How to share files with Linux apps on Chrome OS


With Linux apps installed on your Chromebook, you might have discovered that software cannot access files within the ChromeOS directories. Let’s fix that.

If you own a Chromebook, and you’ve enabled and installed Linux apps, you might have come across a situation where you find you can’t open files from your Chromebook directories with those newly installed apps. Why would you even want to do this? For example: Say you’d like to do some development on your Chromebook, via the Linux terminal window and want to access files either from within Google Drive or Downloads. 

Unless you make the Linux subsystem aware of those folders, you won’t be unable to access the documents contained within. Why is this the case? Because the Linux apps you’ve installed on your Chromebook are sandboxed from Chrome OS, which means they are isolated from other apps and the Chrome OS directory structure. 

Fear not, you can easily make your directories available to Linux apps with just a couple of clicks. 

Let me show you how. 

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How to share files with Linux apps on Chrome OS

  1. Open the My Files app. 
  2. From within that app, locate the directory housing the documents you want accessible by the installed Linux apps. 
  3. Right-click or double-finger tap the folder in question and then select Share With Linux. The sharing happens immediately. 
  4. Once it’s done, open the Linux terminal window and issue the command: 
  5. cd /mnt/chromeos/MyFiles/

5. Issue the ls command and you should see the folder that you shared listed. 
6. Change into that folder with a command like cd Downloads and you can then access any of the files within. 

Of course, you can access those files from within other applications, such as The GIMP, so it’s not limited to command line only usage. 

And that’s all there is to sharing your ChromeOS directories with the sandboxed Linux applications. Enjoy that newfound connection.

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