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Google Drive Access Denied - How to Fix It?

Rodrigo Ferreyra

It is not at all unusual coming across the mildly infuriating "Google Drive access denied" error while attempting to download or access a document. Hopefully, most of the time fixing it is an easy and straightforward process.

Let's look at a few solutions for this error.

Try a Different Browser

As a matter of fact, Google here is not the source of the issue. Actually, the blame for the "Google Drive access denied" error is mostly on the browser, which creates a permission conflict when trying to use the credentials of one account to open another's files.

Conventional browsers are not designed to work properly with multi-accounting and have these types of problems when dealing with the data of many accounts of the same app simultaneously open. Therefore, given that the error is due to a permission conflict, fixing it can be as easy as trying a different browser.

Google Drive Access Denied - what to do

If you're having trouble with Firefox or Chrome, try Stack. This cutting-edge browser is the answer if you want to use more than just one account for each app, including Discord, Twitter, and Gmail.

Stack treats web tabs as cards, which can be opened side by side. To illustrate, let's say you want to open multiple Google Drive files at the same time:

  • Open the Google Drive app.
  • Click on a document to open it. Stack will do so in a new card next to Google Drive's.
  • If you want to open another document, just go to your Google Drive card and click on it.
  • Now both files are open side by side.

Clear Cookies and Cache

As we have mentioned, the "Google Drive access denied" error stems from the browser storing credentials of different accounts logged in simultaneously.

Hence, cleaning our web browsing history will suffice. Deleting all our browsing data, nevertheless, has the downside of forcing us to login into all of our accounts once again.

Therefore, a more practical approach consists of deleting Google's cookies exclusively. For doing so, in Mozilla Firefox go to Preferences » Privacy and Security » Cookies and Site Data and click on the Manage Data... box. There you can search and delete Google and Google Drive's cookies and site data.

The process doesn't differ much in Google Chrome or any other Chromium flavor: Go to Settings » Privacy and Security » See all cookies and site data, find the site's data and delete it.

Other Common Recommendations for “Google Drive Access Denied”

The former solutions should work in most situations. Still, in case that the error persists or you'd like to try out a different approach, there are a few extra solutions:

  • Use Incognito mode. In this way, your browser will ignore whatever account you have logged into.
  • Disable All Google Extensions. Extensions with different credentials than the file you want to open can create a conflict between accounts.
  • Logout from your account and log in again.
  • Try with another device.

Ultimately, if you continue to get the "Google Drive access denied" error message then the only way is to wait and check after a few minutes or an hour.

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