How to Map a Network Drive

Mapping a network drive assigns a drive letter to a particular shared folder or disk on your local network. This makes its location easier to remember and its contents more convenient to access. Other than gaining a drive letter, however, mapping a network drive does not fundamentally change how the network works: it merely provides a shortcut to a frequently used location. Once mapped, you can use the drive letter in any program on the system, just as you would use the letter for a local drive.

Businessman Working At Office
Computers must connect to the same network to share files between them.
credit: AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images

Step

Press "Windows-E" to open the Computer window, which displays both local drives and network drives you've previously mapped.

Step

Click the "Computer" menu tab and then press "Map Network Drive."

Step

Pick a drive letter from the "Drive" drop-down menu. By default, your first network drive will use "Z:," the second "Y:" and so on, but you can pick any letter not already in use.

Step

Type the network location you want mapped in the "Folder" text box. If you don't know the address, click "Browse," select the location and click "OK."

Step

Check "Reconnect at Sign-In" if you want the drive to remain mapped after the next time you restart your computer. Without this option selected, the mapping last only until you next sign out of Windows or turn off your PC.

Step

Check "Connect Using Different Credentials" if the network location requires a different login than the account you're using on your own computer.

Step

Click "Finish." If you chose to use different credentials, a pop-up prompts you to log in.