Open, save, or delete files on your Chromebook

You can access 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 the Files app 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.

Here are some tips on searching for files:

  • To open a search box, click magnifying glass. Your search results will show you matches from the folder you're in.
  • Switch between the thumbnail or list views by clicking Files app thumbnail view or Files app 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 by checking this list of supported filesystems. 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, 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 the Files app Files app icon.
    3. Select the device from the left-hand side.
    4. Click Format in the lower-right corner of the window.

Save a file

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

  • 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 be downloaded to Google Drive.

To set a default location for your saved files, follow these instructions:

  1. Click the status area, where your account picture appears.
  2. Select the Settings icon Files app settings icon .
  3. Click Show advanced settings.
  4. In the "Downloads" section, click the Change button to pick a default download location.
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 in the Files app.

Access your Google Drive files offline

To access 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 (such as 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 the Files app Files app icon.
  4. Click the file or folder you want to delete.
  5. Click the Files app trash icon 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.

You can also get tips on using the Files app to manage your files.

Contact a Chromebook agent

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