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What Happens To Files When the Google Drive Chromebook Offer Ends?

Chrome OS owners get 100GB of Google Drive storage free for 2 years

cloud-storage-from-google

Google offers every new Chromebook owner 100GB of free online storage space for two years — but what happens to your files once the offer expires?

The freebie was first included with the Samsung Series 550 back in May 2012 and has been available with all new Chrome OS devices sold since.

‘Most Chrome OS devices offer an anaemic 16GB of local storage space’

With the standard local storage offered by most Chrome OS devices being an anaemic 16GB, the extra cloud space comes in handy. Documents, photos and other files can be shunted to the cloud to be downloaded or streamed when needed from any device with an active internet connection.

On Chromebooks (and boxes and bases) Google Drive is baked into the desktop through the file manager. Here, you can quickly upload more files, pin your favourites for offline access and so on. Mobile apps cater to those on Android and iOS, and there are dedicated desktop clients available to those on Windows and Mac OS X.

100GB is a lot of space and while most of us won’t get anywhere near to using it all up before it expires, many of you may start to creep into it as the months pass.

Free + Free

15GB of Drive storage is already available to most Gmail/Google Account users. When you redeem your Chromebook ‘goodie’ from Google you’re getting 100GB + the free 15GB you already have, for a grand total of 115GB, as the Drive Storage chart below shows:

drive

You can always check how much storage space you have left through the dashboard at drive.google.com/settings or by clicking on the cog icon in the Chrome OS file manager.

The Basics

When does the promotion expire?

The free storage offer is available for 24 months after redemption and not the purchase date of your device. Since this promotion first rolled out in May 2012 the first expirations should, in theory, start happening around now.

But if those first-day Series 550 buyers held off on claiming the promotion until, let’s say, July, then they still have a good month or so left to use their space.

If I buy another Chromebook does that mean I end up with 200GB of free space?

Sadly not! Google say the offer is only available once per Google account or once per device, whichever is used first. If you claim the free space on one Chrome OS device you cannot then ‘stack’ more when/if you buy another. This is also why the offer is often not available to those who buy a second-hand or open box device.

There is one exception to the rule, however. Google say that the 1TB of Google Drive storage available to purchasers of the Chromebook Pixel is a separate promotion and can be combined with the 100GB promotion. The 1TB is valid for three years.

Do files get deleted when the free Drive promotion ends? 

This is the question many readers ask us. The good news is that your files are not deleted when the offer expires. Instead, Google will prevent you from uploading further files until you fall back below the regular quota of 15GB.

For example, let’s say you have 20GB of files stored when the cut off date reaches you. This means you end up with 5GB of files over the default 15GB Google offers to all users.

You can still access, download, edit and share all of your files as normal but — and this is the important part — you won’t be able to add more files until you either buy extra storage space or delete/migrate the file excess.

That’s a relief! So I can download my files after the offer expires?

Yes. To download them for safe keeping locally you will be able to use the web interface or the official sync clients for Windows and Mac. Once you’ve download the files exceeding your quota, move them to a local folder and delete them from Google Drive. Repeat this until you’re below the regular free 15GB limit and you’ll once again be able to upload new files.

Sounds like hassle! How much does extra Google Drive space cost?

Not much! Google recently reduced the price of their paid storage plans to just $1.99/month for 100GB and $10/month for a mammoth 1TB.

Conclusion

Although it only runs for a limited time the free space promotion is a fantastic bonus for Chromebook owners, and is certainly one well worth taking advantage of. Two years is a long time, certainly more than enough to judge whether upgrading to a paid plan at the end is worth it.

  • Kenny Strawn

    Starting with the Acer C720, that went up to three years… ah, and if you keep getting a new Chromebook every two years (like in my case, where it alternates every Christmas: phone upgrade, Chromebook upgrade, phone upgrade, Chromebook upgrade), won’t it keep renewing itself?

    • Will Palmer

      It won’t keep renewing… (from above) “Google say the offer is only available once per Google account or once per device, whichever is used first. If you claim the free space on one Chrome OS device you cannot then ‘stack’ more when/if you buy another.”

      • Chris Collins

        I’m not so sure about that “once per device whichever is first” part. There are several people who have purchased a used Chromebook, where it was well documented that the offer had been redeemed on that Chromebook, and yet the new owner was able to redeem the offer (provided they had not redeemed it under their account previously).

