How to connect to a network share from your Chromebook


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On my local area network (LAN), I have a number of shared folders, from different computers, that I regularly access. Those folders are accessed from Linux, MacOS, and — yes — Chromebooks. By doing this, I can not only access the various files and folders I need to work with but I can also save files to those shares, which often serves as a pseudo backup solution.

It’s a win-win all around.

Also: 5 reasons why Chromebooks are the perfect laptop for most people

How you access network shares depends on the operating system you use. In some cases, it can also depend on which file manager your OS employs.

Once upon a time, Chrome OS required you to install a third-party app to connect with remote shares. Fortunately, that service is now built into the My Files app, so you don’t have to install anything or enable the feature in settings…it just works.

Let me show you how it’s done.

How to connect to a network share from your Chromebook 

What you’ll need: To make this work, you’ll need a Chromebook with an updated version of Chrome OS.  (If you have an older Chromebook with an earlier version of Chrome OS, follow the steps outlined in this article instead.)  You’ll also need a share available on your network. This share can be from Linux, MacOS, or Windows. The share can be either protected with username/password credentials, or it can be anonymous (without a username or password). The important thing is that the share must be accessible. You can always test it with other operating systems, to make sure you can successfully access the share.

Also: Mesh routers vs. Wi-Fi routers: What is best for your home office?

I’m going to demonstrate connecting to a share from a Linux machine that’s at IP address, the share name is Public, and it does have a login requirement.

Let’s make the connection.

Log in to your Chromebook and open the My Files app from the desktop menu (or from your Shelf if you have it pinned there).

Click the three-dot menu button at the top right corner of the My Files app and then select the Services sub-menu. From that new menu, click SMB File Share.

The Services sub-menu in My Files.

The SMB file share entry is baked into Chrome OS.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

In the resulting pop-up window, you’ll need to configure the following:

  • File share URL: This will be in the form of \\\Public. You can also wait for Chrome…