Tech

12 Ways to Fix the “This Video Cannot Be Played” Error in Google Drive


Google Drive is a handy tool for storing important data, photos, and videos. However, occasionally, you might encounter issues while trying to play videos on Google Drive. Usually, you’d bump into an error message that reads, “This video cannot be played” or “Whoops! There was a problem playing this video.”


There could be many reasons behind this Google Drive error. So, let’s explore what causes this issue and discover the best solutions.


Why Are You Seeing “This Video Cannot Be Played” Error?

The issue at hand is usually caused by:

  • Wi-Fi router problems or internet connection issues
  • Unsupported video file format or incompatible video resolution
  • Corrupted video file
  • Browser cache and cookies
  • Bulky RAM (Random Access Memory)
  • Third-party plug-ins
  • The “hardware acceleration” feature
  • An outdated browser
  • Google’s terms of service and restrictions
  • Pirated content

Now, let’s find out how you can tackle all these problems.

1. Check Your Internet Connection

Check the Internet Connection

Firstly, check if you have a stable internet connection.

Google Drive needs stable and high-speed internet to play the videos stored in your cloud storage. So, you’re likely to encounter issues if you play videos with slow internet or a fluctuating network.

If you suspect that you have internet speed issues, test your Wi-Fi speed. But if your internet speed is fine, then consider resetting your router and refreshing your connection.

2. Ensure That the Video File Type Is Supported

Google Drive supports various video formats, but not all of them. Although the tool will allow you to upload videos of any format, it’ll only play compatible formats.

Video formats that you can play on Google Drive include 3GPP, AVI, FLV, MPEG4, MPEG-PS, MOV, MTS, WebM, and WMV. If Google Drive doesn’t support your video, simply convert it and upload it again.

Google Drive allows you to upload videos of any resolution, but the maximum playback resolution is 1920×1080 pixels. This means there’s a high chance that the tool won’t allow you to play a video with a resolution higher than 1920×1080 pixels.

3. Open the Video in a New Window

Instead of double-clicking on a video to play it, try opening it in a new window. This could help tackle the “Google Drive video cannot be played” issue and other similar errors.

Now, here’s how you can play your video in a new window:

  1. Open Google Drive, right-click on the problematic video, and select Preview.
  2. Click the menu icon (three vertically-aligned dots) in the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. Select the Open in new window option.

Opening a Video in a New Window

4. Ensure That Your Video Is Not Corrupted

You might be bumping into the “Video cannot be played in Google Drive” error because your video is corrupted. In this instance, the video players on your computer might also be unable to play the video when you download it.

If the issue at hand is caused by a corrupted video, then worry not. There are several video repair tools (like Stellar Video Repair) that can help you out. The best part is that most of these tools can fix videos of various formats like WMV, AVI, MKV, FLV, MPEG, MP4, and many more.

5. Clear Your Browser’s Cache and Cookies

Browser Cookies

Browser cache and cookies aim to make your browsing experience as seamless as possible.

Cookies are the files created by the sites you visit. They make your browsing experience simpler by saving browsing data. Meanwhile, cache remembers parts of pages (like images) so that you can open them faster during your next visit to the site.

While cache and cookies enhance your browsing experience, they can overwhelm your browsers if you don’t regularly clean them. So, clear the browser cache and cookies to resolve the Google Drive video error and other browser issues. From there, sign in to Google Drive again and try playing your videos.

6. Free Up RAM

When you play your videos on Google Drive, the tool creates temporary files and stores them in the RAM (Random Access Memory). Simply put, the RAM is a short-term storage device that keeps track of the data and programs that your device uses when it’s running.

Now, if your RAM ends up being bulky, there’s a high chance that you’ll run into issues while trying to play videos on Google Drive. So, an easy way out is to free up RAM and reduce RAM usage.

7. Try Using Incognito Mode

Browsing in Incognito Mode

It’s often quite helpful to add plug-ins or extensions to your web browser. However, some extensions introduce features that interfere with the default functionality of your browser. So, you could be facing the “Google Drive video cannot be played” error because of one of the extensions you’ve installed.

To check if an extension is causing this error, enable incognito mode on Google Chrome through these steps:

  1. Click the menu icon (three vertically-aligned dots) in the top-right corner of the Google Chrome window.
  2. Select the New Incognito window option.

This should disable all extensions and allow you to browse privately. From there, log in to Google Drive on the Incognito window and try playing your video.

If this resolves the issue, then one of the extensions is the culprit. To find the problematic plug-in, disable all extensions and then re-enable them—one at a time.

8. Disable Hardware Acceleration

Web browsers often use hardware acceleration to speed things up. During this process, the browser offloads certain tasks to the PC’s hardware in order to accelerate those tasks. In this case, this feature allows the browser to access and use your PC’s Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) to render video results.

Although hardware acceleration speeds things up, it may cause several issues that interfere with your browser’s functionality. So, disabling hardware acceleration could help resolve the issue at hand.

9. Update Your Browser

A person using a Windows device on a desk

Are you still struggling to resolve the “video cannot be played on Google Drive” issue?

Perhaps you’re using an outdated browser version that can’t play certain videos. In this instance, you’ll have to update your browser.

Usually, web browsers update automatically when you close and reopen them. However, if you haven’t closed your browser in a while, there could be a pending update.

So, here’s how you can update common web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Edge:

How to Update Chrome

  1. Click the menu icon (three vertically-aligned dots) in the top-right corner of the screen.
  2. Navigate to Help > About Google Chrome.
  3. Click the Relaunch option to apply any available updates.

Updating Chrome

How to Update Firefox

  1. Click the menu button (three vertically-aligned lines) in the top-right corner of the screen.
  2. Navigate to Help > About Firefox.
  3. Firefox will check for updates and download them automatically. Click the Restart to Update Firefox button to complete the process.

Updating FirefoxHow to Update Edge

  1. Click the menu icon (three horizontal dots) in the top-right corner of the screen.
  2. Navigate to Help and feedback > About Microsoft Edge.
  3. Click the Restart button when Edge finishes checking for updates.

Updating Edge

10. Use a VPN

Google often restricts access to some of its services in regions like Crimea, Syria, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and North Korea. So, this means you might often experience Google Drive problems and other issues based on where you are in the world.

To resolve the issue at hand, use a VPN (Virtual Private Network)—a service that establishes a secure and private connection to the internet. A reliable VPN will help you unlock website restrictions in your region, and this could allow you to play your Google Drive videos.

11. Avoid Pirated Videos

Pirated Content

By all means, avoid using Google Drive to store or share pirated content. If you’ve tried playing a pirated video, Google may have banned or blocked it. That’s because Google finds and blocks pirated content using file hashing.

Besides, there are several legit ways to access commonly pirated apps for free or at discounted rates.

12. Download the Video to Your Device

By now, you shouldn’t be seeing “This video cannot be played on Google Drive” error anymore. But if the issue persists, there’s one more solution that might just help you out.

If you have enough disk space, download a copy of the video to your computer and watch it using your favorite video player. To download the video, open Google Drive, right-click on the video, and select the Download option.

Play Videos on Google Drive, Anytime

There’s no denying that Google Drive is one of the most convenient cloud storage platforms. However, it’s frustrating when this tool shows you error messages such as “the video cannot be played on Google Drive.”

Fortunately, you can resolve such issues by applying the solutions we’ve covered. But if the issue persists, perhaps an easy way out would be to play your Google Drive videos on a different web browser.

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