Open, save, or delete files on your Chromebook

You can use files like documents, PDFs, images, and media on your Chromebook, Google Drive, or an external hard drive with the built-in Files app. See a list of file types that work on your Chromebook.

Open a file

  1. Sign in to your Chromebook.
  2. Click the launcher Launcher icon.
  3. Select Files Files app icon.
  4. From the left menu, choose the file collection you'd like to browse.
  5. Double-click the file to open it.

You can also find files on an external storage device. When you're done, be sure to remove the storage device safely by clicking Eject Eject.

File search tips

  • To open a search box, click Search. Your search results will show you matches from the folder you're in.
  • Switch between the thumbnail or list views by clicking Thumbnail view or List view.
Troubleshoot file errors
  • "Unknown file type": Your Chromebook might not support the file you're trying to open. Try saving the file to Google Drive or another web application, then opening it in your browser.
  • "Google Drive cannot be reached at this time": Your Chromebook isn't connected to the Internet.
  • "Sorry, your device is not supported at this time": Make sure your device's format is supported . If your device is supported, make sure you're using the latest version of Chrome OS. If no updates are available, use another computer to access files on the external device and upload them to a web app, such as Google Drive. You can then access the files online on your Chromebook.
  • "Sorry, your device was not recognized," or "Sorry, at least one partition on your device could not be mounted": To reformat your device and fix these errors, but not the others in this list, follow these steps:
    Note: Following these steps will erase all the files stored on the external device.
    1. Click the launcher Launcher icon.
    2. Select Files Files app icon.
    3. Select the device from the left-hand side.
    4. In the lower right corner of the window, click Format.

Save a file

To save the page you're viewing as a file, press Ctrl + S and choose the best place for your file.

  • To save the file to your Chromebook's hard drive, choose the Downloads folder. Warning: Downloaded files may be automatically deleted if your Chromebook is running low on space.
  • To access the file online anytime, from any device, choose Google Drive. Your file will save to Google Drive.

To set a default location for your saved files:

  1. Click the status area, where your account picture appears.
  2. Select Settings Settings > Show advanced settings.
  3. In the "Downloads" section, pick a default download location by clicking Change.
Move files from "Downloads" to Google Drive

You can copy files from "Downloads" to Google Drive by clicking and dragging them into the Google Drive folder.

Move files to another cloud file system

In addition to Google Drive, Chromebooks support other cloud file systems, such as Box or SMB. To save a file to another cloud file system:

  1. Add the file system to your Chromebook by going to Files Files app icon > Add new services.
  2. Click Install new from the webstore.
  3. Follow the instructions to install a new cloud file system.
  4. After installing, you can copy files into your new cloud file system by clicking and dragging them.
Get to your Google Drive files offline

To get files in Google Drive without an Internet connection, make them available offline.

Save executable files

Remember, your Chromebook wasn't designed to run software for traditional computers, like .exe files. You can save an executable file, like files with .exe, .dll, or .bat extensions, by confirming that you want to save the file in the panel that appears at the bottom of your screen. This helps prevent malicious software from being downloaded without your knowledge or permission.

Delete a file

  1. Sign in to your Chromebook.
  2. Click the launcher Launcher icon.
  3. Select Files Files app icon.
  4. Click the file or folder you want to delete.
  5. Click the Trash trash icon or use the shortcut Alt + Backspace.

Next steps

You can share files with other users with Google Drive, and use PDFs, images, and other media files such as audio files and videos.

Casey is a Chromebook expert and author of this help page. Help her improve this article by leaving feedback below.

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