “Customize” tab and under the “Optimize this folder for” option, click the drop-down menu and choose “General items”.

  • Step 4. Check the box “Also apply this template to all subfolders”, press the “Apply” button, and click “OK”.

  • Optimize the Downloads Folder for General Items

It may take a few minutes for this change to be applied to the Downloads folder and all of its contents. Afterwards, check if the folder is still inaccessible.

Change View Settings

This next fix will come as a surprise for most users. Whenever a Windows user opens a folder, every file’s preview/thumbnail within the folder will be loaded. As a result, if even just one file has a corrupt thumbnail that doesn’t load properly, you could be blocked from opening Downloads.

Although this sounds like an impossible way to repair Downloads folder not working/inaccessible error on Windows 10, the solution is very easy.

  • Step 1. In the search bar, type “Folder Options” and click the “File Explorer Options” result.

  • Step 2. Go to the “View” tab and observe the “Advanced settings” section.

  • Change View Settings

  • Step 3. If the setting hasn’t already been turned on, enable “Always show icons, never thumbnails” by checking the box next to it.

  • Step 4. Click “Apply” and “OK”, then check whether or not the problem still occurs.

  •  recover files deleted by virus from backup

Using this method will stop thumbnails from loading when you want to open the Downloads folder. Thus, if a corrupt thumbnail is at the root of the error, showing the icons instead will let you regain access to the folder.

Recover Files from Inaccessible Download Folder with AnyRecover

After trying these 4 fixes you’ll either have fixed the issue or you still can’t open downloads in Windows 10. What you can do instead is to recover files from the inaccessible folder using a third-party data recovery software: AnyRecover.

This multi-purpose recovery tool can be applied to any data loss situation and is highly effective for retrieving data from folders that are no longer accessible, for any reason.


1,000,000 + Downloads

Features of iMyFone AnyRecover:        

It is able to recover any file type from the inaccessible Downloads folder.

It can recover data from inaccessible folders on hard drives, solid state drives, memory sticks, and any other storage devices.

It support data recovery of inaccessible folders due to viruses, corruption, and OS crashes.

The original data stored in the Downloads folder is recovered in an unaltered state.

Selectively recover data rather than restoring every file in the inaccessible folder.

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Steps about how to recover files from inaccessible download folder with AnyRecover:

Step 1. Download AnyRecover, install it on your computer, and launch the program. Choose the file location of your Downloads folder, click “Start” to run scanning process.

select location

Step 2. As the scan is running, you will be able to pause the scan and resume it later, stop it completely, and view the remaining time for it to complete.

scan location

Step 3. After the scan is done, browse all of the files that were detected and select the files that you want to recover. Finish this recover process by clicking “Recover” and choosing a recovery location that is different from your Downloads folder.

preview and recover


When you first notice that you can’t open Downloads Windows 10, your best bet is to stop using your computer or at the very least, don’t download anything else. This will significantly reduce the risk of data loss until the issue is resolved. The next thing to do is recover any files you don’t want to lose. Taking the time to recover will reassure you that if any solution doesn’t go well, valuable files aren’t lost. AnyRecover provides users with an effortless way of restoring files that would otherwise be lost forever, and it’s suitable for all data loss cases.

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By Simon Marcus , to Hard Drive Recovery

Updated: May 24, 2021

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