Sorry, you can’t view or download this file error? Here’s how to fix

While downloading a shared file from Google Drive, you might come across the “Sorry, you can’t view or download this file at this time” error message. As it turns out, the reason why this happens can be found in the description of the error message itself where it suggests that too many users have tried to access the shared file. When this happens, the free limit quota put in place by Google comes into play and as a result, you have prompted the given error message upon trying to download the file.

Sorry, You can’t View or Download this File at this Time

In this modern world, sharing files with each other has become a necessity. Taking the size of the file out of the equation, we all share data with each other on a daily basis. When you are trying to send someone a file that is too large to be sent through inbox, users often go for third-party websites that provide such a service. However, when you are not able to share your files without any issues, it can turn out to be quite an ordeal. Therefore, in this article, we will be showing you how to resolve the mentioned error message quite easily. As it turns out, if you are sharing files on Google Drive for free, you are limited by a quota that is in place. This means that if you share files publicly to a large group of users, the file will be unavailable for a while if it reaches its quota limit.

Now, you can access Google Drive offline and there are pro plans that you can opt for which will prevent this from happening. However, if you are a free user, what’s the course of action for you? Well, as it turns out, the file is often locked for a period of 24 hours and it can be even less depending on certain scenarios. Therefore, if you are trying to download a file that is popular and is hosted on Google Drive, it can even take you days or longer before you are able to download it to your computer and get your hands on it. Waiting might be an option, however, if the file is pulled, then you won’t be able to download ever. Plus, if waiting is not an option due to it being a work-related thing or something else, do not fret as there is a workaround that you can use to download the file.

Bypass Google Drive Quota Limit

As it turns out, there is actually an easy workaround that can be implemented to download the file without any issues despite the quota limit put in place by Google. This method will basically bypass that quota limit and you will be able to get your hands on the file. What we will be basically doing is creating a shortcut of the file and saving that to our Google Drive. Once the shortcut has been created, you will have to create a copy of the file. If you are getting an error creating a copy on Google Drive, you will have to resolve that first before proceeding. After creating a copy of the file successfully, you will get the file in your Google drive with owner permissions which means you can download it whenever you wish to. This way, you will have bypassed the quota limit and will be able to view or download the file per your desires. With that said, let us show you how to do all of that step-by-step. Therefore, without further ado, follow the instructions given down below:

  1. First of all, open up the download link of the file that you wish to download in a browser.
  2. In the address bar where the link is present, remove uc and type in open instead.
    Editing the Download Link by Replacing UC with Open
  3. Plus, remove the &export=download at the end of the URL as well if present.
    Editing the Download Link
  4. Once you have done that, hit Enter. This will open up the same file with some icons at the top right corner that we will be using.
  5. After that, make sure that you are signed in to your Google account. In case you aren’t, click on the Sign in button located at the top right corner. Provide your Google account credentials to login.
    Sign In Button
  6. Once you have successfully logged in, you will be taken back to the download page.
  7. Now, click on the Google Drive icon located at the top-right corner to create a shortcut. In case you do not want to create a shortcut of the file on your Google drive, there’s another way for you as well. Skip to step 14 and follow from there.
    Google Drive Icon
  8. The icon will be changed into a folder, and then from the drop-down menu, choose Drive and then click the Add shortcut here button.
    Creating a Shortcut of the File
  9. Once you have added a shortcut to your Google drive, go ahead and open up your Google Drive by clicking this link here.
  10. There, you will be able to see a shortcut of the file.
  11. Right-click on the shortcut and then from the drop-down menu, choose the Make a copy option. If you have a lot of files in your Google Drive, you will have to search for the file by its name.
    Making a Copy of the Shortcut on Google Drive
  12. This will create a copy of the file in your google drive and you will have full permissions over the copied version. At this point, you can do whatever you want with the file.
  13. To download the file, simply right-click on it and then choose Download from the drop-down menu. You can also delete the shortcut since it is no longer needed.
    Downloading file from Google Drive
  14. In case you didn’t want to create a shortcut, you can simply open up Google Drive after signing into your Google account at step 5.
  15. On Google Drive, click the Shared with me option on the left-hand side.
    Google Drive Menu
  16. There, you will be able to see the file. Now, make a copy by right-clicking it and choosing Make a copy from the drop-down menu.
    Creating a Copy of the File
  17. That’s it, you are done. You have successfully bypassed the Google Quota limit.

In case you are the owner of the file that is having this issue, what you can do is simply make a copy of the file on your Google Drive and then share the new link with the users. The problem shouldn’t be there for a while until the quota limit is reached again.


Muhammad Zubyan

Muhammad Zubyan is a certified Google IT Support Professional with over 7 years of extensive experience. He has worked on more than 1500 computers, gaining valuable insights that enable him to detect and troubleshoot any complicated root cause of Windows-related issues and errors. In addition to managing Appuals as a Senior Editor, he is currently developing his own Game Optimization program that caters to both gamers and casual users alike.