How to Browse and Open Folders and Files with Google Chrome

Google Chrome is a browser you can browse both website pages and folders and files with. You don’t need any extensions to browse and open basic text and image files in Chrome. However, you can open folders and files in File Explorer and their default programs from the browser with the Local Explorer extension.

First, open Chrome’s folder browser by entering ‘file:///C:/’ in the URL bar. That will open the Index of C:\ tab shown in the snapshot below. This is where you can browse through the folders on the C:\ drive much the same as in File Explorer.

chrome index

Now you can open basic txt text files, PDFs and images in Google Chrome with this file browser. Click one of those file formats to open them in a Chrome tab as shown below. However, it only supports a limited range of file formats; and you can’t open that many files within Chrome.

chrome index4

Local Explorer is an extension that enables you to open any file from the Index of C:\ tab in Chrome in its default software package. Furthermore, you can also click on folders in the Index of C:\ tab to open them in File Explorer. Click this hyperlink to open the Local Explorer extension page from which you can add it to your browser.

Once added,  right-click the Local Explorer button on the toolbar and select Options to open the page shown in the shot directly below. The setup isn’t quite complete, and you’ll need to click Install now to install the Integration Module. That saves as a compressed Zip folder which you should decompress by clicking the Extract all button in File Explorer. Then open the Integration Module setup from the unzipped folder.

chrome index2

Next, click the Customize Google Chrome button at the top right, Settings and Extensions. Scroll down to the Local Explorer – File Manager on web browser extension. Click the Allow access to file URLs check box.

Now when you click to open a file in the Index of C:\ tab, the External Protocol Request window opens below. Press the Launch Application button to open the file in its default software package.

chrome index3

Clicking folders in the Index of C:\ tab will also open them in File Explorer so long as you’ve selected Use Local Explorer to open folders. So right-click the extension’s button and click Options to select that option. If it isn’t selected, click its check box and press the Save Settings button. Then click a folder in Chrome’s file browser and press the Launch Application option as before to open it in File Explorer.

So with Local Explorer you can now open any file or folder directly from Google Chrome. You’ll never need to open File Explorer as you can open all files with Chrome. The extension considerably enhances Chrome’s file browser.

Posted by Matthew on September 24, 2016

One thought on “How to Browse and Open Folders and Files with Google Chrome”

Roberto says:
The extension LocalExplorer is awesome, but what about security? I´m afraid that a malicious website could easily include this kind of links to launch executables in my computer. I came to this question when looking if the LocalExplorer extension would accept params (useful to launch a createfolder.bat script including the name of the folder to create).

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