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Make Your System Clean Up Old Downloads Automatically

Does your download folder constantly get cluttered with old files that you don’t even remember downloading? Sure, you can always just delete the contents of the folder and start over, but a better way is to teach your computer how to clean it for you.

For this task we’ll use a small freeware called Belvedere that can move or delete files based on custom rules you can easily setup in the interface. To get the full benefit of automated cleanup, you should also setup the great system-cleaning application CCleaner to automatically run each night.

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Using Belvedere

After downloading the executable and saving it to a safe place, you can simply launch it and get right to work (no install required). If you want the application to run automatically when you login, you can create a shortcut in the shell:startup folder.

The first thing you’ll want to do is click the plus symbol on the bottom left to add a new Folder to watch.

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Next you’ll want to select the folder in the logically named “Browser For Folder” dialog.

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Once you’ve added the folder, you’ll want to first select it on the left-hand side…

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Then click the plus symbol below the Rules box to create a new rule, giving it a relevant name like “Cleanup Old Downloads”. The interface will let you create multiple conditions to match files, but since we’re trying to clean up old downloads you can choose “Date last opened” and “is not in the last” x “days”, which is pretty easy to understand.

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You’ll probably want to send the file to the recycle bin rather than just deleting it, and you can refine the filter further by adding a new rule with the plus icon, and specifying “Extension” and “matches one of”, and then put your file extensions into the box, separated by a comma (don’t use the period).

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The Test button will show you what files are going to match so you don’t make a big mistake.

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Once you are done with that rule, you can create a completely different rule to match different files… for instance I created a rule to move all downloaded images to my Pictures folder.

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Once you’ve created all of your rules, you can minimize the application to the system tray, and it will work silently in the background, cleaning up after you. It’s not a perfect app and definitely has a few bugs (so use the recycle bin option instead of delete), but overall it’s a great application for keeping your system cleaned up.

Download Belvedere from lifehacker.com

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 02/19/09

Comments (8)

  1. ScottW

    What?!? Delete that utility that I downloaded 2 years ago and never used? But…,but…, I might need it some day and that will be the same day that the Internet goes missing! No, I don’t remember what WUTNWEN.exe is, but it could be important! Even the little animals know to store nuts for the winter.

  2. snugglez64

    That’s exactly what I mean ScottW! lmao!

  3. Justin

    @ScottW:
    That is exactly what I used to think for the past 15 years I can remember using computers.
    Now I realize that while keeping “Windows XP Professional.iso”, “CCleaner.exe”, etc are useful, keeping around “WindowBlinds 2.0.exe”, 10 different programs I downloaded over the years to keep Windows “Always On Top” and so on and so forth.

    Even with how silly you intended “Even the little animals know to store nuts for the winter.” to sound, it actually is a valid point.
    Some people will download a program (The nut) and then 6 months later (The winter) that person will spend half an hour searching (wondering around starving for food, though a lot less extreme in this case) Google (the woods) for that same program (Or nut).

    Comment Disclaimer:
    This comment is suppose to be an entertaining post about a serious topic (Saving valuable time when using computers) that puts out a useful point as both the Geek and ScottW did above.
    Should you find an issue with this then you were probably not a part of the intended viewing audience for this article or comment.

    Comment Disclaimer’s Disclaimer:
    Should you believe you are not a part of the intended viewing audience then please do not be offended by this disclaimer.

    Disclaimer for above disclaimers:
    Should you be offended by the disclaimers in this comment then I pity you and your lack reading skills :D

    Disclaimer for the “Disclaimer for above disclaimers” disclaimer:
    Should you have bad reading skills due to a disability like being blind then please do not be take offense as this was not my goal.

    Disclaimer for the “Disclaimer for the “Disclaimer for above disclaimers” disclaimer” disclaimer:
    Should you have a disability and that disability is defined as “A disorder in which jokes fly right over your head” then you have a real problem and should consult a doctor instead of reading this comment :)

  4. Franco

    Justin, if you need to leave a disclaimer so people know your joking it’s probably not a funny joke to begin with. If you need to leave several it defiantly isn’t.

    Will this app move entire subfolders? Suppose if I unzipped and image or an album will I have to re-organize the content?

  5. Melissa

    I have an old Hewlett Packard that I am having problems with the USB ports not recognizing anything that I connect to them. Is it a software or hardward problem? It was working fine. My older neice was using it for online college. She had her Verizon wireless adapter plugged in for her internet and one day it would not recognize it or anything on any of the USB ports. The computer is only going to be used to play on the internet and type documents in MS-word. Can you please help me with this issue?

  6. ray

    How can I delete oldest e-mail first and newest e-mail last on my computer? I have tried to learn info to no avail and was hoping you could help. Thanks in advance.

  7. nailpounder

    Well, I’m gonna give mr. belvedere a workout. I’ve got more junk laying around than Ican even begin to keep track of so the little tool is gonna be busy. I’ll post back and let you know how it went.

  8. confuse

    I HAVE BEEN GETTING A POPUP ON MY COMPUTER SAYING THAT MY SSR HAS STOPPED WORKING . I HAVE TRIED TO FIND OUT WHAT IT EVEN IS AND CAN’T SEEM TOGET ANY ANSWERS COULD YOU PLEASE HELP ME???

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