Fix Google Drive: Sorry, you can’t view or download this file error

February 25, 2020| admin

Sorry, you can’t view or download this file at this time is an error message that you may get when you try to download files on Google Drive.

The explanation for the error message is simple: while users are free to share files publicly, or with a large number of users, quotas are in effect that limit availability.

If too many users view or download a file, it may be locked for a 24 hour period before the quota is reset. The period that a file is locked may be shorter according to Google.

If a file is particularly popular, it may take days or even longer before you manage to download it to your computer or place it on your Drive storage.

While you may wait until the file becomes available again, doing so may be risky. If the file is pulled in the meantime, you won’t be able to download it anymore. Also, if you require the file right away, for instance for work related tasks, waiting may not be an option.

There is a workaround that allows you to bypass Google Drive’s 24 hour limit. How that is done depends largely on what you see on the screen.

Fix Google Drive: Sorry, you can’t view or download this file error

To get started, navigate to Google Drive and sign in if you haven’t already done so. A google account is required to for this solution.

First, locate and head to the file you want to download. We need to make some modifications to the page so it will be available for download. In this example, we’ll download macOS Sierra Image.

Google Drive File

Once the file is located, navigate to the address bar, select and highlight ‘drive/folders‘ and delete it.

We are now going to replace it with ‘file/d‘, then hit enter and let the page refresh.

Your screen will change and now you should see a file preview page, like below. Next, click the menu icon in the right corner.

In the menu, select ‘Add star

Now, we want to head over to your own personal Google Drive. In here we need to create a new folder and choose any name you would like, just remember the name. I’m going to call mine ‘MyDownloadedStuff‘. We will use it in the next few steps.

Once your folder is created, scroll down, and on the left side select ‘Starred‘ in the list.

Now, we can move over to the file we want to download, Select it and right click on it. A menu will pop up and we want to select ‘Add shortcut to Drive

You will be asked for a location to add the shortcut. This when you want to go to the new folder you that have just created. Then click on ‘Add Shortcut

Once shortcut is created, move back to My Drive, and select the new folder you had created (mine is called MyDownloadedStuff). In this folder you should see a shortcut for to the file we want download. Right click on the folder and select download. Alternatively, if it’s a folder with files in it, you can also go in the folder and download individual files.

*EDIT (11/25/20)* You need to download the entire folder. Single file download is not working for many users

In the bottom right corner of the browser, you will see a download notification. This will start the process of compressing the file into a zip, and then it will automatically download it. Depending on the file size, this can be slow. Sometimes very slow, but it will work.

I hope you find this tutorial useful. If you are having difficulty following the steps see the Youtube video below and it will walk you through the complete process.

If you have any question or suggestion or ideas you think that would make us better, we’re happy to know that.


This video will follow the above steps for bypassing the quota error, and show you how to download the desired files you need in a step by step process.

Basically, what this does is create a copy of the file on your own Drive account. Since you are the owner of the copied file, you may download it to your local system this way.

Please note that this works only if you are signed in to a Google Account. Also note that you are the owner of the copied file and will be held responsible for policy violations or other issues linked to the file.


It may not be useful for some of the users for various reasons. But normally this method works most of the time. This method only works if you’re signed in to a Google Account. Also, note that you’re the owner of the copied file and will only be responsible for any terms or regulation violations or any other issues linked to the file.

This trick will create a copy of the file on your own Google Drive account. So that as an administrator you can download your own copied file to your local system without waiting for a long.

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