The Desktop, Documents, and Downloads folders are the most frequently accessed folders on a PC running any recent versions of the Windows operating system, including the latest Windows 10. With default settings, all files downloaded using web browsers are saved in the Downloads folder, which is located in the drive where Windows operating system is installed. Likewise, most users save their important files in the Documents folder. The desktop folder is also often used to save files.
There are a couple of ways to access the Downloads folder from Desktop as well as File Explorer. Either type its name in the Start menu or taskbar search box and press enter key, or open File Explorer (Windows Explorer) and then click Downloads folder located in the navigation pane or type Downloads in the address bar followed by the Enter key. If the File Explorer icon is on the taskbar, you can also right-click on it to reveal the jump list and then click Downloads.
And if you prefer to quickly open the Downloads folder with a keyboard shortcut, launch Run command with the help of Windows + R hotkey, type Downloads, Shell:Desktop, or Shell:Documents, and then press Enter key. Using the search feature is probably the easiest way out there to quickly open the Downloads/Desktop/Documents folder.
While one can always use one of the methods mentioned above to quickly open Downloads folder, users who often need to access it might want to create a desktop shortcut for Downloads folder or pin Downloads folder to the taskbar for easy access.
In this guide, we will see how to add Downloads folder shortcut to Desktop as well as to the taskbar in Windows 10. Luckily, pinning Desktop/Documents/Downloads folder is not as complicated as pinning standard folders.
Pin Desktop/Documents/Downloads folder to Windows 10 taskbar
NOTE: This method can only pin Downloads, Documents, Music, Videos, and Pictures folders to the taskbar. To pin other folders, please refer to our how to quickly pin folders to the taskbar in Windows 10 guide for step-by-step instructions.
Step 1: Open File Explorer, right-click on the Downloads folder in the navigation-pane (if you can’t see either expand Quick Access or This PC), click Send to, and then click Desktop (create shortcut) to have the shortcut of it on the Desktop.
Step 2: On the desktop, right-click on the newly created folder shortcut and click Properties to open the Properties dialog.
Step 3: Under the Shortcut tab, you will see the Target field. Add “Explorer” (without quotes) at the beginning of the target path and then add a space, as shown in the picture below. Click the Apply button.
Step 4: Next, drag and drop the Downloads shortcut from the Desktop to the taskbar to pin to the taskbar.
Create a desktop shortcut for the Downloads/Desktop/Documents folder
Step 1: Open File Explorer.
Step 2: Right-click on the Downloads folder in the navigation pane of File Explorer, click Send to, and then click Desktop (create shortcut) option to create the desktop shortcut of it. As simple as that!
To pin Downloads/Desktop/Documents to Start menu
Step 1: Open File Explorer, right-click on the Downloads folder in the navigation pane and then click Pin to Start.
Tip: In Windows 10, you can easily add the Downloads folder to the left-pane of the Start menu, just above the power button. Refer to our how to add downloads & documents folders to the Windows 10 Start menu guide for step-by-step instructions.