A helpful little addition will prevent Windows 10 from automatically deleting files from the Downloads folder, as long as they are synced to the cloud.
Essentially preventing accidental deletes.
This change was reflected in the latest Windows 10 preview build that made its way out to Insiders in the Fast ring earlier this week. Build 19640 contains a minor change to improve the behavior of the Storage Sense disk cleanup feature in Settings.
As Microsoft notes:
“Based on feedback, if your Downloads folder is synced to a cloud provider, we are disabling the option to have Storage Sense automatically clear out your Downloads folder on a cycle.”
This is the latest refinement of this feature — based on public demand as you can see.
The reason being, Microsoft first gave users a new option in Windows 10 version 1809, that of checking a box for Disk Cleanup to clear disk space from the Downloads folder. This location was one of the several key ones to delete files in order to recover hard disk space.
Along with the Recycle Bin and Temporary Files.
It just so happened that some users who did not know about the addition of Downloads to Disk Cleanup checked all the boxes without realizing that Downloads was there, accidentally deleting files that they wanted to keep.
This latest refinement is related to that behavior of the Disk Cleanup utility and its sibling Storage Sense, which is built into Windows 10 to automatically tidy up some storage space on machines.
Microsoft removed the Downloads folder from Disk Cleanup options with Windows 10 20H1, also known as Windows 10 version 2004. And this latest change now ensures that there will not be an option to automatically clear out the Downloads folder if it is already synced to a cloud provider.
And although the company files this under user feedback, this measure is also to prevent cloud servers that are synced to the Downloads folder from deleting the sync files.