Home & Office
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


How to connect to a network share from your Chromebook

If there are shared folders on your network, and you need to access them from your Chromebook, there's a very easy method of doing so that doesn't involve installing third-party apps.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
vasiliki/Getty Images

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.

1. Open My Files

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).

2. Access the Services menu

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

3. Configure the share connection

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 OS to automatically detect the share and select it from the discovered list.
  • Display Name: This will be automatically filled in (once the share URL is added) or you can manually add a descriptive name.
  • Username: If the share is protected by a username/password, type the username here.
  • Password: If the share is protected by a username/password, type the password here.

Once you've completed filling out the information, click Add to shave the share.

Also: How to change the task overdue sound on Google Calendar so you never miss a deadline

The Chrome OS Add file share pop-up.

You can either wait for Chrome OS to discover your share or configure the URL manually.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

4. Accessing the share

Once the share is added, you'll find a new entry at the bottom left corner of the My Files app. The name of that entry will correspond with the Display Name you configured for the share. You can click that entry to access the files and folders in the share.

A connected share listed in My Files.

I've named my share HIVE Public to easily remember which machine it's associated with.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

One thing to keep in mind is that the newly added share will remain (even after a reboot). If you want to remove the share, two-finger tap (or right-click) the share listing in My Files and select Close. Once you've closed a share, you'll have to go through the process of re-adding it, should you need access.

The My Files share pop-up menu.

I can also share the share with the Linux subsystem.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Also: These top Chromebooks choices for students do it all

You can add as many shares as necessary to Chrome OS My Files without worrying that the space used by the remote share would count against your Chromebook storage. This is a great way to expand your Chromebook without depending on SD cards or external drives.

Editorial standards