During a recent download, I realized I was downloading something I already have. I aborted the download on the first page of the download, but I saw a green bar slide across the bottom of the screen. Is the first green sliding bar during a download actually writing programming onto your hard drive or a sign that it's preparing the download? How can I check to see if anything was actually downloaded? I checked my uninstall list and it does not list anything being installed on the date this occurred.
Deleting Partial Downloads
I'm not sure how accurate those graphical display bars are as far as the actual files downloaded. I believe they're intended to give us an indication of progress so that we know something's going on and progress is being made.
Since the download was aborted early on, it's doubtful that there are a bunch of files you need to worry about uninstalling. However, for the sake of keeping a clean, relatively clutter-free hard disk, there are ways you can remove partial downloads. Here are a couple of options.
Look in the Downloads File
If you have Windows 7, programs that you download go into the Downloads folder. You can quickly find this file by going to Start and typing "Downloads" into the Search bar. Once you see the Downloads folder appear, double click it to open it. Most likely, you'll see full downloads such as ZIP files containing installation files. While you probably won't see any partial downloads here, it doesn't hurt to check.
Remove Temporary Internet Files
When you download a program from the Internet, your browser creates temporary Internet files. These files can be manually deleted by launching Internet Explorer and then going into Tools > Internet Options. Click the General tab and find Browsing History. Click Delete which opens additional options. Select the Temporary Internet Files and Download History and click Delete.
Use the Disk Cleanup Wizard
Windows also comes with a Disk Cleanup wizard which will delete a variety of temporary file types. In Windows 7, go to Start and type "Cleanup" into the Search bar. Double click the Disk Cleanup wizard icon when it appears. In earlier versions of Windows, go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup. The utility will do a quick scan where it gathers information about your disk. From there it will present you with a list of file types to delete. Choose Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Internet Files, and Temporary Files and click OK.