How to Fix Google Drive ‘Couldn’t Preview File’ Error?

Couldn't Preview File Google Drive

Google Drive is not just the most popular cloud storage option because it offers free 15 GB storage but what makes it so a special plethora of features that make it user friendly and easily accessible. One such popular feature is to preview the files before downloading them on the browser.

The preview feature will load the files, images, docs, PDFs, videos, and more within Google Drive and there is no need to separately download the file to check if it the correct one.

This handy feature may sometimes not work and show errors on Google Drive for various reasons. One such error that users face while previewing the file is ‘Couldn’t Preview File’.

The error also comes with a message saying;

You May Be Offline or With Limited Connectivity. Try Downloading Instead

I have listed some of the best solutions to fix this error on Google Drive for your PC browser.

5+ Ways to Fix Google Drive Unable Preview File

Here are the Solutions and Reasons that May Cause the Google Drive to Not Preview the File in Browser.

The File is Too Small

If the file is too small, then Google Drive is Unable to Preview it. Make sure the file is at least a few KBs. Drive has a limitation on the preview feature, a file less than KB may not preview.

Google Drive Do Not Support the File Format

Google Drive has limitations on file preview. You cannot preview all types of file formats in the drive. For example, if you have an APK file on your Drive, then it is not possible for Gdrive to preview it. Drive can open docs, videos, images, audio files, sheets, office files inside the Google Drive web.

File is Corrupted

Broken File

If the file is broken or has some elements that break the code then it may not open in the drive. Double-check the file if it has write format or any other corrupt element.

Internet is Slow/Interrupted

Router Reboot Internet

The preview features works just like the cache feature to collect the data to load the preview quickly. But to preview the file you need an active seamless internet. If the connection is interrupted or is very slow then Drive will not preview the file and will directly ask you to download it instead.

Disable Extensions

If you are using an extension on your browser then it may block the element to load. Browser extension scans the web page and checks if there is any action to perform. The extension scripts may block Google Drive to load the preview due to various factors involved or security reasons.

If you have any extension that blocks/modifies scripts or codes, disable such extensions and check if the issue is fixed. To do so;

  • Type chrome://extensions
  • Here click on the extension toggle to Turn OFF.


  • Once done restart the browser and check if the video is loading.

Open in New Window

You can use this simple trick to fix the preview error issue on Google Drive. Just open the preview page in the new window. To do so;

  • Open the video Preview
  • Click on the 3 vertical dot menu option
  • Here click on Open the new window

Open in New Tab Video

Update Browser

Google regularly updates the browser with security patches and performance. As the internet is growing, the web community regularly works to make browsing more secure.

As the browsers are becoming more secure, websites also change the way they are built. If you are using an older version of the browser and the site is updated to modern standards then it becomes difficult for the site to load. Therefore, it is important to update the browser. To update the browser;

  • Click on Chrome Settings


  • Here click on About Chrome from Sidebar Menu and update the browser.


Clear Cache on Browser

The cache is a small data stored by the browser for each website you visit that helps the browser to save user info, load pages faster, and keep the identity safe if you log in to any site for security reasons. Cache build-up can cause some websites to not load properly. Simply clear the browser cache to fix the issue.

A filled cache can block the page load. You can simply clear the chrome cache and see if the issue is fixed.

  • Click on Chrome Settings


  • Now click on Privacy and Security of Sidebar Menu and click on the Clear browsing data option


  • A dialog box will pop up, here select Cached Images and Files, and click Clear data


Now try to preview the file and you will notice the issue is fixed.

Try a Connected App

Though this is not a direct fix, but it can help you load unsupported files without any need to download any software.

Though Google Drive has limitations on previewing the file, but you can connect 3rd party apps to open the file. For example, if you have a zip file in the drive then you can use Zip Extractor to directly extract the files.

  • Open the file preview page and click on Open with.
  • Here click on Connect More Apps.

Connect More Apps

  • A Google Workspace Marketplace Store will open.
  • Here search for the app and click on the Drive+ icon

Connect to drive

  • Once App is connected, again open Video Preview and click on Open with and select the app
  • A new window will open, now log in with your Google Account and Grant the Account access.
  • The file will open in the 3rd party application.


If files are not able to preview in Google Drive Web on Browser, there may be multiple reasons. With the solutions above you can fix the issue if it is caused due to system error. If the file itself is wrong then it may not be possible for the drive to preview the said file.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *