How to fix “Unable to download file” issue in Google Drive on a Chromebook

If you find that your Chromebooks are refusing to download files from your Google Drive account, Jack Wallen has the fix for you.

Chromebooks are a great platform for just about any type of user. Whether you’re someone who just spends all of their time in a browser, you’re an administrator working remotely from the terminal window, or even you’re a developer: ChromeOS can serve you well. And because Chromebooks integrate so well with Google cloud services, these devices are even more useful and user-friendly.

SEE: Research: Video conferencing tools and cloud-based solutions dominate digital workspaces; VPN and VDI less popular with SMEs (TechRepublic Premium)

However, I found myself in a situation that made me scratch my head. On several Chromebooks, I was going to download a file from Google Drive and the operating system wouldn’t allow it. Curious, because I was logged into my Chromebook which was associated with my Google account. Shouldn’t that work? It should. But sometimes the best-laid plans, Murphy’s Law and Occam’s Razor don’t seem to get along.

Fortunately, there is a solution to the problem, and it is not that difficult. Let me show you how.

What you will need

The only thing you will need to resolve this issue is a Chromebook associated with your Google Account. That’s it. Let’s get to work.

How to fix the download file problem

Sign in to your Chromebook and open the Chrome browser. In the address bar type:


Scroll down to the Sites that may still use cookies section and click Add. In the resulting pop-up window (Figure A), type:

Make sure you check the Include third-party cookies on this site box.

Figure A


Added Google Drive as a site that can still use cookies on ChromeOS.

Click Add and Google Drive has been granted permission to use cookies on your Chromebook. At this point, the next time you try to download a file from Google Drive, Chrome will do as you asked and download the file.

You would think that this capability would be built into the operating system. The truth is that giving the user the responsibility to allow or prohibit the use of cookies on a site-by-site basis is actually a good thing. After all, in this case, it is certainly better to ask for permission than for forgiveness. While Chromebooks are pretty secure, it’s only a matter of time before hackers start targeting these devices and users need to start putting security at the top of their to-do list.

And that’s all there is to solving a problem that could easily upset you. If you find other sites where you need to download files from the same shenanigans, add them the same way as Google Drive. Just do it with a sign of caution, as you don’t want to allow such behavior with suspicious domains.

Subscribe to TechRepublic How to make technology work on YouTube for all the latest technical advice for professionals at Jack Wallen’s business.

Also look


Image: iStockphoto / Savusia Konstantin