For viewing your vast trove of movies, music, and photos on your Chromebook at home, a network file share is the way to go.
Chrome OS is a cloud-centric operating system for your Chromebook, Chromebox, or Chromebit. But if you’re like me, a lot of your of files are accessible on your home network, but not necessarily the Internet-connected public cloud. I’m talking things like movies, photos, personal documents, my vast music collection, etc. Once upon a time, I might load my entire movie collection onto a hard drive on a computer. But with a Chromebook, you’re lucky if you get just one or two HD movies onto the local storage drive. That’s not a failing, of course—the Chromebook was never meant for that. I have no problem streaming commercial movies and music while I’m out and about with my Chromebook. But when I’m at home, there’s no point in taking the stuff that I own and uploading it to the cloud (perhaps for a price) just so I can view it on my Chromebook.
For these cases, a Chrome OS app called Network File Share for Chrome OS does the trick.
Network File Share for Chrome OS lets you access and edit files on your network attached storage, on another networked computer, or on a hard drive attached to your router as easily as if they were in your Google Drive or on your Chromebook’s local storage. I use it with my Synology DiskStation and a USB drive attached to my ASUS router.
It’s super simple to set up. I’ll show you.
Add a Network Share to Chrome OS
Here are the basic steps. I’m going to assume that you’ve already set up your Chromebook and connected it to the same local area network where your shares are hosted. If you don’t know how to set up a network share, check out this article: How to Share a USB drive from Your Wi-Fi Router.
- Go to the Chrome Web Store and install the app called Network File Share for Chrome OS.
- Open the Files app on your Chromebook.
- On the left side, click Add new services.
- Choose Network File Share for Chome OS.
- Enter the share path for your network file share. You can use the standard Windows format like \\EXAMPLE-HOST\SHARE or an SMB URL such as smb://EXAMPLE-HOST/SHARE. You can also use an IP address instead of a hostname.
- If your network share requires credentials, check the “My file share needs a password” box to enter a username and password.
- Click Mount.
Your network share will now show up on the left side of your Files app. You can copy files here, move files from here, add new files, delete files, and edit files just like they were on your Google Drive. Playback for movies is seamless. Really, it’s the next best thing you can get to having a DVD player on your laptop, now that optical drives are “legacy hardware.”
Interested in more Google Chromebook tips? Send me an email and let me know what you’d like us to cover.