What Are CRDOWNLOAD Files? And How Do I Use Them?

12 October 2023 by Anith eDiscovery CRDOWNLOAD file-types

Takeaway: CRDOWNLOAD files are placeholders for active Google Chrome downloads, so let Chrome handle them while it finishes downloading your files. Alternatively, you can manually restart a failed download by finding it in your downloads folder and clicking ‘resume.’

We usually download things via our web browsers. And this is where CRDOWLOAD files pop up.

If you’re a regular downloader of documents, videos, audio, clips, etc., it’s worth understanding how web browsers handle these downloads. And in Google Chrome, a significant part of this download process involves files with the .crdownload extension. In this guide, you’ll learn what CRDOWNLOAD files are, why they exist, and how to manage them.

CRDOWNLOAD files are placeholders for Chrome downloads.

CRDOWNLOAD files are temporary placeholders created by Google Chrome when you initiate a download. (The term “CRDOWNLOAD” stands for “Chrome Download.”) These temporary files act as a holding space where data for your requested file accumulates as it streams from the server. Once the download is complete, Chrome renames the CRDOWNLOAD file to its intended file name and extension, like .mp3 for an audio file or .pdf for a document.

Remember, this is part of a larger Chrome download process.

CRDOWNLOADs make more sense when you think of them in the context of Chrome’s elaborate download process. Downloads happen super fast, but Chrome has to cycle through eight steps for each download.

Step 1: User Request.

The download process starts when you click on a download link or initiate a download action, such as pressing a download button.

Step 2: Download Initialization.

Google Chrome sends a request to the server hosting the file. The server then responds with essential file data and metadata, like file size and type.

Step 3: Temporary File Creation.

Now Chrome creates a .crdownload file in your designated download folder. This file serves dual functions: as a placeholder and as a container for the incoming data from the server.

Step 4: Data Streaming and Writing.

As the server feeds data to Chrome, Chrome sequentially writes these data chunks to the .crdownload file, ensuring that the pieces are in the right order.

Step 5: Progress Tracking.

Throughout this process, Chrome’s download manager provides a real-time update on the download status, often shown as a percentage or a comparison of downloaded data to the total file size.

Step 6: Error Handling.

If something goes wrong (e.g., your WiFi disconnects), Chrome will try to resume the download. The existing .crdownload file is vital here, as it holds the already downloaded data, allowing for a seamless resume.

Step 7: File Verification.

After the download is complete, Chrome may perform an integrity check to ensure the downloaded file isn’t corrupted.

Step 8: Finalization.

Once the file is verified, Chrome renames the .crdownload file to its real name and extension, making it ready for use.

CRDOWNLOADs are valuable for three key reasons.

Here’s why Chrome loves .crdownload files.

  1. Efficiency: CRDOWNLOADs separate ongoing downloads from completed ones, minimizing the risk of accidental clicks on incomplete files.
  2. Resumability: You can pick up where you left off if a download is interrupted.
  3. Resource Management: They help Chrome allocate system resources more effectively, which is particularly helpful when dealing with large files or slow connections.

And you don’t really need to ‘do’ anything with CRDOWNLOADs.

Generally, you can’t directly use a .crdownload file, as it’s an incomplete version of the original file. So, it’s best to let Chrome handle them for you. However, if a download stalls, you can manually resume it using Chrome’s built-in download manager. (First, press Ctrl + J to open the download manager, then find the failed download, and finally, click the ‘Resume’ button.)

You’ll want to take these precautions when managing CRDOWNLOAD files, though.

Here are some commonsense precautions you’ll want to follow:

  1. Use Security Software: Download your .crdownload files from trusted sources and use reliable antivirus and anti-malware software to scan files being downloaded.
  2. Manual Verification: If you’re considering third-party software to resume or recover a stalled download, ensure the software is reputable.
  3. Be Cautious with Sensitive Data: If you cancel a download containing personal or sensitive information, remember to delete the corresponding .crdownload file.
  4. Monitor Disk Usage: Your downloads will fail if there isn’t enough storage space, so monitor how much space is actually available. You’ll also want to free up disk space by periodically removing any .crdownload files that are no longer needed.

Oh, and if you want to review downloaded documents efficiently, consider using trusted third-party eDiscovery software.

If you’re downloading a bunch of files (documents, emails, etc.) and want to search them for keywords, dates, names, and more, consider using an eDiscovery platform like GoldFynch. It’s a subscription service with essential document review tools at an affordable price. Here are some of its highlights:

  • It costs just $27 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. With GoldFynch, you know exactly what you’re paying for: its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
  • It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing files is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up-front how much you’ll be paying. You can upload and cull as much data as you want as long as you stay below your storage limit. And even if you do cross the limit, you can upgrade your plan with just a few clicks. Also, billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan. With legacy software, pricing is much less predictable.
  • It takes just minutes to get going. GoldFynch runs in the Cloud, so you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free trial case (0.5 GB of data and a processing cap of 1 GB) without adding a credit card.
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