There are many ways to utilize network drives on your computer. Network drives are drives or folders on remote computers accessible via the network. You can navigate with Windows Explorer, and in many cases with a web browser as well. Without a permanent mapping, you can find the network drive via the network or network neighborhood areas. If you want to use the drive more than once, however, mapping a network drive saves you the time and effort of having to retype the address every time you go back to the drive. Mapping a network drive makes it appear as another drive on your computer, even assigning it a drive letter. With Windows Vista, Microsoft has made drive mapping easier than ever.
Open your start menu, and click on "Computer" in Vista, or choose "My Computer" if you have XP. This opens a window listing the physical drives, network drives and portable drives attached to your computer.
Click on the button on the menu bar near the upper right portion of the window that says "Map Network Drive" in Vista or "Tools," then "Map Network Drive" in XP. This opens a small window where you will provide details of the drive to be mapped.
Select a drive letter from the pull-down menu. This will be the letter of your mapped drive when you are done. Only letters not previously allocated are available for selection.
Type the address of the network drive you wish to map in the space provided.
Select whether you wish the drive to be mapped automatically each time you log onto Windows, and check or uncheck the box accordingly.
Click "Finish" at the bottom of the window. The drive will now appear in your Computer window and be available for use with the drive letter you chose.