How To Use Your Chromebook To Access Windows Files

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Google’s Chromebook proves good things come in petite, yet powerful packages. However, the gadget still has some limitations.

Until recently, Chromebook users couldn’t easily access Windows files across shared networks. Since Windows files are so common and collaboration is so common, this shortcoming was notable, and commonly brought up as something people wished Google would do something about.

Third-Party Apps Were Released, But Some Can’t Fulfill the Need

Third-party apps tried to fill the void, but many received poor reviews. Also, file-sharing services haven’t gone to a lot of effort to provide support for the Chromebook. Rather than wasting time trying out apps that aren’t likely to offer the results you want, go direct to the source and download a recently released app straight from Google that lets you access shared Windows files on your Chromebook.

Get Google’s Own App to Do the Task

Fortunately, the Network File Share for Chrome OS app gives you direct access to file shares for efficient results. It even works with the Chrome browser to allow for simple uploads to the file share without having to open them first.

chromebook

The app makes it possible for people to mount an SMB file share within the app. The capability isn’t completely new because some people chose to do so through third-party apps.

However, this app stands out from other options that were already available because it’s the first native file-sharing client that Google’s created specifically for the Chromebook. The app works via a direct port via a Samba client, and you can download it for free.

Should You Be Worried About Security Risks?

Before downloading a new app and using it with your Chromebook, you may understandably be preoccupied about possible security threats. If that’s the case, you’re not alone. Some people admit security is their number one concern in regards to collaborating with others and sharing files.

Furthermore, recent events prove even well-known names in file sharing aren’t immune to hackers, especially since Dropbox got compromised last year. That incident wasn’t a major one, because it mostly just resulted in users getting spam. But, the fact it happened caused some people and businesses to think more cautiously about sharing files online.

Because of the number of people using online file sharing services, plus the potential value of such files, it’s easy to understand why some hackers hone in on them as prime targets.

Chromebook’s Numerous Security Features

Even though you may agree there’s an element of risk involved with sharing files online, it’s also important to keep things in perspective by realizing there are several built-in features that keep your Chromebook secure. Firstly, the machine only boots up in Google-approved operating systems, unless you opt out of that security by choosing Developer Mode. It also goes through a Verified Boot process to check for operating system tampering.

All apps are isolated in Chrome’s sandbox, and before installing anything new, you’ll have to confirm permissions. Also, Chromebooks run automatic updates every six weeks so you don’t have to worry that you’re leaving the device open to threats because it’s outdated.

The Chromebook is Becoming a Top Choice

As mentioned earlier, many users had been saying they’d love it if there were a quick, easy way to access Windows file shares, and Google eventually responded affirmatively. If there are other features you feel are lacking from the Chromebook that are adversely impacting your productivity while using the device, rest assured some of those issues may also be taken care of soon.

That’s because, last quarter, the Chromebook hit a major milestone by outselling all Apple desktop and laptop models combined, proving its growing popularity. Analysts say that’s due in large part to the Chromebook being ordered by many K-12 schools.

No matter how you currently use your Chromebook, Google’s new app could potentially make file sharing between Windows users a straightforward and streamlined process. As a result, you could get more done when linking up with colleagues.

 

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Kayla Matthews is the editor of Productivity Bytes and a regular contributor to VentureBeat, Motherboard, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest posts.

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