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How to Free Up Storage Space on a Chromebook

Authored by:
Support.com Tech Pro Team
This Guided Path® was written and reviewed by Support.com’s Tech Pro team. With decades of experience, our Tech Pros are passionate about making technology work for you. We love feedback! Let us know what you think about this Guided Path® by rating it at the end.

Introduction

After using your Chromebook for a while you may start noticing it to slow down, you may not be able to install any more apps or updates, or even get notification or error messages saying you need to free up some space.
To free up space on your Chromebook you have a few options:
  • Delete unneeded apps and files,
  • Move or store files on:
    • External drives,
    • Cloud storage such as Google Drive.
Drive space usage on Chromebook.

1 Delete Unneeded Apps

You may sometimes want to remove apps from your Chromebook because you want to free up disk space, you no longer use them or they're no longer working as intended.

Only remove apps if you know for certain what they're used for.

  1. Select the Apps menu in the bottom-left corner.
    Apps Menu.
  2. Select the up arrow ^ to show all your apps.
    Show all apps.
  3. To delete an app, using your right mouse button, right click on the app. A menu will open. Select Remove from Chrome, or Remove from Chromium.
    App menu with Remove from Chrome highlighted.
  4. Select Remove.
    Remove dialog with Remove button highlighted.

2 Delete or Back Up Files

Your Chromebook does not save files locally in most cases. The only exception to this is any files you've downloaded. Here's how to check your downloads, delete the ones you don't need and back up the ones you may need later on.

  1. Select the Apps menu in the bottom-left corner.
    Apps Menu.
  2. Select the up arrow ^ to show all your apps.
    Show all apps.
  3. Select Files.
    All apps with Files highlighted.
  4. Go to Downloads.
    Files app with Downloads highlighted.
  5. To delete a file, select the file you want to delete, then select Delete at the top.
    Trash highlighted.
  6. To back up a file to keep it safe, click and hold the file, drag it to where you want to back it up, and release the mouse button.

    Once you back up your files, you can delete them from the Chromebook to free up space.

    • Google Drive – These files are stored online for you by Google. If anything happens to your Chromebook, these files are safe. You can access them from any computer using your Google account at drive.google.com.
      Files app My drive highlighted.
    • External Drive – These are files stored on SD cards or external USB drives connected to your Chromebook.
      Files app SD Card highlighted.

3 External Data Storage Options

There are many options out there to increase your data capacity.

USB Thumbdrive

USB Thumbdrive
  1. Your Chromebook has a USB port available on the side.
  2. To use your USB thumbdrive all you need to do is plug it into the USB port. Your Chromebook will automatically attach the device.
    Inserting thumb drive into laptop

SD or Micro SD Card

SD Card
  1. Your Chromebook may have come with an SD or Micro SD port.
    SD Card slot on computer
  2. Plug the SD card into the port. If you are using a Micro SD card, it normally comes in its own adapter to convert it to normal SD card.
  3. To insert the card, just slide it into the slot. It should latch into place.
  4. To remove the card, push on it lightly to disengage the latch and then it will pop out.

External Hard Drive

External hard drive
  1. External drives offer the largest storage sizes and connect with USB.

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After using your Chromebook for a while you may start noticing it to slow down, you may not be able to install any more apps or updates, or even get notification or error messages saying you need to free up some space.
To free up space on your Chromebook you have a few options:
  • Delete unneeded apps and files,
  • Move or store files on:
    • External drives,
    • Cloud storage such as Google Drive.
Drive space usage on Chromebook.

You may sometimes want to remove apps from your Chromebook because you want to free up disk space, you no longer use them or they're no longer working as intended.

Only remove apps if you know for certain what they're used for.

  1. Select the Apps menu in the bottom-left corner.
    Apps Menu.
  2. Select the up arrow ^ to show all your apps.
    Show all apps.
  3. To delete an app, using your right mouse button, right click on the app. A menu will open. Select Remove from Chrome, or Remove from Chromium.
    App menu with Remove from Chrome highlighted.
  4. Select Remove.
    Remove dialog with Remove button highlighted.

Your Chromebook does not save files locally in most cases. The only exception to this is any files you've downloaded. Here's how to check your downloads, delete the ones you don't need and back up the ones you may need later on.

  1. Select the Apps menu in the bottom-left corner.
    Apps Menu.
  2. Select the up arrow ^ to show all your apps.
    Show all apps.
  3. Select Files.
    All apps with Files highlighted.
  4. Go to Downloads.
    Files app with Downloads highlighted.
  5. To delete a file, select the file you want to delete, then select Delete at the top.
    Trash highlighted.
  6. To back up a file to keep it safe, click and hold the file, drag it to where you want to back it up, and release the mouse button.

    Once you back up your files, you can delete them from the Chromebook to free up space.

    • Google Drive – These files are stored online for you by Google. If anything happens to your Chromebook, these files are safe. You can access them from any computer using your Google account at drive.google.com.
      Files app My drive highlighted.
    • External Drive – These are files stored on SD cards or external USB drives connected to your Chromebook.
      Files app SD Card highlighted.

There are many options out there to increase your data capacity.

USB Thumbdrive

USB Thumbdrive
  1. Your Chromebook has a USB port available on the side.
  2. To use your USB thumbdrive all you need to do is plug it into the USB port. Your Chromebook will automatically attach the device.
    Inserting thumb drive into laptop

SD or Micro SD Card

SD Card
  1. Your Chromebook may have come with an SD or Micro SD port.
    SD Card slot on computer
  2. Plug the SD card into the port. If you are using a Micro SD card, it normally comes in its own adapter to convert it to normal SD card.
  3. To insert the card, just slide it into the slot. It should latch into place.
  4. To remove the card, push on it lightly to disengage the latch and then it will pop out.

External Hard Drive

External hard drive
  1. External drives offer the largest storage sizes and connect with USB.