When I tried to download 96 files out of my Google Drive, I got the message a system error occurred when exporting this document. This happens repeatedly in all browsers.

I found a Google support forum "discussing" it back in 2011, but all that really amounted to was people complaining about the problem and Google ignoring them.

I can download individual files, and I bet I can do small amounts like 2 or 3, but I'm not going to do that separately for 96 files—I'd rather stop using Google Drive if it doesn't work as advertised. This is a serious bug, a cloud service that doesn't allow you to download your files to a local environment.

Does anyone know of any solutions?

  • 2
    Not sure why you're getting an error message, but you can try to download the files via Google Takeout if you want. It's another way to download all of the data in your Google account. google.com/takeout/?pli=1#custom - Just select "Drive" and you can customize what you download from it. - Since I'm suggesting another Google product I should disclaim that I work for Google. Not sure if this will serve your purpose, so leaving as a comment. Commented Feb 18, 2013 at 18:56
  • Can you not use the desktop client? If you do then your files should already be on your hard drive.
    – ale
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 13:43
  • @OnenOnlyWalter didn't even know that existed. Leave it to a Google employee to know secret Google products. Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 15:43
  • Google Takeout is by no means a secret.
    – ale
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 12:59

3 Answers 3


I tried to download my own files in bulk, and was successful. What I can think the problem is:

  • The 96 files you tried to download amounted to a total file size of more than 2GB, which is the limit.
  • An error might have occurred on Google's part as they try to compress your files. This can be quite common on such a busy site.
  • Most likely it was temporarily, and you can now download files in bulk again.

What I can suggest is to split the whole batch into smaller groups (I recommend 10-15). This can reduce the amount of stress on Google servers and you can get all your files down like how you wanted it to be.

Like what OnenOnlyWalter pointed out, you can use Google Takeout if the 96 files are almost the whole collection that you have on Google Drive. It would be easier this way and you can delete what you don't need from your download.


Installing Google Drive to your PC works best. It allows you to move your files through a drive folder that is on your computer, and you don't have to download the files from the website in order for you to move them out of there.

  • This is how I would prefer to do it. Even better is it syncs silently in the background.
    – ale
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 13:01

Under Linux, you can use command line Google Drive clients to download your files:

Using gdrive

  1. Install gdrive.

  2. gdrive download [fileID of directory]

Using drive

  1. Install drive.

  2. drive init to give it access to your Google Drive.

  3. drive pull -depth -1 "" to pull all your files from Google Drive. Otherwise, give a path instead of "".

At the current time, drive is not totally reliable. But I used it successfully to download 36 GiB of data from my Google Drive. Just be sure to check on the results by listing the files on Google Drive and the download on your local computer and comparing it with comm.

To list all the files on your Google Drive, you would use:

drive list -recursive -no-prompt -sort name "directory name" > files.txt

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.