How to Use an External Drive with a Chromebook


Chromebooks are popular devices due to their simplicity, affordability, and speed. However, one downside of Chromebooks is the limited amount of built-in storage. Thankfully, this issue can be easily resolved by using an external drive to store additional files for your Chromebook.
Here’s how to use an external drive with a Chromebook for seamless data transfers and increased storage capacity.

Step 1: Choose the Right External Drive

Before anything else, you need to find a compatible external drive for your Chromebook. The most common types of external drives are USB flash drives and external hard drives. Make sure to choose one that uses USB Type-A or Type-C connection so it can be directly connected to your Chromebook without needing an adapter.

Step 2: Connect the Drive to Your Chromebook

Once you’ve chosen the right external drive, it’s time to connect it. Locate your Chromebook’s USB port (either Type-A or Type-C), and plug in your drive. Your device should automatically recognize and display the external drive in the Files app once connected.

Step 3: Accessing Files on the External Drive

To access all the files stored in your external drive, open the Files app on your Chromebook. You should see your connected external drive listed under “Devices” on the left-hand side of the window. Click on it to browse through your files stored in the drive.

Step 4: Add, Move or Transfer Files between Chromebook and External Drive

Adding files or transferring them between your Chromebook and external drive is simple:

– To copy a file from your Chromebook’s internal storage to the external drive, find it within the Files app, right-click on it and select “Copy.” Then navigate to your desired folder within the connected external drive, right-click again and choose “Paste.”

– To move a file from one location to another, follow the same process but choose “Cut” instead of “Copy.”

– To transfer files from your external drive to your Chromebook’s internal storage, locate the files within the drive and simply drag-and-drop them to any directory found in the “My files” section.

Step 5: Safely Eject Your External Drive

Once you’re done transferring files or accessing them from your external drive, it’s essential to safely eject it before removing it from the USB port. Open the Files app, locate your connected external drive under “Devices,” click the three-dot menu icon beside its name and select “Eject device.” You can now safely unplug your external drive.


Using an external drive with a Chromebook is a handy solution for storage issues or transferring data. By finding a compatible drive, managing your files and apps using Google’s built-in applications, and following these straightforward steps, you can effortlessly expand your Chromebook’s storage capabilities and work more efficiently.

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