How to Set Up Network File Shares (NFS) on Your Chromebook

It’s no secret that most Chromebooks don’t have a lot of internal disk space, so for those of us who are file hoarders – or just like to maintain a full media library – we have to use other external storage options. But what if that external storage comes in the form of another device you have at home – like a Mac or PC – or NAS (Network Attached Storage) and you want to be able to view or edit these files on your Chromebook while you are still on your local network?

At the time, you could only achieve this by downloading an extension created by Google called “Network File Sharing“, but this extension has since been removed from the Chrome Web Store and replaced with a feature built right into the Chrome OS Files app.

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I regularly share files between my Chromebook and my Mac Mini. Of course, you could also use Google Drive for this, but I find it works faster to share a file directly within my local network rather than having to upload it to the cloud only to download it again.

That said, follow the guide below if you want to set it up yourself.

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Make sure the folder you want to map is shared

On Mac

Go to System Preferencesthen click Share. Select file sharing service left and click Choice.

In this pop-up, make sure to select to allow”Share files and folders using SMB” and select your user account. You will be prompted to enter your credentials for this macOS account. Enter your password, click OK, then click Donewhich should take you back to the sharing services screen.

From here, under “Shared Folders”, add the folder on this Mac that you want to share. macOS already includes a public folder that you can use for this purpose, but if you want to share a specific folder such as where you keep your movies, you’ll need to add it here by by clicking on the + then navigating to it.

Once the folder is added, you will need to select the type of access you want to give to your user account. If you want to be able to add files from your Chromebook to that same folder, and not just see what’s inside, you’ll need to select “Read & Write” instead of “Read Only.”

Note the SMB path, which you can see just below the file sharing status area. This is what you will need to enter on your Chromebook when we get to this section below.

As you can see, my Downloads folder is shared because I use it to transfer files between my Mac Mini and my Chromebook. I find it easier and faster than sharing them via Google Drive.

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I just want the steps!

1. Go to System Preferencesthen click Share

2. Select File sharingthen click Choice

3. Allow”Share files and folders using SMB” and select your user account

4. Enter your password, click OK, then click Done

5. Add Folder you want to share under “Shared folders” and select the type of access you want to give him.

6. Note the SMB path

On PC

Open File Explorer and navigate to the folder you want to share. Right click on the folder and select Properties. In the Properties window, click the Share tab, then click To share. A Network access A window will appear asking for the account you want to share this folder with, enter your account name on this PC, and select the authorization level.

Then you want note what the network path will be for this shared folder. You will need it for the next step.

I just want the steps!

1. Open File Explorer and navigate to the folder you want to share

2. Right click on the folder and select Properties

3. Click the Share tab, then click To share

4.EEnter account name you want to give access to and select permission level

5. Note the network path

Map a Network Share on a Chromebook

To map the folder you shared to your Chromebook, open the Files app, then click on the 3-dot menu at the top right. To select Services > SMB File Sharing.

You will get a pop-up window asking you to add file sharing. Enter the file share path – which you got in the step above when you made sure your folder was shared – followed by your preferred display nameand the credentials you used when sharing the folder on your Mac or PC. Once you have completed all of this, click add.

To note: SMB file shares on mac are prefixed with “qn://” and use the slash “/” to show subfolders. On Windows, it uses the backslash “” in place.

I just want the steps!

1. Open the Files appthen click on the 3 dot menu top right

2. Select Services > SMB File Sharing

3. Enter the file share path, preferred display name and credentials. Click on “Add

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Your shared folder should now appear in your Files app on the left where all your device folders are. You should now be able to interact with this folder depending on the type of access you gave it in the first place and enjoy watching your stored media right on your Chromebook.


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Steven L. Nielsen