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How To Prevent Apps From Saving Files To Your Desktop On Windows 10

One of the worst ways we add clutter to our computers is by saving everything to the desktop. It’s an easy to access location and files are always saved under the assumption that it’s temporary. Once you’re done with the file, you will move it to a properly labelled folder. That never happens. Files clutter the desktop. If you want, you can force yourself to save files to a proper location. To do so, you can stop apps from saving files to the desktop. Here’s how.

Disable Desktop Save Location

In order to prevent apps from saving files to your desktop, you can use a Windows 10 feature called Controlled Access. This feature was added in April 2018 in build 1803. Make sure you’re running this version before you try to use it.

Let’s say you’re prone to saving files to your desktop and you use Chrome to download files, or you like to save all your Photoshop projects to your desktop. You want every single app to not be able to save files there so that it isn’t so cluttered.

Open The Windows Defender Security Center by double-clicking its icon in the system tray. Go to Virus and Threat Protection>Ransomeware Protection. Turn Controlled Folder Access On.

Your desktop is automatically included in the list of folders that apps are not allowed to save files to.

There is a limitation to this; you will have to go through the save as dialog in an app before you’re actually prompted that you cannot save the file to the location you selected. There’s nothing stopping you before that so it’s a few extra steps you have to go through before the blockade appears.

If you want, you can add other folders and prevent apps from saving files to it. You can also add exceptions i.e., allow a select few apps to save files to the desktop (if you absolutely have to) and prevent all others from doing so.

There’s an option to add app exceptions on the same screen where you turn Controlled Folder Access On/Off. We should mention that if you enable this feature, you ought to make sure you don’t forget you have it enabled. The error message that you get when a file fails to save doesn’t tell you that Controlled Folder Access is preventing it from saving files. It just looks like something went wrong. You need administrative rights to enable/disable this feature, to add folders to it, and to add app exceptions to it.

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