Storage Sense is the Disk Cleanup replacement for the modern world. It frees up space on your computer by deleting things like recycle bin contents, temporary internet files, and app temporary files. This also includes the Downloads folder, but you can change that if you don’t want Storage Sense emptying it.
We’ve mentioned before how the Free Up Space tool in Windows 10 will delete your downloads by default (though you can turn it off, too). Storage Sense is the automatic equivalent to that tool and is the intended replacement for the venerable Disk Cleanup tool. By default, Storage Sense treats your Downloads folder as a temp folder, deleting anything older than 30 days when it runs. If you use your Downloads as a more permanent storage area for downloads, you can prevent Storage Sense from deleting your downloads.
How to Prevent Storage Sense From Deleting Your Downloaded Files
Open the Settings app by pressing Win+I, then clicking on “System.”
On the left side of the System page, click the “Storage” category.
Under the “Storage Sense” section on the right, click the “Change how we free up space automatically” link.
Now, open the “Delete files in my Downloads folder” drop-down menu and select the “Never” option.
After you’ve completed this, Smart Sense continues to run periodically but leaves your precious downloads alone.