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Open, save, or delete files & downloads

You can open and save many types of files on your Chromebook, like documents, PDFs, images, and media. Learn which types of files are supported on your Chromebook.

Your Chromebook's hard drive has limited space, so your Chromebook will sometimes delete files to free up space. To keep your files for a long time, save them to Google Drive or an external storage device.

Find and open a file

  1. On your desktop, click the Launcher Launcher.
  2. Click Files Files app.
  3. On the left, choose the place where your file is saved.
  4. Find your file and double-click it to open.

If you're opening a file on an external storage device, remove the device safely when you're done by clicking Eject Eject.

Save a file

To save the page, image, or document you're viewing:

  1. Press Ctrl + s.
  2. At the bottom, type a name for your file.
  3. In the left column, choose where you'd like to save your file:
    • Downloads (a temporary folder on your Chromebook's hard drive)
    • Google Drive
    • An external storage device (if you have one connected to your Chromebook)
    • Another cloud file system
  4. Click Save.

Important: When your Chromebook runs low on space, it sometimes deletes files in your Downloads folder to free up space. To keep your files from being deleted, save your files to Google Drive, a storage device, or other cloud file system.

Move a saved file to another folder

You can move a file by clicking and dragging it to another folder:

  1. On your desktop, click the Launcher Launcher
  2. Click Files Files app.
  3. On the left, click the folder where your file is saved, such as Downloads.
  4. Click and drag your file to another folder, such as "My Drive."

Tip: If you move a file from your Downloads folder into Google Drive, Google Drive saves a copy of the file. Then you can delete the original file in Downloads. To delete a file, click the file, then click Delete Delete and then Delete.

Move files to another cloud file system

In addition to Google Drive, Chromebooks support other cloud file systems, such as Box or SMB. To connect one of these systems to your Chromebook:

  1. On your desktop, click the Launcher Launcher
  2. Click Files Files app.
  3. On the left, click Add new services and then Install new from the webstore.
  4. Follow the steps that appear.
  5. After installing, you can move files into your new cloud file system by clicking and dragging them.
Change where your files are saved

By default, your files are saved to your Downloads folder, a temporary folder on your Chromebook's hard drive. To change this:

  1. Click your account photo.
  2. Click Settings Settings.
  3. At the bottom, click Advanced.
  4. In the "Downloads" section, next to "Location," click Change.
  5. Pick where you'd like your files to save.
  6. Click Open.
Save .EXE, .DLL, or .BAT files

Your Chromebook can't open or edit executable files (like .EXE, .DLL, or .BAT files), but it can save them.

When you save an executable file, you'll see a message appear. To confirm that you want to save the file, click the message.

Delete a file

  1. On your desktop, click the Launcher Launcher
  2. Click Files Files app.
  3. Click the file or folder you want to delete.
  4. Click Delete Delete and then Delete.

Note: When you delete a file in your Chromebook "Downloads" folder, it's permanent — you can't undo it. Make sure you're only deleting files you won't need later.

Troubleshoot problems opening files

Choose the error message you see:

"Unknown file type"
"Google Drive cannot be reached at this time"

Make sure your Chromebook is connected to the internet. Learn how to connect to Wi-Fi or fix problems connecting to Wi-Fi.

"Sorry, your external storage device is not supported at this time"

You can also use Google Drive to view the files on your storage device:

  1. Plug your storage device into another computer.
  2. Open Google Drive. If you haven't signed in, make sure to sign in using the same Google Account you have on your Chromebook.
  3. Upload the files from the device. Learn how to upload files to Google Drive.
  4. Open your Chromebook and sign in.
  5. Click the Launcher Launcher and then All Apps and then Files Files app.
  6. Click Google Drive.
"Sorry, your device was not recognized" or "Sorry, at least one partition on your device could not be mounted"

You'll need to reformat your external storage device. Follow the steps below.

Note: These steps will erase all the files stored on the storage device. Make sure to back up your files somewhere else before erasing.

  1. On your desktop, click the Launcher Launcher
  2. Click Files Files app.
  3. On the left, right-click the storage device.
  4. Click Format device.

Do more with your files

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

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