Have you ever gone to download a file from Google Drive, only to be prevented from doing so? Every so often I’ll make a change to my browser privacy settings, only to find it can no longer download the files I need. It’s frustrating because I know it’s going to happen when I make the change; I just forget how sensitive Google Drive is to such issues.
You’d think, by now, I’d have learned my lesson. And yet, it happened to me again today. Out of nowhere, I go to download a file from Drive (forgetting I made a change to my browser’s privacy settings yesterday) and, lo and behold, Drive refuses to allow me to download the file (a file I created, nonetheless).
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What’s the problem? Cookies.
Argh! It’s always cookies.
How to fix the Google Drive download issue
How do you fix the problem? It’s easy. I’ll demonstrate on a Chromium-based browser, which is based on Chrome, because Chrome is the most widely-used browser on the planet.
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If you use a browser that is not based on Chrome, the basic idea will apply and you shouldn’t have any problem translating the fix to your browser of choice.
In order to solve this issue, the only things you’ll need are a valid Google account and a Chrome-based browser (such as Sidekick, Opera, Vivaldi, and Edge). That’s it. Let’s fix this problem.
The first thing to do is open your browser of choice. Of course, if you’re reading this, your browser is already open — so you’re already one step ahead of the game.
Click the three-dot menu button in the upper right corner and select Settings from the resulting menu.
Chances are, if you suddenly can’t download files from Google Drive, something was changed in your Privacy & Security settings. For me, I configured my browser to block third-party cookies.
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If you did the same thing, you can (and should) keep blocking those third-party cookies. However, what you need to do is add an exception for Google Drive.
Under Customized behaviors, click Add. In the resulting popup, type drive.google.com in the Site field, click the checkbox for Including third-party cookies on this site, and click Add. Once you’ve taken care of that, close the Settings tab.
If you find any other sites that are not behaving as expected (after you’ve set your browser to block third-party cookies), add an exception for that address and it should go back to functioning as normal.
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Although this can be a hassle, it’s better to block third-party cookies and make exceptions as needed in order to better protect your privacy.