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

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 14, 2017
Updated • Nov 15, 2019
Companies, Google

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.

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

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.

The most common error is shown on the screenshot above. It simply shows the error message but no other controls or options.

  1. Locate the "uc" part of the address, and replace it with "open", so that the beginning of the URL reads
  2. Load the address again once you have replaced uc with open in the address.
  3. This loads a new screen with controls at the top.
  4. Click on the "add to my drive" icon at the top right.
  5. Click on "add to my drive" again to open your Google Drive storage in a new tab in the browser.
  6. You should see the locked file on your drive now.
  7. Select it with a right-click, and then the "make a copy" option from the menu.
  8. Select the copy of the file with a right-click, and there download to download the file to your local system.

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.

Now You: How do you handle file downloads on the Internet?

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Fix Google Drive: Sorry, you can't view or download this file error
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.
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  1. Dude said on November 19, 2021 at 5:40 am

    It doesn’t work. Either Google Fixed this “Go-Around” or I’m doing something wrong without knowing it.
    I followed all steps but it sends me back to the File Page with a option to just Download. But it would send me back to error.
    I tried the other steps & it only can create a Shortcut to the file But I cannot Download.
    Hopefully this can be fixed soon.

  2. blahblahblah said on August 23, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    it doesn’t work at all , it only says “copy SHORTCUT” to your google dive it won’t copy the file

    EDIT: ok it still seems to be working ,even though it only says shortcut added to your drive you can still select copy and it will in fact make a copy of the file onto your drive account and then you can download it ,i was afraid that it would only make a copy of the shortcut to the file and not the actual file since they changed the wording from “copy added to drive” to “shortcut added to drive” weird

  3. supernova777 said on July 23, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    it actually does still work if u right click make a copy on the original file not the shortcut

  4. Berta said on April 29, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    3 years old post and still works great. Thank you, you rock!

  5. George said on April 9, 2020 at 2:08 am

    Not working anymore:-(
    It allows you only add shortcut!!!
    Please help!!!

  6. php said on March 29, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    thank you so much!

  7. Carter said on January 31, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    You’re a friggin’ hero to me, man! God bless you, Marty!

  8. ExN said on January 16, 2020 at 12:05 am

    Damn LEGEND!! it’s WORK!!!

  9. Juca said on January 7, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    Awesome solution! Thanks

  10. Mohamed Fardin Khan said on December 29, 2019 at 8:26 am

    thank you

  11. Jibril said on December 20, 2019 at 11:43 am

    golden it work for me

  12. Anonymous said on December 16, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    thank you guyz. you saved my day!

  13. sanchhung said on November 28, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    Done creating a copy because I deleted some things from Drive. Y’all : make sure you have space left to copy it

  14. jerry said on October 1, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    thanks !! really work !

  15. Rex said on September 30, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Cool! This works. Thanks, man.

  16. wad11656 said on August 25, 2019 at 1:43 am

    Sometimes works. Does not work with the files I’m currently trying to download. Changing “uc” to “open” in the URL brings you to the individual file’s download page. Clicking the three dots in the top right shows no option to “Copy”

  17. Rizal Maulana said on August 21, 2019 at 4:03 am

    works perfectly, thanks

  18. Anonymous said on July 27, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Man!!!! You are a legend on Earth!!! It fuckin works… everytime
    Thanks a ton!!!!!!!!

  19. Dario Dominguez said on July 22, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    You’r Awesome Dude! Thanks Man!

  20. Giorno Giovanna said on July 13, 2019 at 5:56 pm


  21. Anonymous said on July 12, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    Thank you! Totally works!

  22. Anonymous said on July 4, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Awesome! It works! You are legend!

  23. Anonymous said on June 12, 2019 at 3:34 am

    thank you it work

  24. Tony said on June 1, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    after last step, I can download but.. “You don’t have authorization to view this page.” well it wasn’t works actually.

  25. James said on May 21, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    anyone ?

  26. James said on May 21, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Does not work . How can i make this work without an account in google or gmail ?

    1. James said on May 21, 2019 at 4:38 pm

      any one knows how

    2. James said on May 21, 2019 at 4:38 pm

      How can i make this work without an account in google or gmail ?

  27. Nick said on May 5, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    THaNk YoU So MuChHhHhH

  28. zub said on April 18, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    wow actually worked. thanks a lot.

  29. Rian said on March 24, 2019 at 11:02 am

    Yes it works, thank you so much

  30. Xiav said on March 1, 2019 at 1:45 am

    Thank you so much ! it’s work! 1/3/2019

  31. Anonymous said on February 18, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    A huge big thank you for the person that wrote this article! You saved my life. Worked like a charm.

  32. Anonymous said on February 16, 2019 at 8:29 am

    You are a beast man!!! Thank you very much

  33. Pete said on February 15, 2019 at 2:15 am

    I’m getting this same message “Sorry, you can’t view or download this file at this time…..blah blah blah” but it IS MY FILE IN MY DRIVE…
    Little help please. :)

    1. Anonymous said on December 31, 2019 at 1:51 pm

      Did you remember to create a copy once it was in your drive?

