Fix: Google Drive ‘There was a problem playing this video’

The main cause of videos not playing on Google Drive is a corrupt browser’s/app cache. In some cases, bad configurations of the browser or conflicting browser extensions can also cause the video not to play. The video may load for a couple of seconds and then show the following error:

There Was Error Playing This Video

In some cases, the thumbnail of the video may show up and on clicking it, an endless spinning wheel appears. Here are some general workarounds that can be used before trying technical workarounds.

Make sure if you have a working internet connection and if you are having issues in a domain network, then contact your network administrator. Make sure that you are using the latest version of your browser as well. If you have just uploaded the video, then wait for some time so that Google could process the video. The time taken by Google Drive to process the video may vary depending upon different factors. Also lastly, sign out of Google Drive and then sign back in to check if the problem is solved.

Solution 1: Clear the Browsing Data

Like any other application, your browser uses the cache to improve user experience and boot up things. Moreover, cookies are used to store client/server communication details. If any of these get corrupt, then you will not be able to play videos in Google Drive. Here, in this case, clearing the browsing data may solve the problem. For illustration, we will discuss the process for Google Chrome.

  1. Launch Google Chrome.
  2. In the top right corner, click on 3 vertical dots (the Action menu) and then hover over More Tools.
  3. Now in the sub-menu, click on Clear Browsing Data.
    Open Clear Browsing Data in Chrome
  4. Then in the Advanced tab, select the time range of All Time. Next, select the categories for which you want to delete data (select all categories if feasible).
  5. Finally, click on the Clear Data button once you are done.
    Clear Browsing Data of All Time
  6. After confirming your actions, relaunch Chrome and check if you can play videos in Google Drive.

Solution 2: Open the Video in Another Window

There is a reported workaround that lets many users play the video of Google Drive where they open the problematic video in another window of the browser. This forces Drive to fetch information of the video from scratch from Google’s servers and solve the issue of the videos not playing if the problem was because of the stopped network communication.

  1. Open Google Drive and select the video file.
  2. Near the upper right corner of the window, click on 3 vertical dots and then click on Open in New Window.
    Open Video File in Another Window
  3. Then check if the video has started to play.

Solution 3: Disable the Browser’s Extensions/Addons

Browser’s extensions/addons are used to add extra functionality to the browser and the user. However, interference by these extensions with the Google Drive website may end up causing videos not to play. Given the circumstances, disabling these extensions may solve the problem (you can opt to use the incognito or in-private mode of the browser but disabling extensions is recommended).

  1. Launch Google Chrome and click on the Action menu.
  2. Now in the menu displayed, hoover over More Tools and in the sub-menu, click on Extensions.
    Open Chrome Extensions
  3. Then disable all the extensions by toggling the respective switch to off.
    Disable a Chrome Extension
  4. Now relaunch Chrome and check if the videos have started to play in Google Drive.

Solution 4: Using Another browser

Another thing to try before we attempt other extensive solutions is to try loading Drive in another browser altogether. There are might be instances where the browser has installation problems or has missing modules. If we discover earlier on that it is a browser problem, it will make our troubleshooting much easier.

  1. Download and install another browser.
  2. Launch the newly installed browser and open Google Drive to check if you can play videos in it. If you can, consider reinstalling the affected browser.

Solution 5: Changing Network Temporarily

ISPs restrict certain features and resources to control web traffic and safeguard its users. But if a feature/resource essential for Google Drive is blocked by an ISP, then Google Drive may not play any videos. To rule out any ISP interference, temporarily switch your network (or you can opt to use a VPN).

  1. Temporarily switch your network or use a reputable VPN.
  2. Now, open the issue is resolved. If not, you can switch back to your network.

Solution 6: Use the Correct Google Account

You can sign-in to multiple Google accounts in a browser. An account mismatch regarding ownership of the Drive video may cause the current Google Drive error. In that case, switching to the account which owns the video may solve the problem.

  1. Launch Chrome and in the top right corner, click on the icon of your account (just beside three vertical dots).
  2. Now on the menu, click on Add and type the username of the profile.
    Click Add to Add New Profile in Chrome
  3. Now, Chrome will be launched with the newly created profile.
  4. In the newly created profile, click on the user icon just beside the action menu and Turn on Sync.
    Turn on Sync for New Profile
  5. Then use your credentials of the account which owns the video file of the Google Drive.
  6. Now open Google Drive and check if the problem is solved.

