Google Drive is a service provided by Google, that allows us to interact with documents, presentations, and spreadsheets in a collaborative effort. It also provides the ability to store our data online on Google’s cloud-based storage and access it whenever we want to. Data is guaranteed to be safe from attacks here and can be maintained in this cloud storage for a long time. Google Drive also allows us to share our files with other people, allowing them to have the abilities of an ‘editor’ or limit them to a ‘viewer’ of a file. These files can be downloaded and if their size is within limits, they will be scanned for malware too, providing further security.
Even though Drive has so much functionality and has many features, like all other online services, it too can run into a few errors. Such errors are easy to resolve but if you lack prior knowledge regarding anything related to Drive or debugging, you might have a hard time getting rid of these errors. This article is going to focus on the possible causes of the issues that might occur and how to solve these issues as well.
- You don’t have permission to view a file: If someone shared a document with you and you are not able to view it, it is very likely that the sender of the document has not granted you the permission to view the file. Without permission, there is no way you will be able to open this file and there is no way to bypass this as well. This measure was placed by Google to enhance the security and privacy of Google Drive, so data is not vandalized or lost.
- An unstable internet connection: Google Drive requires a stable connection in order to view, share or edit files while using the service. Inconveniences are created if you don’t have a stable internet connection or don’t have an internet connection at all. As Drive is an online service it is essential to have proper access to the internet otherwise you will not be able to view your saved files or the files shared with you. Even though Drive has a feature to make selected files available offline, this does not eliminate the factor, that the file you want to access has been ‘made available offline’ yet.
- Amassing of Cache: Cache is a fast-paced memory and has the intention of making our work efficient, by providing quicker loading times and storing some information regarding a website we visit or an application we used. The use of cache is beneficial but over time it can get accumulated enough to cause hindrance in our work. A large cache can slow our device down, hence lessening the overall efficiency of our work. Google Drive also saves cache in order to provide a faster experience and o save some information regarding our work, however, if the cache is not kept in check it can create many issues.
- Drive is not compatible with your device: If you are using an older device to access Google Drive, you might run into some compatibility issues. An outdated device will have outdated specifications, this means the RAM, ROM, and the processing chipset, will not be capable enough to withstand the processing required by Google Drive. As Drive requires an able device to function at its full capacity, we recommend that you upgrade your current device or shift to a newer and better device, if you want to benefit from the great service that is Google Chrome.
- An outdated browser: Google Drive receives regular updates and introduces us with various features, while also working on a lot of bugs and errors. To keep up with the updates of Google Drive, we require an up-to-date compatible browser, that is able to run Drive and all its features, the way they are intended. An outdated browser will lack the framework to deal with Drive and will cause a lot of errors, preventing you from accessing and viewing the files that are saved on Drive.
- Signed in from a wrong account: It is certainly a fact that ‘to err is human’, this means that even in terms of using a cloud service like Google Drive, we might be making a mistake. This mistake is in the form of not signing in to the correct account. It is possible that the file you are trying to find is saved in a different account from the one you are using. Or the file which you have the permission to view and edit was shared to a different account. A file will not appear or open in either of the two cases.
- Interference from the extensions: Extensions tend to make our lives easier when it comes to browsing. They provide the extra aid we need to easily perform the task while our time on the internet. But, it is possible, that some extension or an add-on on your browser, might be causing various issues with Google Drive, hence not allowing you to view your files.
- The Google Drive servers might be down: This error is solely on the behalf of the Google Drive servers. It is a possibility that Drive servers may be down for a particular reason. Maintenance might be underway or the Drive servers might be under a Denial of Service attack, thus not allowing Drive to function in any shape or form. So we recommend that you wait for a short while then restart your browser and access Drive again.
Now that we have looked at various possible causes of being unable to view your files on Google drive, we can focus on a few possible solutions that will make your files accessible on Google Drive.
FIX 1: Request Permission for the file
As we discussed, without proper permission to a file you cannot access it. You can either be a ‘Viewer’ or an ‘Editor’ of a file, or the person who owns the file might have blocked everyone from viewing the contents of the file. These steps will help you request access to your file.
