Managing Storage in Chrome OS

Chrome OS behaves a lot like iOS and Android when it comes to file management. While other computer-level operating systems like Windows and OS X give the user full access to system files, Chrome OS only provides very basic file management options.

The user access is limited to 'Google Drive' and 'Downloads' folders, and out of these two Downloads is the only truly local folder since Google Drive relies on cloud storage (although it does have offline functionality too). There is no way to create additional folders (or at least I could not find a way), so if you want to store something locally, it must be stored in the Downloads folder.

The 16GB SSD has about 9.7GB left with the operating system installed, so there is certainly not much room for offline storage in the default configuration. With the 256GB SSD installed, the free space increases to about 204GB, although I am not sure where the remaining ~46GB has gone.

Fortunately, it is possible to create folders inside the Downloads folder, so you can at least have some level of organization for local files. Chrome OS has integrated audio and video playback software (even MKV files are supported!) that can be used to play back local files, but especially the audio player is very limited and does not have support for playlists or other more sophisticated features. It works, but the user experience is much better if you have an Internet connection and use Google's web-based Play Music.

Anyway, there is not much to say about Chrome OS' file management. It is very limited and not user friendly for someone who is used to using Windows or OS X, but if you can work around the limitations it can be usable even with a larger internal drive. As far as performance testing under Chrome OS, there isn't much to be done; the MyDigitalSSD Super Boot Drive feels a bit faster on some tasks, but Chrome OS doesn't tend to hit storage much so the performance benefits aren't the primary reason to upgrade. But let's look at performance with the original and upgrade SSDs using our standard storage tests.

The Upgrade Performance Consistency & TRIM Validation
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • pSupaNova - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    No he is correct, Microsoft did not want netbooks to succeed.

    While Intel tried to Gimp their graphics and even stopped Nvidia ION project from improving the graphics situation

    This mistake let tablets have an easier ride and now Nvidia has a remarkable SOC in the K1 thats going to eat Intel alive in the coming years.
  • jabber - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    Netbooks were awful. They deserved to die. I ended up refusing to fix or work on them for customers. They would bring them to me saying "this is slow!" I would reply "It's because it IS slow!"

    Poor user experience and a waste of money. A novelty that should never have survived longer than a few months.
  • mike8675309 - Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - link

    There were two specific problems. #1 - slow hard drives. #2 - no hardware video acceleration. With the Atom chip and slow drives with no hardware video acceleration, you have what is sitting in my basement and is effectively useless.
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - link

    And its pretty much possible to make one for 150-200$, since windows licenses are free with cheap devices and Intel tablet SoC are selling for peanuts.
    Eeebook x205 is an example of that.
  • - Sunday, November 2, 2014 - link

    The 10 inch laptop form factor is dead for windows, replaced by 10 - 11.6 inch tablets many with removable or flip-able keyboards.
  • sligett - Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - link

    All my users of HP 3105m netbooks (with AMD e-350 processors, and SSD or HDD) chose to move to Chromebooks when they were offered to them. In the schools where I work, a Windows laptop would have to be LESS expensive than a Chromebook to be attractive. In fact, a $200 Chromebook is in many ways more appealing than a free Windows laptop.
  • RU482 - Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - link

    My 12yr old daughter would object to your statement about AMD Brazos. I'll agree, when I bought the Lenovo Netbook that had the E-350 CPU for my traveling notebook/netbook, it was miles ahead of the Atom Z520 based Asus netbook that it replaced.

    Fast forward to 2014, the Lenovo has been handed down to my daughter, who likes to watch Netflix or play flash games on it. She's recently started to complain about how laggy the Lenovo has become. SSD health and free space are still good, wifi signal strength 5 bars....not sure what the excuse is, maybe she's used mom's i5 Haswell laptop too much! I'd say it's time to retire the Lenovo Brazos machine
  • Michael Bay - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    In any netbook article one can expect a couple of sad AMD fanatics with drivel like that.

    Wake up, Brazos was hot as all hell and didn`t deliver anything Atom couldn`t.
  • waldojim42 - Thursday, October 23, 2014 - link

    Yes, they most certainly did. Video acceleration and useful CPU performance. AMD made netbook CPU's that had significantly higher IPC at a cost of higher power usage.
  • savagemike - Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - link

    It's pretty easy to dual or co-boot linux on a Chromebook, and honestly that would be about the only good reason to upgrade storage to this kind of capacity. It would, of course, provide a whole host of tools/programs which would address some of the drawbacks you mention.
    That makes sense as desktop Linux, like Windows or OSX, are designed for a traditional local storage centric paradigm, where the ChromeOS devices of course are not.
    The one true fault of the ChromeOS file explorer within its own context is the lack of local network integration. You really should be able to see/use shares on a LAN from the files app on a ChromeOS device and you can't.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now