Windows “Downloads Folder” and Roaming Profiles

By default, Windows automatically saves all downloaded files into the “Downloads” Folder within the user profile. Since this folder forms part of a user’s Roaming Profile, it will be copied back and forth between the workstation and the server at every logon / logoff. As the size of the “Downloads” folder increases, so will the user’s logon / logoff time.

One solution to this problem is to use “group policy” exclude the “Downloads” folder from the roaming profile.

From within the group policy editor, choose a suitable policy object (one that will be applied to domain user accounts), or create a new one. The key we are interested in editing can be found at: User Configuration => Policies => Administrative Templates => System => User Profiles => Exclude directories in Roaming Profile.

Exclude Directories in Roaming Profile 001

Enable the policy and set the value = “Downloads”

Exclude Directories in Roaming Profile 002

From now onwards, all downloaded files will be excluded from the roaming profile, and will only exist on the local workstation.

Article Update (April 2022)
You may find it useful to exclude these other folders too:

Application Folder Location
OneDrive / SkyDrive OneDrive; SkyDrive
Dropbox Dropbox
iTunes AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync; AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\Logs; AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates;
Blackberry Desktop Data\Roaming\Research In Motion\Blackberry Desktop\Updates;
Java Data\Sun\Java
Microsoft Teams AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Teams\Service Worker\CacheStorage;
. .

4 thoughts on “Windows “Downloads Folder” and Roaming Profiles

  1. More to add:

    Slack – AppData\Roaming\Slack
    Teams – AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Teams
    Zoom – AppData\Roaming\Zoom

    Had one user with 13+GB of data being synced in their profile

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