Mapping Network Drives A Comprehensive Guide

how to map network drive

In today’s interconnected digital landscape, seamless access to shared resources is paramount for efficient collaboration and workflow. One of the fundamental tools for achieving this is the network drive. Network drives provide users with the ability to access files and folders stored on remote servers as if they were located on their local machines. In this article, we’ll delve into the process of mapping a network drive, step by step, to help you harness the power of shared resources with ease.

Understanding Network Drives

A network drive, often referred to as a mapped drive, is a shortcut to a shared folder on a network server. This convenient connection allows you to access files, documents, and other resources located on a remote server as though they were saved on your local computer. This is especially beneficial for businesses, educational institutions, and collaborative projects where data needs to be accessible to multiple users.

Step-by-Step Guide to Map a Network Drive

Follow these straightforward steps to map a network drive on your Windows operating system

Prepare the Essentials

Before you begin, ensure you have the necessary information at hand: the network drive’s location (UNC path), your network credentials (username and password), and appropriate permissions to access the shared folder.

Open File Explorer

Launch the File Explorer by pressing `Win + E` on your keyboard or by clicking the File Explorer icon in the taskbar.

Access This PC

In the File Explorer, locate and select “This PC” from the left-hand navigation pane.

Click “Computer” Tab

Navigate to the top menu and click on the “Computer” tab. From the drop-down menu, choose “Map network drive.”

Configure Network Drive

A new window will appear, prompting you to configure the network drive. Here’s where you’ll specify the drive letter and the folder location.

Enter Folder Location

In the “Drive” drop-down menu, choose an available drive letter for the network drive. In the “Folder” field, enter the UNC path of the shared folder (e.g., `\\server\shared folder`).

Reconnect at Sign-in

If you wish to automatically reconnect to the network drive every time you sign in, ensure the “Reconnect at sign-in” option is checked.

Choose Authentication Method

Click on the “Different credentials” button if you’re using different credentials to access the network drive. If not, your current login credentials will be used.

Enter Credentials

A new window will appear, asking you to enter your credentials. Input your username and password for the network. If you wish to save the credentials, check the “Remember my credentials” box.

Complete the Mapping

Click “OK” to close the credential window and then click “Finish” on the “Map Network Drive” window to complete the process.

Access Your Network Drive

Return to the File Explorer, and you’ll find the newly mapped network drive listed under “This PC.” You can now access, open, and save files on the network drive just like any other local folder.

Troubleshooting and Additional Tips

  • Permissions Ensure you have the necessary permissions to access the shared folder on the network.
  • UNC Path Double-check the UNC path format (`\\server\shared folder`) to avoid errors.
  • Firewall Sometimes, firewall settings can block network drive connections. Adjust your firewall settings accordingly.
  • Disconnecting To disconnect a network drive, right-click on it in File Explorer and select “Disconnect.”


How to list network drives in cmd?

To find the command prompt – open the start menu and start typing command prompt. Right click the mouse and select Run as administrator. Type NET USE and press enter. A list of current mapped drives will be displayed.

How to access network shared folders from cmd?

To access a shared folder on your computer, you can use the simple cd command followed by that shared folder’s path, which you can find in the list under Resource. For other useful commands, check this article: CMD 11 basic commands you should know (cd, dir, mkdir, etc.).


Mapping a network drive is a valuable skill that enhances collaboration and resource sharing among users in a networked environment. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can easily set up a network drive on your Windows system. Remember, network drives streamline access to shared resources, leading to increased productivity and smoother workflows across organizations.

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