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How to fix the ‘Couldn’t preview file’ error?

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  • 5 min read

Google Drive is one of the most popular cloud storage solutions at the moment, courtesy of Google’s popularity. However, sheer popularity doesn’t mean that everything goes seamlessly. 

In this article, we’re going over the ‘couldn’t preview file’ error in Google drive and giving you a few solutions to fix the problem.

Check the file format

While Google Drive can preview just about any format, including most images, documents and videos, it doesn’t support every file format floating on the internet. You can go through the list of supported file formats for Google Drive to see if your file is compatible. 

If it isn’t, you’re going to have to convert it to one that is supported by Drive to be able to see a preview. 

Also read: How to manage your Google Drive storage?

Open the file in a new window

One more thing you can try is opening the file preview in a new window. Some users have reported that this method works for them. All you have to do is when you’re on the preview page, click the three vertical dots in the top right and select Open in new window, and you should be able to see the preview. 

How to fix the 'Couldn't preview file' error?

Use an incognito tab

Sometimes corrupt cookies or cache data can keep you from previewing files. If that’s the case, try opening Drive in an incognito tab to see if you can preview files there. 

Enable cookies

Enabling all cookies in your browser can also get rid of this problem. Just head over to chrome://settings/cookies and enable the Allow all cookies option. After this, restart your browser and try again. 

How to fix the 'Couldn't preview file' error?

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Log out and log in again

A classic move, logging out and logging in again often fixes such problems on just about any site. If you can’t see previews on Google Drive, try logging out of your Google account and try logging back in again to see if that solves your problem. 

Disable extensions

Corrupt or malfunctioning extensions often cause many problems, including this one. 

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Head over to chrome://extensions and try disabling all your extensions to check if the browser starts functioning as normal again; if it does, enable them one by one until you have all the essential extensions working again.

Clear your browser’s data

Corrupt files in your cache or otherwise can cause this error as well. Clear them out to see if you can get Chrome to work.

Step 1: Type in chrome://settings/clearBrowserData in your browser’s address bar and hit Enter.

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Step 2: Select the cache and cookies options and make sure the Time range is set to All time. Click on the Clear now button to clear out all the data. 

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Also read: How to make a folder icon transparent?

Reset your browser

Resetting Chrome can fix all sorts of random bugs and glitches with the browser. 

Step 1: Head over to chrome://settings/reset. Click on Restore settings to their original defaults.

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Step 2: Chrome will show you a warning prompt. Click on Reset Settings, and your browser will reset to default settings. 

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This should get the previews up and running again. 

Check for updates

If the issue is in Chrome itself, chances are developers might release an update to fix the problem. Regardless, you should always ensure you’ve got the latest version of the browser installed to avoid running into problems that could otherwise be avoided. 

Head over to chrome://settings/help and make sure you’re on the latest update. If you’re not, update immediately and try again. 

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Also read: Google Drive waiting to upload: 7 Fixes

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: