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Top 9 Ways to Fix Cannot Download Files From Google Drive on Desktop


When a user uploads files to Google Drive, they expect the future downloads and usage of such files to be easy. While that happens in most cases, some users cannot download files from Google Drive to their computers. Are you facing the same issue? Check out 9 ways to fix the issue of cannot download files from Google Drive on PC.


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Users who face this issue get errors like Access Denied, Failed, Forbidden, etc. In some cases, clicking the download button doesn’t do anything. Whatever the problem you face while downloading folders or files from Drive, this post shall help you.

Let’s get started with solutions.

1. Restart Computer

Whether you are trying to download files from a Windows computer or a Mac, restart your PC once before jumping onto the other solutions.

2. Use the Right Method to Download Files

There are several ways to download files from Google Drive. Let’s check them out.

Note: You cannot drag and drop files or folders from Google Drive to your desktop to download them. However, you can do that while uploading files.

Method 1

To download files from drive.google.com, right-click on the file once. Select Download from the menu. Similarly, if you want to download multiple files, select the files first, and then right-click on any one of the selected files. Choose Download from the menu. The files will begin to download.


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Method 2

In Google Drive, select the files or folders that you want to download. Click on the three-dot icon at the top. Select Download from the menu.


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Method 3

If you are trying to download an individual photo or video, open the file. You will see the Download icon at the top-right corner. Click on it to download the file.


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Pro Tip: If method 3 fails to download photos, click on the three-dot icon at the top of the individual photo. Select Open in a new window. When the image opens in a new window, click on the Download icon, as you saw in method 3.

Method 4

If you aren’t signed in to any Google account, you will see the Download button on the right side of the files in list view in Google Drive. Hover your mouse over the image, and the Download button will appear.


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If you view files in the grid view, the Download button will be present on the file. Click on that to download the file. Alternatively, you can click on the Download all button present at the top as well.


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3. Resolve Issue With Zip Files

If you download multiple files using the two methods mentioned above, they won’t be downloaded separately, but a Zip file will be created. For many users, Google Drive gets stuck on Preparing Zip file message only. It doesn’t prompt them to download a Zip file.

To fix that, you need to click on the Leave site button when a pop-up appears that asks whether you want to Leave site or Cancel. Clicking the Leave button starts the download process.


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In the pop-up window that appears, click on the Blocked tab. Check if you find any link related to Google. Click on that and hit the Allow button at the bottom. Finally, click on Done. Restart the page or the browser, and you should be able to download the files again.


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5. Switch Google Accounts

When someone sends you a Google Drive link to download files, you need to be signed in with the same account allowed to access those files. Basically, Google Drive file sharing permissions works in two ways. The owner who generates a link for the file or the folder can let anyone with the link access the file. In that case, any Google account can be used to view or download files.

But the owner can also restrict the files to a select few users only based on their email address. So if you aren’t signed with the email that has access to those files, you will get errors like Forbidden, Not available, etc. In such cases, you need to switch your Google account to the right one.

The owner who generates a link for the file or the folder can let anyone with the link access the file

If you are a Google Chrome user, you can sign into multiple Google accounts. However, one of them is used as a default account. That account is also used for the Google Chrome sync feature. Whenever you receive a Google Drive link accessible from a different account, you need to switch to that account.

To do so, open drive.google.com. You will be signed in with the default account. Click on the profile picture at the top-right corner of the Drive screen. Your Google accounts will show up. Click on the one that you want to switch to. A new window will open where you are logged in with your second Google account.


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If you close the window and open the Google Drive website again, you will be logged in with the default account. Repeat the steps to switch the Google account in Drive.

6. Remove All Google Accounts

If switching accounts doesn’t let you download files from Google Drive, you should remove all Google accounts from Chrome or change your default account in Chrome. Then try to download files with only one account registered in Chrome.

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7. Check Ad blockers and Antivirus

Do you use ad blocker extensions on your browser? Disable any ad blocker or recently downloaded third-party extensions. That should fix the issue.

Similarly, if you are using an antivirus on your computer, disable it temporarily. See if you can download files from Google Drive.

8. Switch Browser

Sometimes, the issue is with a particular browser only. First, update the browser. If that doesn’t fix it, try downloading the file using any other browser.

9. Workaround: Open in Incognito Mode

While this is not a proper fix, use this method as a workaround if nothing else lets you download Google Drive files. Basically, when someone sends a Google Drive link to you, copy it and paste it in your browser’s incognito mode. That way you should be able to download files provided the sharing permissions are set to ‘Anyone with the link can view the file.’

To open incognito mode in Chrome, click on the three-dot icon at the top-right corner. Select the New Incognito window. Paste the link in the new window that opens. You can also use Chrome’s guest mode for this purpose.


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The same workaround can be used to download your own Google Drive files or folders as well. Right-click on the file that you want to download. Select Share from the menu.


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Under the Get link section, click on Change to anyone with the link if it isn’t selected. Then copy the link and paste it in the incognito window and download the files.


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Next up:

Have you ever been curious as to what counts in Google Drive storage and what doesn’t? Find out the answer from our guide using the next link.


The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.





This post was written by Mehvish and was first posted to feeds.guidingtech.com



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