Microsoft has decided to roll back its decision to add the Downloads folder to the Windows 10 Disk Cleanup program after receiving negative feedback from users.
The Windows 10 Disk Cleanup program allows users to quickly free up hard drive space by removing unneeded files found in a variety of system locations. These locations include temporary files, the Recycle Bin, Thumbnails, old Windows Update files, etc.
With the release of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, Microsoft quietly added the Downloads folder as an additional option to the Disk Cleanup program, which when selected would cause the files in that folder to be deleted as well.
When this feature went live, we reported that this was potentially dangerous as users commonly start Disk Cleanup, check all the options, and run the cleanup routine. By adding the Downloads folder, users may accidentally check that option as well and remove files that they need.
Others appeared to have agreed, as Microsoft quietly added an update to the Windows 10 Insider build 19018 (20H1) release notes stating that the Downloads folder option has been removed from Disk Cleanup.
[ADDED] Based on feedback, we’ve decided to remove the downloads folder from disk cleanup.
It is not known if Microsoft plans on waiting until Windows 10 20H1 is released to make this change or if they will add it to Windows 10 1903 in the next cumulative update or in Windows 10 1909. At this time, Windows 10 1909 18363.499, which is the latest build, still has the Downloads option.
We will know soon enough on November 12th, which is the next Patch Tuesday.