I downloaded a file (PDF) from a web page using the Internet Explorer in Windows Mango. As soon as I downloaded it, I was able to see the document in Adobe PDF Reader. But where is the file stored? How do I move it to the documents folder in my OneDrive ?

Where will the other file formats (the ones not recognized by any of the phone applications) get stored after you download? Is there a way to retrieve them?


With every file type that is downloaded from Internet explorer (or your e-mail), there should be an application associated with the file type to open it. When the file is downloaded, the associated application will help read its contents. For eg:

  1. PDF - Adobe Reader App.
  2. Text files, zip files, MS Office docs - Microsoft Office Hub.
  3. Pictures - Pictures Hub

... and so on. Once the file is downloaded to the application, you'll only get the options the application has, to work with the file. That is, Adobe reader as yet does not allow to move files to sky drive.

If you attempt to download an unknown file type from Internet Explorer, you'll get the message Can't download file. Windows Phone doesn't support this file type.

  • You don't really download files to the phone. Especially unknown file type. Pdfs, on the other hand, are remembered by the reader. Open up Adobe Reader and see if they are listed there. If memory serves, you will see it. I don't think you are able to move it, though.
    – user131
    May 9 '12 at 7:04
  • 1
    I don't think this really answers the question of where files actually go. @zmurf talks about Isolated Storage, but it doesn't make sense that other apps are able to access Mail or IE's IsoStore, unless Microsoft has made an exception for their own apps. Oct 6 '12 at 1:38
  • i downloaded videos using ucbrowser and you-tube hd app and iam unable to locate these videos on phone or memory card. the only way to access these videos is by opening the app and view downloaded videos.can anyone let me know where can i find the downloaded videos.
    – Mourya
    Mar 15 '14 at 14:00

Since Windows Phone 8, developers can register a handler for file extensions. See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windowsphone/develop/jj206987(v=vs.105).aspx

This is my old answer. It is only valid for Windows Phone 7: Windows Phone uses something called "isolated storage". This is a virtual storage space created on the internal storage by each application that needs to save files onto the phone. Every application can only read and write to its own isolated storage space. So no other application can see or use other applications files.

There are a couple of special cases. Some applications have associations with other applications. Such as the browser and the email reader that can make other applications save a file of an certain type into its own isolated storage and show it for the user. For example if you download a PDF file in Internet Explorer the PDF reader will download it to its own isolated storage and then the PDF reader will launch and show the file for the user.

As far as I know, external developers can not associate their own programs with other programs in this way. So if I were to make an NES emulator I can't make the phone automatically start NES games, which were downloaded in Internet Explorer, within my NES emulator application.

So all applications that have the need to use files from other sources have to have their own way of retrieving them from this source.

  • 1
    Actually a developer can register to handle file types. That is how they can use a file that is downloaded. If an NES game has the extension .nes, any developer can register to use that extension. If there are multiple apps installed that register for the same extension, then the user is prompted with the available choices and the file is routed towards the app they chose.
    – caschw
    Sep 18 '13 at 12:11

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