What Is A CRDOWNLOAD File And How To Open It

What Is A CRDOWNLOAD File And How To Open ItWhat Is A CRDOWNLOAD File And How To Open It

Key Points

  • A CRDOWNLOAD file is a partial download file created by Google Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers.
  • To open a CRDOWNLOAD file, first ensure the download is complete, then rename the file extension to its intended format.
  • If you frequently download files and the downloads often break, it’s essential to clean up the incomplete .crdownload files from your downloads folder as they take up valuable space on your system.

You are probably reading this article because you have come across a file with the extension “.crdownload” appended to its end, most likely in the “Downloads” folder, and have no idea what it is or how to open it.

While crdownload files are harmless as they can’t be run in any program, they can consume a lot of space in your system. Sometimes the files you download are complete but the browser doesn’t convert them to their proper format.

In this article, we’ll cover how to open a crdownload file, or complete it if partially downloaded and also cleanup the system to save space.

What is a CRDOWNLOAD File

A .CRDOWNLOAD file is a temporary download file in plain text or binary format. Chrome creates this temporary file with crdownload extension when a download is in progress. Files with the extension “.cdownload” are also referred to as Chrome Partial Download files.

CRDOWNLOAD files are removed automatically once the download is completed successfully. This shows that the files are temporary and are being used by the web browser.

Additionally, the CRDOWNLOAD file starts small. Meaning, that if you are downloading a 10GB file, the CRDOWNLOAD file will start in MBs. However, as the download progresses, this will gradually grow all the way up to 10 GB.

A CRDOWNLOAD file can have either of the following naming formats:

  • Unconfirmed XXXXX.crdownload
  • FileName.mp3.crdownload

Both of these file types are CRDOWNLOAD files created temporarily.

crdownload file example
.crdownload file example

At this point, we would also like to bring to your attention some other file types created by other web browsers, but are essentially the same temporary files:

  • PART file – From Mozilla Firefox
  • PARTIAL file – From Internet Explorer
  • R00, R01…- RAR partitions

The aforementioned file types are also temporary files created by different web browsers and are automatically removed once a download is complete. For this article, we will be focusing on the CRDOWNLOAD files and how to open them.

Why does Chrome use crdownload for downloading process?

The main point of using crdownload process is to have resumable downloads. The downloaded data is saved in a partial file in real-time. This means that if the download breaks in the middle, it can be resumed without downloading the complete file again.

Chrome goes through several stages when downloading a file.

  • A temporary file is created when the download is requested by the user.
  • Chrome streams data from the download server and saves to the temporary file sequentially. The temporary file grows in size as more data is written in the file.
  • In case of download interference, Chrome resumes from the same location where is stopped downloading the file.
  • Once the download is complete, the downloaded file will be verified.
  • Once verified, the .crdownload extension will be replaced with the original file extension.

If you see a .CRDOWNLOAD file on your computer, it can mean one of the following things:

  • The file is being downloaded by either Edge or Chrome.
  • The download has been interrupted.

In either of these situations, you can open a CRDOWNLOAD file and glance at what’s inside of it. Of course, this is entirely dependent on what kind of download the CRDOWNLOAD file is associated with.

How to Open a CRDOWNLOAD File

Typically, you can’t immediately open or use a .crdownload file since it’s an incomplete version of the intended file. It’s best to allow Chrome to manage these files automatically. However, if a download is interrupted, you can manually resume it using Chrome’s built-in download manager.

A CRDOWNLOAD file can be opened using the very same app or program for which it was designed. For example, if you are downloading a large AVI file, then you can open its CRDOWNLOAD file using any program that supports the AVI format, like VLC Media Player.

Of course, this method will first require you to rename the CRDOWNLOAD file to convert its extension into the appropriate file type.

That said, whether a CRDOWNLOAD file can be opened inside a supported app/program is also dependent on the type of download. Only CRDOWNLOAD files associated with downloads that have a “start to end” format can be opened using this method.

For example, an audio file has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Thus, even the partially downloaded CRDOWNLOAD audio files can be opened in a supported program. Whereas an image file, like a .JPG, has no beginning and no end. Therefore, an associated CRDOWNLOAD image file cannot be opened in any supported app.

Furthermore, you cannot convert a CRDOWNLOAD file, since the hasn’t yet achieved its full form, and is still incomplete. Therefore, a CRDOWNLOAD file cannot be converted into a PDF, an MP3, or any other file format for that matter.

With that said, there are only two methods to open a CRDOWNLOAD file:

  • Resume and complete the download, or
  • Remove “.crdownload” from the file name.

Complete the Download

One method to open a .CRDOWNLOAD file is to let the download finish. Once it is downloaded completely, the CRDOWNLOAD file will automatically convert into the actual file format, like MP3 or AVI (whichever one you downloaded).

The download process may have been paused or interrupted. In that case, you either need to resume or start the download process.

Here are the steps to resume a download in Chrome:

  1. In Google Chrome, press CTRL + J hotkeys to open the downloads page.

  2. Under the paused download, click Resume.

    Resume download
    Resume download
  3. Now, wait for the download to complete.

  4. Once downloaded, use File Explorer to navigate to the .CRDOWNLOAD file, where you will find that the file no longer exists and has been converted into the actual file format.

    Download is complete
    Download is complete

In the case you find that there is no “Resume” option, then you must head back to the downloads website to commence a new download. This time, make sure that the download is not interrupted.

Rename the CRDOWNLOAD File

Another method is to open a partially downloaded .CRDOWNLOAD file to rename it and remove the “.crdownload” portion, while leaving the actual file extension in place. Here is how to do it:

  1. Use File Explorer to navigate to the CRDOWNLOAD file.

  2. Right-click the CRDOWNLOAD file and then click Rename.

    Rename the CRDOWNLOAD file
    Rename the CRDOWNLOAD file

    Alternatively, you can also click on the file and press the F2 function key.

  3. Remove the “.crdownload” part from the name and press Enter.

    Remove ".crdownload"
    Remove “.crdownload”
  4. When asked for confirmation, click Yes.

    Confirm action
    Confirm action

    The file will now be renamed and will go into its actual file type.

  5. Now use any supported program to run the file.

    For example, if you downloaded an MP4 or AVI file, you can use VLC Media Player to try and run the CRDOWNLOAD file (which is now without .CRDOWNLOAD).

Note: If you are prompted with “the file is in use” when attempting to remove “.crdownload” from the file name, it means that the file is still being downloaded or is paused. In this case, you ought to refer to the solution given in the section above.

File is in use prompt
The file is in use prompt

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it safe to delete a .CRDOWNLOAD file?

Yes, CRDOWNLOAD files are temporary files that should be removed automatically. However, if it remains, you can simply delete them. However, only delete them if you do not plan to resume the download.

Is .CRDOWNLOAD file a virus?

Technically, no. A .CRDOWNLOAD file is just a text or binary file needed by a Chromium-based web browser to download a file, and is completely safe. However, if your original download was or contains a virus, then the associated CRDOWNLOAD file may also be or contain a virus.

How to fix a .CRDOWNLOAD file?

A CRDOWNLOAD file can be fixed by resuming a paused or interrupted download from your Edge or Chrome browser. Simply hit the “Resume” button inside the browser’s downloads page and wait for the download to complete. This will automatically remove the CRDOWNLOAD file and the original format file will be downloaded.

Can I convert a crdownload file to any other format?

It’s important to understand that .crdownload files are only temporary placeholders used by Chrome to manage ongoing downloads. As incomplete files, they cannot be converted directly to other formats like AVI, MP4, or PDF. Attempting to open or convert these files before the download finishes will result in errors or unusable files.

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Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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