  34. William said on February 6, 2019 at 8:46 am

    It worked, thank you so much!

  35. rolf778 said on January 28, 2019 at 5:23 am

    Thank you!

  36. widianata said on December 17, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    Thanks a lot, it’s work!!! good bye speed limitation :))

  37. LifeSaved said on December 12, 2018 at 4:17 am

    Thanks, man. I LOVE you! :D

  38. karlito said on December 4, 2018 at 11:45 am

    well….error creating a copy of “filename”

  39. edwin said on December 3, 2018 at 3:34 am

    thanks!! it’s work!

  40. Anonymous said on November 19, 2018 at 4:22 am

    Nice, it works. Thank you for the helps.. its been a month since this thing happens to my computer

  41. Hugo Antunes said on October 22, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    Thank you for the great help you provided.

  42. Toni said on October 22, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Thank you. It works

  43. Sandeep Shrestha said on October 19, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Thank you so much

  44. Kenny said on October 17, 2018 at 8:24 am

    thanks a lot, worked perfectly

  45. Kevin said on August 19, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Superb Bro You Are Great Thnks Work Perfectlly

  46. Bradley Pittford said on July 31, 2018 at 2:42 am

    Perfect, thankyou!

  47. Bhavani Shankar said on July 23, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    woa thanx

  48. Sarvesh said on July 20, 2018 at 4:06 am

    Thanx works like a charm ! <3

  49. Chris C. said on June 4, 2018 at 1:58 am

    Simple solution, use .com domains can be seized without any second thought by the evil empire’s minions. Plus if you use your files the files are encrypted so that no one seizing mega’s hard drives would be able to violate your privacy like they can on google docs and google drive (remember google is in cahoots with the nsa). Never use google doc or google drive for that matter, and NEVER trust ‘the cloud’ with your files. ALWAYS have SEVERAL physical backups.

  50. Eki said on May 30, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    thank you!

  51. Keahi said on April 18, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    Done creating a copy because I deleted some things from Drive.

    : make sure you have space left to copy it

  52. Keahi said on April 18, 2018 at 10:26 pm


    For me, When I try to make a copy, it gives me an error to create a copy of it

  53. Anonymous said on March 18, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    it’s still working just until yesterday, but as i’m typing this, the trick won’t work anymore.
    There’s a notification says “error creating (file’s name)”.
    I’ve been looking a way for it but still haven’t found any.

  54. Anonymous said on March 11, 2018 at 3:18 am

    you are great thanks

  55. Anonymous said on March 6, 2018 at 8:45 am

    thanks very much!!

  56. Anonymous said on February 14, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Still works as of 02/14/2018 as far as I can tell. Amazing stuff – thank you for taking the time to make this tutorial.

  57. Leonard Supoksy said on February 4, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    Mine just says “starting” and isn’t downloading. Why is that?

  58. John said on January 30, 2018 at 1:02 am

    Good shit broooo!

  59. Bongi Mtembu said on January 23, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Thank you very much! :D

  60. Avijit Pandey said on January 21, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    Thanks man, you are a lifesaver. this method helped me resume the download of a 14 GB file after it failed at 79% due to locking. Some credit goes to IDM too, but you rock!

  61. Nath said on October 8, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Hi there,

    I have tried multiple times and can not get a shared file to copy to my drive after I have added it to my drive. I followed the you tube video exactly;
    All I get is error, file cannot be copied, and then the server encountered an error message. I have tried this on multiple machines with different OS’s and different browsers.
    Googling the error message doesn;t lead to a solution.
    Please help

    1. Nath said on October 8, 2017 at 1:08 pm

      OK, solved it. I created a new gmail account and now it works. I must have something wrong with my old account settings.
      Now the task of copying all my files over to the new account.

  62. Saqib said on September 30, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    It worked really well…thanks bro..;)

  63. SyndicateJames said on September 15, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Awesome! It works! You are legend!

  64. Hey said on September 3, 2017 at 2:44 am

    Not Works!

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 3, 2017 at 6:29 am

      Can you be more precise, what does not work exactly?

      1. Anonymous said on March 9, 2022 at 1:33 pm

        the url you describe does not resemble the url given to public access files. sounds more like yr describing a url of a file within your own account.

      2. wahyu al hadza said on December 30, 2019 at 5:06 am

        really work for big size file. thank so much keep sharing!!!

  65. rushi said on July 23, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    How to do this from mobile

  66. dante said on April 15, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Or just use

    1. Kamal said on May 1, 2020 at 2:11 pm

      This Trick is pretty awesome!! Kudos

  67. Yuliya said on April 14, 2017 at 11:15 am

    “You can give us your data, but you can’t have it back” ;)

    1. Clairvaux said on April 14, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      Actually, from what I understand it’s not your data. It’s data that has been shared by others, and made available to many. So putting caps on downloading is not unreasonable (although I don’t understand why). Your data does not suffer that kind of limitations.

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