How to Access Your Dropbox Files with a Chromebook

Dave Greenbaum

Chromebooks are awesome. Google is selling them like hot cakes. But using a Chromebook as your primary laptop comes with its own set of challenges. Take Dropbox, for instance. Many of us have Dropbox accounts that let us sync files to all our devices – except our Chromebooks. Sure, you can access the Dropbox website, but that’s an extra step. So how do you go about making access to Dropbox easier and more organized on a Chromebook?

File System for Dropbox at Chrome Store

The answer: File System for Dropbox App. With this app, your Dropbox files show up as another volume in the Chrome File Manager. Easy peasy. Let’s check out the steps.

Install the App

The app is available from the Chrome web store. This app isn’t the same as the official Dropbox App. You need to follow the link or search for File System for Dropbox.

Download the correct app

Configure Access to Your Dropbox

File System for Dropbox shows up as a volume in your File Manager, so you must mount your Dropbox account.

Mount Your Dropbox account

Cool tip: Check out other great ways to use Dropbox in Chrome.

After you click Mount, you’ll sign in to your Dropbox account.

Log into your Dropbox account

Fortunately, the app supports two-factor authentication (I highly recommend it). If you have two-factor turned on, you’ll enter your security code next.

Two-factor verification for Dropbox

Important: Protect your accounts by enabling two-factor authentication everywhere you can.

After you authenticate your Dropbox account, you’ll give File System for ChromeOS permission to access your Dropbox.

Authorize your Dropbox account to use the app
Note that this permission request is under a different name from the app you downloaded, although the icon looks the same.

Tip: Check out all the devices and apps that have permission to your Dropbox account.

Seeing Your Dropbox in the File Manager

Head on over to the Files app on your Chromebook and you’ll see a new icon that says Dropbox and your Dropbox username. If you have lots of files, it might take a while for the files to show up. From there you can drag and drop files between your Chromebook and your Dropbox account.

Dropbox mounted volument showing in File Manager

Glitches and Annoyances

Mount Your Dropbox account

Every so often the app asks you to re-authenticate your Dropbox account. The author explains this in the documentation – the APIs time out. If you think you’ll want to save files directly to your Dropbox, mount your account before you begin work. Another annoyance is you can’t download directly to your Chromebook. You need to download to your Chromebook drive and then copy it over.

Conclusion

You can always download the files you need to your Chromebook from the Dropbox website. That makes native Chromebook apps and functions harder to use. If you use Dropbox, you’ve already installed it on your Mac or PC. Every other Dropbox platform supports a native file system, so don’t leave your Chromebook out of the family.

Also See
#chrome#chromebook

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Dave Greenbaum

Written By

Dave Greenbaum

I have a passion for helping people make technology work.

For my day job, I own a computer repair business in Lawrence, Kansas. Drawing on my support background, I focus on practical technology from the user perspective. I enjoy it all: Android, Chrome OS, iOS, MacOS, Windows and everything in between.