The good and bad to using external storage on a Chromebook

Chromebook storage is something we all need to consider when buying a new device. When the Chromebook was originally launched they came with very little storage. This is because Chrome OS is built around the cloud.

However, over the years and with the introduction of Android Apps a few years ago. The amount of storage you have on your device has steadily risen and you can now get 128GB of storage as standard.

Even though storage in Chromebooks has generally risen. There are still situations where you may want more than what your device provides.

One option is by taking advantage of the cloud computing capabilities of Chrome OS by saving files in the cloud with Google 1. Find out more about the good and bad points of saving files in the cloud on your Chromebook.

The second option is adding external physical storage, which gives an immediate boost to your device’s storage. Let’s take a look at the good and bad points of choosing external storage.


One of the greatest benefits of saving files in the cloud is that you don’t need to worry about backing up your data. This is not the case if you decide to add further storage to your Chromebook with external physical storage.

If the data you’re storing on external physical storage is important to you. Then you must ensure you create regular backups. This is a manual process and you can easily overlook backing up files over time because it can become a bit of a chore.

This runs the risk of you losing data should your chosen storage option malfunctions. So this is a drawback to using external storage if you don’t have adequate processes in place to back up your data regularly.


One of the reasons why many people add extra physical storage to their devices is because it’s relatively cheap. You can add storage in many different ways, but USB and SD card storage can be added for less than $20/£20.

This means a lot of people tend to ignore any of the possible negatives, which is understandable to some extent. When you can double the amount of storage on your device without spending too much money. It becomes too hard to resist for some.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this of course. Just make sure if the data is important that you back it up.


Although I recommend saving in the cloud as much as possible. One of the main reasons why I would recommend external storage is if you have large files.

If you’re like me and have a lot of video files, which I use for YouTube. Then you’ll know just how much space these files take up. Saving these files in the cloud would mean using up a lot of your cloud storage space, which can be costly.

It’s not just about the cost though. Uploading large files to the cloud takes a lot longer than smaller files. Also, trying to gain access to these files at a later date can be frustrating.

Trying to play videos directly from the cloud is not fantastic. Especially if internet traffic is busy at the time. You’ll end up with constant buffering. This means you’ll need to download the files.

Personally, I save all my larger video files locally, but I also ensure they are backed up to another device. I’ll admit, I may not do this as regularly as I should, which is the biggest downfall of external physical storage. It’s the added risk of losing your data.


The good thing about external storage is that you get many different options to choose from. Some are cheap and some are a lot more expensive.

Most Chromebook computers come with a Micro SD slot. If you’ve got a Micro SD slot you can easily add extra storage. SD cards can be found at a really decent price.

However, these prices do obviously increase depending on the amount of storage you want from your SD card. Also, you should ensure the SD card is from a reputable brand. Cheap SD cards have the tendency to give up on you a lot easier than decent branded SD cards.

Another method is USB storage. Again, this is a cheap alternative and you have to have an available USB port. Providing you do, then you’ll find it really easy to add storage using this method. Find out more about adding extra storage using SD card or USB on your Chromebook.

You also have the option to add extra storage by using an external hard disk drive. This gives you the option to add the most storage. Prices vary, but you can find out more about adding a hard disk to extend your Chromebook storage.


Adding external storage to your Chromebook is an easy thing to do. Also, you can do this without spending too much money.

However, you need to remember that any external storage will not be safe if you don’t do regular backups. Generally speaking, if you can it’s a much better idea to save as much data as possible in the cloud.

Physical external storage does have its place though. For example, if you have lots of videos that take up a lot of space. Then these type of video files may not be suitable for the cloud.

If this is the case for you. Then choosing external storage for video files makes sense, but you’ll still need to consider how these will be backed up if they are important to you.