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How to integrate Dropbox, OneDrive, and other cloud storage on your Chromebook

Derek Walter | July 28, 2015
Chromebooks have always made sense for heavy Google services users. But they've been less ideal for devotees of Dropbox, OneDrive, or other cloud storage services, since Google Drive was the only service that talked to the file menu.

dell chromebook 11 lid march 2014
Credit: Michael Homnick

Chromebooks have always made sense for heavy Google services users.  But they've been less ideal for devotees of Dropbox, OneDrive, or other cloud storage services, since Google Drive was the only service that talked to the file menu.

No more.

With some simple setup, you can now view and open anything from your preferred non-Googley cloud service from right inside the Chrome OS file menu. This makes it easy to preview, open, or upload a file without the need to jump through excessive hoops.

Here are the steps you need to follow to put all your cloud-stored files one simple click away. Once you do this, your Chromebook will feel more like a traditional PC, with easy access to whatever you need.

New tools in the Files menu

To get started, launch the Files app on your Chromebook. On the sidebar, select Add new services. You'll see several add-ons that you can install. (Note that these are third-party, unofficial add-ons.) Each one is for a different cloud service provider or server connection type. 

Along with major ones like Dropbox and OneDrive, there are capabilities for an SFTP or WebDAV connections. If your organization uses secure connections, those add-ons ensure you're not left out of the loop just because you use a Chromebook.

The Chrome Web Store also offers similar extensions for additional cloud tools, but you'll have to dig to find the right one if you use a less popular service.

Next, click Install and Add for the service you wish to connect to your Chromebook. You'll see a pop-out window; click Mount. This brings you to a login screen where you sign in with your Dropbox, OneDrive, or other requisite credentials.

After you log in, a new folder will appear in your file menu. Click on it to see all the folders and files that are saved in that cloud account. 

Work with files like a traditional PC

Once you've set this up, your files are accessible just as they would be on a PC. It removes a huge headache for many when it comes to Chromebook use. If you needed that Word document from Dropbox, you used to need to the Dropbox website and download it from the cloud onto your computer. 

Now, finding that right document, spreadsheet, or image can be discovered right from the Files menu. One thing to keep in mind: The Files menu connects you to the Dropbox or OneDrive server via these add-ons, rather than storing your data locally, so the files aren't all downloaded in their full size to your hard drive instantly. The limitation means you'll need to have an online connection to add, edit, or access the files you access through these add-ons.

 

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