Most of us save downloaded files in the default Downloads folder, and many of us have tens of folders and files on the desktop. Since most users have GBs of data in both Downloads and Desktop (all items on the desktop are saved in the Desktop folder) folder, it’s a good idea to move these folders to another drive if your Windows or system drive is running out of disk space.
With default settings, folder like Documents, Desktop, Downloads, Picture, and Music are located on the drive where Windows 10 is installed. For instance, if Windows 10 is installed on the “C” drive, you can find these folders by navigating to C:\Users\YourUserName folder.
If you are running Windows 10 on a relatively small SSD or on a small partition of your hard drive and running out of disk space, you can consider moving Documents, Desktop, and Download folders to another drive.
Many users want to move the user profile folder to another drive to free up disk space on the system partition, but since moving Users or profile folder to another drive is not supported by Windows out of the box, there will be issues while upgrading your Windows 10 to a new build. So this method of moving desktop, documents, downloads, music and pictures folders to another drive (over moving user profile folder) where you have plenty of free space makes sense.
IMPORTANT: Don’t use this guide if the drive is encrypted.
Move downloads, desktop, and documents to another drive
Here is how to move desktop, downloads, picture, and music folders to another drive on Windows 10. Note that you can move folders that you want to move, and no need to move all of them.
Step 1: Open the File Explorer by clicking its icon on the taskbar or clicking the File Explorer icon in the Start menu.
Step 2: In the left navigation pane of File Explorer, you can see Desktop, Downloads, Picture, and other folders under Quick Access. Right-click on the folder that you want to move to another drive and then click Properties.
For instance, if you want to move the Desktop folder, right-click on it and then click Properties to open Desktop Properties. Please note that it’s not possible to move multiple folders at once.
Step 3: Switch to the Location tab, click the Move button, and then select a location on any drive (other than an external drive) and finally, click Select Folder, and then click Apply button to move the selected folder to the new drive.
And if you see the following confirmation dialog asking “Do you want to move all of the files from the old location to the new location?”, click Yes button to move all files to the new location.
Using this method, you can move Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Pictures, and Music folder to another drive.
To restore the original location of these folders
In this guide, we are restoring the Desktop folder to its original location. These directions apply downloads, documents, music and pictures folders as well.
Step 1: Open File Explorer, navigate the location where you have saved the Desktop folder. Right-click on the Desktop folder, and then click Properties.
Step 2: Click on the Location tab, and then click Restore default button to move back the selected folder to the original location. Click the Apply button. Click the Yes button when you see the confirmation dialog.
This method is one of the easiest ways out there to free up space on your system drive.
How many GBs have you gained by moving these folders?
Luis Hernandez says
This is incorrect. The proper way to do it is creating symbolic links:
MANUALLY MOVE THE DESKTOP FOLDER DO NOT FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS
Don’t follow these instructions! My “This PC” is now called “Desktop”, I have 2 Desktop folders and 2 Documents folders, with one of them under Desktop. I think I’m going to have to reinstall Windows.
Thanks a lot. My computer is now an unholy mess
Pierre, reset is the only way to move it out. Manually moving desktop icons afterwards.. I did that too. lol. It should be noted NOT to put it in a root drive or you will face issues when you need to move it again.
Pierre Henry says
Hi please help I wanted to move it back but when I pressed Restore Default it said : Failed to build the list of refusal subdirectories under D:\System Volume Information. Access is Denied. Please help
I moved Desktop to my drive D which is encrypted using BitLocker. After move I lost all my task-bar items/icons.