The file manager on your Chromebook or Chromebox is almost similar to the normal windows or OSX file explorer you are used to. However, there are certain features that makes it stand out. In this article, I will introduce you to the file manager and its major features.
Opening the Chrome OS File Manager
You can open the Chrome OS file manager by clicking the Files icon from the taskbar (if you have it pinned) or from the Chrome OS app menu.
If you prefer keyboard shortcuts, use ALT + SHIFT + M
Downloads and Google Drive
The Chrome OS Files app is divided in to two folders or two drives. Downloads and Google Drive. If you connect any external device such as a USB drive or a Memory card, they also will display here, as another folder/drive.
Downloads: Your local folder. Files saved here are on the SSD or HDD of your Chromebook, locally. They are not synced through your Google account, hence unavailable on other Chrome OS devices that you have logged in to. You will loose these files when you format the Chromebook.
Google Drive: This folder lists files from your Google Drive. Files displayed here are saved on the Google Drive account that you are logged in to. They will be available on any other Chrome OS device that you have logged in to, or any other other device where you use Google Drive app. You do not loose these files if something happens to your Chromebook.
Using the Downloads Folder
- Similar to the file explorer on PC or Mac, you can sort files based on their name, size, type or date modified.
- You can do copy, paste, and cut, just like your PC
- To select all files, click the check box next to Name.
- Use the search bar on the to search your files
- The two icons next to the search bar helps you change the way files are shown. You can set it to show them as a list or as thumbnail.
- Click the gear icon to view the space left on your device
- Select one or more files and right click to Zip
- You can extract zipped files too
Using The Google Drive Folder
- Any action you do here, will be applied to your Google Drive account and synced across all the devices where you have logged in to Google Drive.
- Right click to create new folders and subfolders
- If you have multiple apps that can handle some file types, right click and choose Open with to open using your preferred app. (If you have PicMonkey, which can open images to edit, you will see it when you right click images)
- For certain files, you will see a checkbox under Available offline. Check this to make the file available offline. It will be downloaded to your Chromebook.
- If you do not want to use your mobile data plan to download and upload files to Google Drive, click on the gear icon on the top right corner and select Do not use mobile data for sync
- You can opt to view or hide Google Docs files from the same menu
- You will see the free space available on your Google Drive account also in the same menu.Please note that this is the space on your Google Drive account, and not your Chromebook.
- Press CTRL and then click the gear icon for additional options. This includes clearing the local cache and reload.
Tips Common to Downloads and Google Drive
- You can drag and drop files between these two folders
- Dragging a file from Downloads folder to Google Drive will upload the file to your Google Drive account and save there.
- Drag and drop a file from Google Drive to your Downloads folder to download a local copy.
- To delete a file ALT + BACKSPACE
Add New Services
Chrome OS recently added the ability to add other services to the Files app and use them just like another drive in the app. With apps available on the Chrome Web Store, you can add new services. Here are a few:
To easily find and install additional apps that support this feature, click Add new services on the Files app. You will see a list of available apps from the Web Store with an option to install them without even visiting the store.
Using Chrome OS file manager is pretty easy for anyone with some experience on the file explorer of Windows or Mac. This was an effort to cover anything that you will need apart from that.
Hope I have covered everything you will need to use the Chrome OS Files app. If you have any specific question, do let me know.