Solution 7: Download the Video File

If the issue is still persisting and you cannot stream the video file, we can download it locally on your computer, and then you can watch it using your operating system’s default video viewer. You can skip this step if the video file is too large to be downloaded.

  1. Open Google Drive and select your video.
  2. Now click on More actions and then select Download.
    Download the Video File
  3. After downloading the video file, play it using your PC’s media app.

Solution 8: Disable SameSite Default Cookies Flag

Another workaround that worked for numerous users was disabling the default Cookies flag in your browser. SameSite is used by a variety of browsers to identify whether or not to allow a cookie to be accessed. We can change this flag from its default value and see if this fixes our problem.

  1. Open Chrome and enter following command in the address bar:
    Chrome Flags
  2. Now search for “SameSite by default cookies” using Ctrl + F.
  3. Then, in the search results, click on the dropdown of default in front of “SameSite by default cookies” and select Disabled.
    Disable SameSite by Default Cookies
  4. Save changes and exit. Restart your Windows, relaunch Chrome, and check if you can play videos in Google Drive.

Solution 9: Change Browser Settings

There are different browser settings like third-party cookies or Flash due to which Google Drive could not play the video on your computer. We can experiment with these settings and see if this makes any difference.

Blocking Third-Party Cookies in Your Browser

Third-party cookies are used by a site to remember details about a user. This type of cookie is called ‘third party” as it is placed by a site other then the user is visiting. Google Drive videos are reported to have issues in playing videos when third party cookies are enabled. In that case, disabling these cookies may solve the problem. You can always turn them back on later if this doesn’t work.

  1. Launch Google Chrome and on the top right corner of the window, click on the Action menu, and then Settings.
  2. Now, in the left pane of the window, click on Privacy and security and then Site Settings.
    Open Site Settings in Chrome
  3. Select Cookies and Site data in the preceding menu.
    Open Cookies and Site Data
  4. Now, toggle the switch of Block third-party cookies to enabled and check if the problem is solved.
    Block third-party cookies

Allowing Google’s Cookies

If disabling third-party cookies didn’t work, we can try the opposite and make sure that Google’s cookies are being allowed. This method was reported to get the videos to work for several users.

  1. Open Cookies and site data settings in Chrome as in the previous step.
  2. Now, scroll down and click on Add in front of Allow.
    Add to Allow Site
  3. Copy and paste the following line in this dialogue box:
  4. Click on the Add button of the dialogue box. Relaunch Chrome properly by restarting your computer and see if the problem is resolved.
    Press Add after Adding
  5. Now relaunch Chrome and check if the Google Drive issue has resolved.

Allow Flash

Flash is a container file format that is very popular in being used to send digital videos across the internet. Drive makes use of Flash every now and then to operate and if this is disabled, you might not be able to play videos. You can always disable it again if this doesn’t work.

  1. Open Site settings of Chrome as discussed above, scroll down, and click on Flash.
    Open Flash Settings of Chrome
  2. Toggle the switch of Block sites from running flash to Enabled.
    Disable Block Sites from Running Flash
  3. Now, relaunch Chrome and check if the problem is resolved.

Disable Popup Blocker

Popup blockers are used to block popups by websites to make the browsing experience smoother and less intrusive. However, this is known to cause several problems with other modules like Google Drive who make use of popups to video videos. Disabling the option may solve the problem for you.

  1. Copy and paste the following path in the address bar of Chrome:
  2. Now toggle the switch of Blocked to disabled.
    Turn Off Popup Blocker
  3. Save changes and exit. Relaunch Chrome and check if videos have started to play in Google Drive.

Bonus for Android: Update the Google Drive App and Clear its Cache

Apps are updated to cater to the new technology developments and patch the known bugs. If you are using an outdated version of Google Drive’s app, then you may encounter the issue under discussion. In that case, updating the app may solve the problem. We will discuss the process for the Android app.

  1. Open your phone’s settings and tap on Application Manager or Apps.

    Opening Settings and tapping on the “Applications” option
  2. Now tap on Google Drive and then tap on Storage. Now tap on the clear cache button.
    Click on Clear Cache
  3. Now, open Google Play Store and tap on the menu. Then in the menu shown, click on My apps & games.
    Clicking on the My Apps & Games option
  4. In the list of installed apps, tap on Google Drive. If an update is available, click on it.
  5. After updating the app, launch Google Drive, and check if it is clear of the error.

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.