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Despite the hordes of naysayers, the usage of Chromebooks The Fundamental Advantages Of Using A Chromebook The Fundamental Advantages Of Using A Chromebook Chromebooks are highly divisive and a consensus about the merits of Google's offering is a long way from materialising. Here are the key advantages of using a Chromebook when compared to Windows and Macs. Read More continues to grow. Their increasing popularity is the driving force behind the on-going changes, updates, and improvements to the operating system. The latest area of the device to get a makeover is the “Files” app.

It’s now possible to easily integrate your OneDrive and Dropbox accounts directly into the app, allowing you to view your files without having to use the respective web-based clients.

We take a look how it’s done…

The Way It Was

The Chromebook’s filing system has never been the most full-featured affair.

Traditionally, it has been split into two pretty unimaginative and bland sections – “Google Drive” and “Downloads”. This was understandable – Google designed the device as primarily a web-based operating system and wanted you to use their cloud storage as your main memory space, even going as far to offer people who bought one of their laptops a mammoth 1 TB in free cloud space (an amount most people would never use 10 Ways To Use Your Cloud Storage That You May Not Have Thought Of 10 Ways To Use Your Cloud Storage That You May Not Have Thought Of When we talk about cloud storage, it usually revolves around backup and collaboration. So, let’s try to find some more interesting ways to fill up all the space they give us for free. Read More ).

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That was all well and good – if you were a Google services lover. However, if you used Microsoft’s OneDrive or Dropbox as your primary cloud-based storage provider, it created unnecessary hassle.

There was no easy way to make your files show in the file menu; you could have tried using IFTTT or done a nifty two-way sync with Cloud HQ Top Two Ways To Synchronise Dropbox With Your Chromebook Top Two Ways To Synchronise Dropbox With Your Chromebook Do you love your Chromebook, but want to access to your Dropbox files easily? Using the web login isn't easy enough for day-to-day use. There are better ways to do this. Read More – but it wasn’t as easy as it should have been.

Thanks to the latest update, that’s all changed. OneDrive and Dropbox files can now be viewed, opened, edited, and uploaded directly in your Files app via the new “Add new services” feature.

Getting The All-New Files App

The setup process is simple and straightforward, but you need to know where to look.

Firstly, you need to make sure you’re running the latest version of the Chrome OS. Despite the on-going media storm around Windows 10 automatically downloading updates Pros & Cons of Forced Updates in Windows 10 Pros & Cons of Forced Updates in Windows 10 Updates will change in Windows 10. Right now you can pick and choose. Windows 10, however, will force updates onto you. It has advantages, like improved security, but it can also go wrong. What's more... Read More , Chromebooks have been doing this since their introduction.

To check which version you’re on Chromebooks – Which Release Channel is Right for You? Chromebooks – Which Release Channel is Right for You? If you want early access to the exciting new features that Google have planned for future updates, why not change your release channel? Read More , click on your profile picture in the bottom right hand corner, then choose Settings. In the new window, you’ll see an option called “About Chrome OS” in the top right hand corner. Click it, and make sure you’re running version 43.x or later.

chromebook-version

If for any reason you don’t have the latest version, click on “Check for and apply updates” and follow the on-screen instructions.

Setting Up Your Services

To begin setting up OneDrive 5 Smart Ways to Customize & Improve OneDrive in Windows 8.1 5 Smart Ways to Customize & Improve OneDrive in Windows 8.1 OneDrive can be a blessing or a curse. It's deeply integrated into Windows 8.1. You'll either want to get the most of it or disable it completely. We can help with both. Read More and Dropbox, open the Files app from the Launcher.

Once you’ve got the screen in front of you, you’ll see a new option in the left hand column called “Add New Services”. Click on it.

chromebook-file-app

You will now be presented with all the currently-available services. At this stage, it’s important to make it clear that these are third-party plugins – they are not controlled nor designed by Google or Microsoft/Dropbox.

At the moment, most users will only see plugins for OneDrive, Dropbox, an SFTP server, a shared folder of a SMB/CIFS Windows server, a WebDav plugin, and a couple of other miscellaneous ones. Although some of these are great for accessing secure connections on your organisation’s servers, we would still expect this list to become more populated over time.

chromebook-files-api

To install one of the services, simply click on “Install”. Hit “Add” on the next window that pops up, then on the final pop-up click “Mount”.

chromebook-mount-app

After a brief pause for installation, you’ll be presented with the logon screen for your chosen service. Enter your credentials, authorize the app to access your files, and you’re done.

Keep in mind, this service needs a web connection to access your files – they are not saved locally on your computer.

Remove the Service

If you decide you want to remove the service for any reason, the process is equally simple.

Firstly, click on the small eject icon next to the name of the service in your Files app. That will break the connection with the server, but will not delete it from your machine.

In order to delete the app completely, you do exactly the same thing as you do if removing a regular app. Head to your app tray, right click on the service, and select “Uninstall…”.

Other Services

It is possible to find other cloud storage providers through the Chrome Web Store – all of whom are taking advantage of the new File System Provider API.

One such service is Box. Unlike Dropbox and OneDrive, the Box plugin is made by the company itself, so could arguably be more reliable and more secure.

box-app

You can find it with a simple search in the store. It’s still in beta at the moment, which probably explains why it’s not yet available directly from the previously mentioned “Add new services” list of apps.

The setup method is reasonably similar. Just install the app, navigate to it in your app tray, and enter your login details.

Will This Make You Use a Chromebook?

Were you a Chromebook hater in the past? Is this new service enough to make you reconsider your opinion?

If not, why not? What would Google need to do to convince you to invest in one of their machines?

We’d love to hear from you. You can let us know your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.

  1. CMay80
    October 11, 2016 at 3:43 am

    Thank you!!! For some reason my OneDrive app/link i had initially installed on my chromebook stopped working - idk if it was a Microsoft issue or a Chromebook issue but i needed my doc's for school and was beyond frustrated by the time i found this article. I used the Add New Services option (which i hadn't even noticed after 3 months of using this computer) and now i can access my OneDrive doc.s. Thank you for saving me from pitching this thing out the window and going back to lugging my tank of a laptop around. Chromebooks are GREAT but they deff have there limitations for a longtime windows PC user. Especially with documents; creation, sorting and storing. I use Work and PowerPoint heavily for class and homework. As long as OneDrive is working and i can do the bulk of my editing on my big laptop this Chromebook is the perfect go between for sitting in class taking notes.

  2. James Lovette-Black
    September 1, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    Thanks for your article and I concur - let's hope we see more useful enhancements of their ChromeOS and devices, as it is a sweet thing to have such a useful, practical, and affordable smart device. I'm even thinking of buying a bigger one!

    I am also on my second Chromebook and love it. One thing: when I add and mount, Dropbox remains mounted until manually removed. However, adding and mounting Onedrive means it will disconnect and then require full re-logon, even when the computer has remained on and no manual unmounting of Onedrive was performed. This happens, despite my checking all of the boxes to remember my info and what-not.

    Any ideas how to solve this issue are appreciated. Thanks, again!

  3. Jean-Francois Messier
    August 26, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    I am already on my second Chromebook and very happy. This feature will simply make it better. So no, this will not make me invest in a Chromebook, I already have one. It will simply make my life even easier. Great job, Google !!!!

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