If you use Google Chrome, there’s a good chance you’ve seen files with the “.crdownload” extension in your Downloads directory. Google Chrome creates one each time you begin downloading a file.

These .crdownload files are automatically renamed when a download finishes successfully, but may stick around if there’s a download error.

Update: Microsoft’s new Edge browser is based on Chromium, so Edge will now create .crdownload files for the same reason Google Chrome does. Other Chromium-based browsers will create .crdownload files, too.

When (and Why) Chrome Creates These Files

Google Chrome creates .crdownload files for your downloads. For example, let’s say you start downloading a music file named Song.mp3 in Google Chrome. “Song.mp3” will appear in your list of downloads in Chrome, and a file named “Song.mp3.crdownload” will appear in your Downloads folder. This file will grow in size as Chrome continues to download the file. When Chrome finishes downloading the entire file, Chrome will rename it to Song.mp3, removing the .crdownload file extension.

The .crdownload file extension indicates a file hasn’t finished downloading yet. Other web browsers may store in-progress downloads in a different folder and move them to your downloads folder when they’re finished, but Chrome just stores the incomplete file in your Downloads folder.

If you see a .crdownload file, check your list of Downloads in Chrome. You can look at the Downloads tray at the bottom of your Chrome window or click the menu and select Downloads. If the file is still downloading, don’t delete the .crdownload file — just let Chrome finish downloading it.

Of course, if you don’t actually want to download the file anymore, you can cancel the download in Chrome. Chrome will automatically delete the associated .crdownload file when you cancel a download.

Chrome Can Resume Downloads With These Files

You may have a .crdownload file lying around even though Chrome isn’t downloading something at the moment. Open the Downloads page in Chrome and you might see a download that’s incomplete. This indicates that Chrome was downloading a file, but there was a problem — your Internet connection could have cut out, or the server could have dropped the connection. You can also “pause” a download and resume it later, in which case Chrome will keep the .crdownload file lying around.

You can try clicking the Resume button. Chrome will try to pick up where it left off and add the rest of the file to the .crdownload file. But resuming may not always work properly. You may want to just start downloading the file from the beginning again.

When You Can Delete the File

You’re free to delete the file any time you like. If no downloads are in progress and you don’t need to resume a download using the file, go ahead and delete it.

You’ll want to delete the .crdownload file when you no longer need it. For example, if you check your Downloads folder and see files named Song (1).mp3 and Song.mp3.crdownload, you can delete the one ending in .crdownload. That’s just an incomplete download file you don’t need.

If you see an old .crdownload file for a file you tried downloading long ago, you can definitely delete it. This may happen if you don’t clean out your Downloads folder regularly and overlook it.

If you try downloading a file and come back later to see a .crdownload file sitting in your Downloads folder, the file failed to download properly (or is still downloading). You can then head back into Chrome’s download manager to retry the download. The .crdownload file provides a reminder that you were going to download a specific file, but that it didn’t arrive successfully.

So that’s what a .crdownload file is — a partially complete Chrome download. It’s an in-progress download, a failed download, or a paused download.

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
Read Full Bio »