        Basically, I used my Samsung, I redeemed the offer. When my wifes computer died, I had let her use the Samsung as a replacement until we figured out what she wanted to do. When I Powerwashed the Chromebook and gave it to her, she was able to log in under her account and redeem all of the “goodies” including the 100GB drive space.

    • Steve Eaton

      I exchanged a Chromebook for another one with the 30day exchange from Best Buy. Even though I linked the new (different brand) machine to my account, I did NOT receive another 100GB.
      Seems logical, the 2 years of 100GB is certainly enough to draw you into the ecosystem. With the recent pricing drop to $1.99/month for 100GB will likely be sufficient to keep most people willing to extend.

    • Steve Eaton

      Found this answer on Google own Drive Offer FAQ
      Q: I purchased 2 Chromebooks so do I get 200 GB of free storage?

      No. You can redeem the offer once per machine or once per Google account, whichever comes first.

  • TechWings

    I’ll definitely be subscribing for the 1 TB that came with the Pixel. But I still have a year and a half left.

  • mediumsizedrob

    Google Drive pricing is so good now, I’ll definitely keep subscribing for the extra space. One can hope the price per GB will keep dropping as it has for all other forms of storage. Time will tell.

  • amnesia

    So, after exceeding your quota, would you still be able to get new emails? Because IIRC, emails sent to you bounce back to the original sender with some error.

  • Karl Bloss

    If your area is lucky enough to have Google Fiber, you have access to 1TB. https://fiber.google.com/cities/

  • Mathijs Planting

    What I like to know is, can you still upload your photos to Google+(maybe default quality only?), and what about mail with attachments? They take up space too.

    • Boothy

      Yes, your photos (standard size), music uploads, books, and Google Docs/Sheets/Slides etc don’t count against this storage.

  • ap3604

    So a quick question that wasn’t answered in the article :

    If I buy a chromebook today and activate the 100gb of storage, I get that for two years. What happens if after the two years it expires but I buy another brand new chromebook — can I activate the 100gb storage offer again on the same google account? I don’t care about stacking as I’m not talking about trying to get 200gb, simply that I would get my 100gb back again.

    I ask this because in the article you say “Google say the offer is available only once per Google account”. That sounds as if once you activate a 100gb storage offer with one chromebook that the Google account is locked out of getting any future 100gb offers… even if you buy a new chromebook after two years.

    • PaintDrinkingPete

      It may be a bit unknown, as the first Chromebook users to take advantage of the offer are just beginning to expire, but my understanding of it is that you get one free 2 year upgrade per account with Chromebook purchase….and that’s it.

      So, if I were a betting man, I’d say that no, you cannot redeem additional offers even if you buy a new Chromebook *after* your initial 2-year deal runs out…but I honestly don’t know.

  • PaintDrinkingPete

    It’t pretty clever actually…and to be honest, if I’m fully on board with Google Drive and plan on paying for the storage I need as I need it….which will probably happen after my 2 years are up.

    Who knows though…I redeemed my Chromebook offer in January of this year, so who knows what Google will be offering for free in Jan of 2016…? (it will probably be more than 15GB, but I don’t mind paying if I have to, it’s a great service).

  • D Perry

    There is unlimited storage for Google Docs and Sheets. Convert your files and you’re good to go. Same for photos in “standard” size on Google+.

    • Lou G

      That’s why all of my documents become google docs. I can just redownload in whatever format I need.

  • Ben Mordecai

    If you only need 20GB, Copy is a great option, with 15GB free, plus 5GB for signing up from a referral link: https://copy.com?r=3f2An4

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    Does the ChromeOS file manager offer integration with other cloud drive platforms (such as OneDrive)? Just a curious question.

    • http://twitter.com/d0od Joey-Elijah Sneddon

      At present, no. But Google is working on an API that will allow third-party ‘filesystems’ (dropbox, etc) to be mounted in the Files.app.

  • Frederic MANSON

    OK, OK… And if I have my Google free storage account full at 100% aka 100 Go, will Google keep my 100 Go on their cloud after the deadline?

    I do not care if I can not add more files, I can use a 128 Go SDXC card for that. That way, I can have two backups: the cloud with its 100 Go AND a 128 Go SDXC card.

    I already have a Dropbox account as well as a Zippyshare account, all for free. I can use them to put my “moving files” (docs, PDF, ebooks, etc.).

  • TECHIES_NET

    100GB free cloud storage is available with just a signup. Visit the here – http://goo.gl/x92oiN to avail the service.