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How to find unwanted downloads on my computer

Updated April 17, 2017

The search or find feature on your computer can help find files accidentally downloaded or downloaded without your knowledge. Use the recent file list and enable the "Show Hidden Files" feature to find unwanted downloads on your computer. Your Internet browser also keeps track of all of the websites and downloads that occur on your computer. These downloads are stored in a container folder for easy access. View the downloads folder from the Internet browser to find files you wish to remove.

Turn on your computer and wait for the desktop to load. Click the "Start" menu to open your personal folder. Double-click "Documents" to access the folders that contain your downloads. In separate actions, double-click "Downloads," "Documents," "Pictures," "Videos" and "Music" to view the contents of these folders to find unwanted downloads. Click on the file to highlight it and then press "Delete" or "DLT" on your keyboard to remove the unwanted downloads.

Go to the "Start" menu on your computer and click "Find" or "Search" depending on your version of Windows. Leave the search dialogue box blank and click "Search" to bring up all recently used files. Scroll the files to find unwanted downloads placed on the computer accidentally or by another user.

Turn "Recent Items" on in newer versions of Windows, such as Windows 7. Right-click on the "Start" Menu and click "Properties." Click the "Store and display recently opened items in the Start menu and the task bar" to select it. Click "OK" to turn on "Recent Items" in your menu.

View the computer's recent file list to find unwanted downloads. Click on the "Start" menu and click "My Recent Documents" or "Recent Items" depending on your Windows operating system. Search through the list of recent items on the list to find unwanted downloads on the computer.

Enable your computer to show hidden files to view unwanted downloads that may be hidden. Click the "Start" menu and click "Control Panel." Type "Control Panel" in the search box, if using Windows 7. Click "Appearance and Personalization" and click "Show hidden files and folders." Click "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" under the "Hidden files and folders" section. Press "Apply" and then click "OK" to finish. View files on the computer that are now unhidden, such as unwanted downloads.

Check your web browser to find unwanted downloads. Double-click on your web browser to open it. Click "History" on the toolbar located at the top of the browser, if using Mozilla Firefox. Click "View," "Explorer Bar," and then "History, if using Internet Explorer. Scroll the results to view all of the websites that have been accessed on the computer to look for unwanted downloads.

Find downloads in your "Temporary Files" folder of your browser. Click "Tools" in the Internet Explorer browser. Click "Internet Options" and click "Settings" under "Browsing History." Click "View Files" under Temporary Files and History Settings." Browse the folder to find files and downloads that have been saved to your computer.

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About the Author

Amanda Dyar is a professional writer with 20 years of experience. She has published several books based on her short story writings. Her first published book was "Collections of the Insane Mind." She was a lifestyle columnist for the Weekly Post in Rainsville, Ala. She holds a bachelor's degree in human resource management and psychology.