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How to map a network drive in Windows 10

Easy access to network storage

How to map a network drive in Windows 10

In this guide we'll show you how to map a network drive in Windows 10. Network drives – also known as Network Attached Storage (NAS) – are an invaluable tool for PC users, both for professional and leisure purposes. 

A hard drive connected to your Wi-Fi router allows its contents to be available for all your devices that are connected to the same network – or even remotely over the internet.

If your business requires being able to share files between colleagues, or you simply want to be able to stream media from one room to the next at home, setting up a network drive is the way to go.

While the thought of connecting storage to your internet connection may sound daunting, there’s no need to panic. Setting up a network drive is simple, and we’ve got the step by step guide to prove it.

We'll show you how to map a network drive in Windows 10. Mapping a network drive is the process off connecting a network drive to Windows 10, allowing it to view the drive as if it was physically connected to your PC.

So, read on to find out how you can easily connect to a drive and distribute files using it in our guide on how to map a network drive in Windows 10.

How to map a network drive in Windows 10: connect your drive

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1.  Connect your network drive to your router

Most drives should offer some instructions, but generally the process is the same. Plug the drive into the wall via the included power adapter, and then connect it via network cable (hopefully included) to one of the ports on the back of your router.

You can then continue the process for mapping the network drive in Windows 10.

How to map a network drive in Windows 10: Windows Explorer

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2. Open This PC in Windows Explorer

Open up file explorer (press the Windows Key and “E”) and then look to the sidebar on the left of the window. Click 'This PC', and then navigate to the 'Computer' tab.

You can also search for 'This PC' with Cortana. In the main window, make a note of the letters assigned to each drive - this will be helpful to avoid creating a duplicate in the next step.

How to map a network drive in Windows 10: Map Network Drive button

(Image credit: Future)

3. Select 'Map Network Drive'

This will allow you to select a letter to assign to the drive. Avoid using C (this is usually the computer’s local storage), while D to F are usually assigned to various removable media such as discs or USB drives. 

Ensuring the assigned letter isn’t one of those ensures fewer complications down the line.

How to map a network drive in Windows 10: browsing for your network drive

(Image credit: Future)

4. Search for your network drive

Click the 'Browse' button, and you’ll be able to navigate to the drive itself within the network menu that pops up. 

If this is your first network drive, you’ll hopefully just have the one listed, but you may need to browse through several by name if you have a few.

How to map a network drive in Windows 10: browsing the folders

(Image credit: Future)

5. Locate or create a shared folder

Within the drive, you’ll find options for shared folders if there are any, or you can create your own. This will be where you’ll eventually drop your files into for access anywhere else.

To create a folder, right click and click 'New Folder'. You can name it whatever you choose, but remember the name for when you need to locate it on another PC.

How to map a network drive in Windows 10: add a password for security

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6. Authenticate with a username and password

This password will be required when logging onto the network drive, so be sure to make a note of it for any colleagues or family that will require access to it. 

Select 'Reconnect at sign-in' so that the drive can connect when you power on your PC.

You can skip this step, but it means that your folder is accessible to anyone able to log onto your Wi-Fi network, so we’d suggest putting a password in place.

If you've already set a password and user name for your NAS device, then you may need to enter those in here to access the drive.

How to map a network drive in Windows 10: the folders will appear in Windows

(Image credit: Future)

7. Access the drive

Click 'Finish' and you’ll see a new window for the drive, and it’ll be denoted by the letter you assigned back in step 3. 

You will also see its contains the shared folders that we identified in Step 4. You can now view and open the files on the network drive as if they were on a hard drive physically connected to your PC.

How to map a network drive in Windows 10

(Image credit: Future)

8. Move files to the network drive

The drive will now be listed on the sidebar to the left of any file explorer windows, and you can open it in a new window to be able to drag documents, photos, or anything else over to it. 

This is done as it would be with any other folder, so you can copy, cut and paste as per usual.

You now know how to map a network drive in Windows 10. Follow the same steps for any other Windows 10 PC on your network which you want to access the drive.