Users of Google Chrome web browser have likely come in contact with the .crdownload files that can be found in the default Downloads folder of their computer.
We have made some testing with Google Chrome and will share our findings with you in this article that takes a closer look on the files with the CRDOWNLOAD file extension, because users are often puzzled by theirs presence and do not understand their purpose.
What are these CRDOWNLOAD files?
When the user starts a download of any file from a website through Google Chrome, it starts to save the data in a temporary file with the same name and file extension as the original, but Chrome will also add its own CRDOWNLOAD file extension to the end of this file, so the result looks like something this:
The former file extension is actually now part of the name of the file and CRDOWNLOAD is the file extension of the file now. The file extension is not associated with any program, not even Google Chrome itself.
For some reason the original filename is sometimes replaced with unconfirmed XXXXX file name, where XXXXX are numbers so the result looks like something this:
However, when the download is successfully finished, the proper name of the file is restored.
The CRDOWNLOAD files are always located in the default Downloads folder of Google Chrome.
How are the CRDOWNLOAD files created?
When there is a download initiated by Google Chrome in progress, the data are continuously saved in a newly created .crdownload file. Nothing else is added in the file, nor is it otherwise encoded, compressed or altered.
Once the download is finished, the CRDOWNLOAD extension is removed and the file renamed back to its original.
That means a properly finished download does not leave any trace of the .crdownload file and the user will never see it.
What happens if Google Chrome is closed and the download is still in progress?
If the user pauses the download, the .crdownload file will be present in the Downloads folder until the download is resumed and finished successfully.
Shall the user attempt to close Google Chrome with currently paused or unfinished download in progress, the application will ask him, if he really wants to exit Google Chrome as can be seen on the popup window screenshot below.
If the user chooses the Close and cancel download option, the temporary .crdownload file and all currently downloaded data will be deleted.
With the Wait for download to finish option is the user able to resume and finish his download and like was mentioned before, after successfully finished download the CRDOWNLOAD file extension is removed and the file renamed back to the original.
In short, it means that if the download is either successfully finished, or canceled by user, there won't be any .crdownload file left in the default Downloads folder of Google Chrome.
What happens if the computer is disconnected from the internet during download ?
If your computer is disconnected from network during the download, the download is interrupted and the .crdownload file and all partially downloaded data deleted and you have to start the download anew.
So where does the CRDOWNLOAD file in my Downloads folder come from?
Well it's likely that if you have a .crdownload file in your Downloads folder and / or your Google Chrome browser is closed (ie. you do not have any paused or unfinished downloads opened), that Google Chrome must have crashed, or was unexpectedly closed because of an error in the past.
Because that's the only way, how a .crdownload file can be present in your Downloads folder without Google Chrome running.
Can i open CRDOWNLOAD files ?
Nope, sorry. Even if you associate the CRDOWNLOAD file extension directly with the Google Chrome it will not open the file, or rather will try to open the file as a website, which will only yield error / no response.
Can I continue downloading a partially downloaded CRDOWNLOAD files?
In most cases no. You can check the Downloads window in Google Chrome (CTRL+J) and compare the entries there with the .crdownload file located in your default Downloads folder.
It is very likely that you won't be able to resume the download, but perhaps you will be able to retry the download from the original source. But most likely, even that wont work (well didn't work for us), because vast majority of current downloads on internet web sites is done through redirect download links, not direct download links.
Even if you start your download again from the same source, Google Chrome will try to download all your data again from scratch.
Even if the original .crdownload file is left in the Downloads folder, Google Chrome will create a brand new one and add (1), (2), (3) to its file name, depending on number of files with the same name. Should that situation occur, your Downloads folder would contain files like this:
Is there a way how to recover CRDWONLOAD files?
Again, we are sorry. As the original file was not successfully downloaded it would be branded as "corrupted" for its original use.
Rarely the beginning of a song or video file can be played, but in most cases not. If you are sure your .crdownload files was originally meant to be audio or video file, you can try to remove the CRDOWNLOAD file extension and open the file in some media player. But as was said before, most likely the file will be branded as corrupt and applications unable to open it.
I have a CRDOWNLOAD file in my Downloads folder but I don't remember any downloads.
Well that's a curious case. Anyway, you can check the properties of your .crdownload file for the date and time when it was created and compare it to your browsing history of your Google Chrome (CTRH+H).
That's probably the only way how to track back the .crdownload file back to its source so to say. It won't help you resume the download, but you will be able to know, from where to download the file again.
Can i safely delete CRDOWNLOAD files ?
If your Google Chrome is closed, and you still see a .crdwonload file in your Downloads folder, then the answer is YES. You cannot continue the download, or recover data from the .crdownload file so its a trash file taking up space on your hard drive.
Share it with others !
Do you know something else about CRDOWNLOAD files? Have you found a way to recover data from the .crdownload files? Or did you successfully continued a download from a .crdownload files? Share it with others!