Step 1: Open your browser and search for the Google Drive website.
Step 2: Log in to Google Drive using your Google Account.
Step 3: Open the File you want to use, if it is unable to open, the ‘You need permission’ page will appear.
Step 4: Click on ‘Request Access’ and an email will be sent to the owner of the file.
Step 5: It is up to the owner if they want to grant you permission to access their file. Open the file again after some time, to see if the permission has been granted or not.
FIX 2: Clearing the browser and app cache
We know that cache makes it more efficient to use applications and websites, however, an exceeding amount of cache can cause many issues in our experience, so it is important to get rid of it after some time. These steps will guide you on how to delete the cache from your browser and the Drive application respectively.
Browser (Google Chrome):
Step 1: Open your Chrome Browser and click on the ‘Three Dots’ icon in the top right corner.
Step 2: In the menu that appears, hover your mouse over the ‘History’ option and then click on ‘History’ in the side menu to reveal your ‘Browser History’, alternatively strike the ‘Ctrl + H’ combination to quickly access the history.
Step 3: In the sidebar click on the ‘Clear browsing data’ option and a new window will appear.
Step 4: You will be presented with various ‘Time Ranges’ to choose from. These time ranges determine how much time you want to delete your history. We recommend that you choose the ‘All Time’ option, this would delete your entire history.
Step 5: Check the boxes for the following:
- Browsing history
- Cookies and other site data
- Cached images and files
Step 6: Click on the ‘Clear Data’ option and the browser, cache, and cookies will be deleted.
Step 7: Restart your browser and try to access the same file on Drive again.
Step 1:Go to your phone ‘Settings’ and locate ‘Apps & notifications’
Step 2: Reveal all the apps on your android phone, by pressing the ‘SEE ALL APPS’ button.
Step 3: Now locate the Google Drive app and tap on it.
Step 4: In this ‘App Info’ menu, tap on the ‘Storage & cache’ option.
Step 5: Press on the ‘CLEAR CACHE’ button and the cache will be deleted.
Step 6: Now you may access Drive again and open the file you were trying to open before.
FIX 3: Update your browser
It is not possible for Drive to function properly on an outdated browser, so it is best that you ensure your browser version is updated to the latest version. Follow these steps to update your browser (Google Chrome).
Step 1: Open the Chrome browser and click on the ‘Three Dots’ symbol.
Step 2: Hover over the ‘Help’ option to reveal the ‘About Google Chrome’ option.
Step 3: The browser will start looking for updates. If an update is available, you will be advised to update your Chrome Browser.
Step 4: Once the update is complete you may press the ‘Relaunch’ button to restart Chrome in its latest version.
Step 5: Try accessing the same file again after updating and the error would be resolved.
Note: If your browser is already up to date you will be informed.
If you are on your android phone, try to update your Drive application from the Play Store, an outdated application can cause several similar issues.
FIX 4: Disabling the extensions
Even though the Chrome extensions make our life easier, by providing us with a smoother and a rather efficient experience, these same extensions can meddle with a lot of online services. You must follow these steps to disable the extensions that might be causing this error.
Step 1: Click on the ‘Three Dots’ icon to reveal more options, then click on ‘Settings’.
Step 2: A new window will appear. In the left sidebar, click on the ‘Extensions’ options.
Step 3: The extension window will appear. Here you may disable all the extensions, or the extensions you think are troubling Google Drive.
Step 4: Now go back to drive and try viewing your desired file.
FIX 5: Change your Browser
Sometimes the browser we prefer can be going through various server issues, causing all kinds of hurdles and issues for a user to go through. Even after trying several solutions, you won’t reach the desired outcome. Yes, all of us prefer the browsers we use daily as we find them familiar and reliable, but in such a scenario you don’t have another option but to use a different browser to access Google Drive.
In the gist of it, this error is fairly resolvable, you can try changing your accounts and request access from other accounts. You can also use the Incognito Window, to access Drive. The Incognito allows you to browse anonymously, hence no cache is collected. Furthermore, try restarting your internet and even your device, in the hopes of being able to view the contents of your chosen file.