Google Drive is one of the most widely-used cloud storage services. Despite that, Google does place some restrictions on file sharing using bandwidth limits. As such, when there are lots of downloads for a shared Google Drive file in a short time period, you might get the following error:
“Sorry, you can’t view or download this file at this time. Too many users have viewed or downloaded this file recently. Please try accessing the file again later. If the file you are trying to access is particularly large or is shared with many people, it may take up to 24 hours to be able to view or download the file. If you still can’t access a file after 24 hours, contact your domain administrator.”
There are multiple reasons why this would happen, but it’s usually a small server-side bug and nothing to worry about. Of course, this implies you have full access to the said file.
How to solve You can’t view or download this file at this time error in Google Drive
This error effectively blocks Google Drive users from downloading the shared file for a day or so. While you could always wait a few days and then download it, there’s also a handy workaround that allows you to download files that exceed Google Drive’s bandwidth restrictions. Here’s how it works:
- First, sign in to your Google Drive account.
- Open the Google Drive file link you can’t download. Click its Download button so that you’re redirected to the page that states “you can’t view or download this file at this time.”
- Edit the page URL by replacing the UC part of the URL with open. Then, the URL will be https://drive.google.com/open?id= instead of https://drive.google.com/uc?id=.
- Now, load the edited URL.
- A new page opens with a few buttons at the top. Click the Add to drive button on the page.
- Click the My Drive option on your GD account page. Now you’ll be able to select the shared file.
- Next, you should right-click the locked file that isn’t downloading and select the Make a copy option.
- Then you can right-click the file copy and select Download from the context menu.
That will then save the file to a folder from which you can open it. This neat trick enables you to download any file types otherwise blocked by Google Drive quotas.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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