Windows allows you to map a drive on your computer and make it available on the network. A mapped drive available on the network can be accessed remotely from other users on the same network. This setup is very popular in IT support organizations where all uses can access the forms and downloads from common network drive from a server. This article explains how to map a drive in Windows 11 using different methods. If you are using Windows 10, check out our previous article.
Network Discovery in Windows 11
When a mapped drive is available on network, it will appear as a virtual drive on your system and you can view it like any other physical drive. However, you may need a proper authorization and credentials for accessing shared files / folders. To map a network drive in Windows 11, first you need to enable the “Network discovery” feature. This allows other devices on the network to find your mapped drive.
- Press “Windows + I” keys and open “Settings” app.
- Go to “Network & Internet” section and select “Advanced network settings” option.
- Under “More settings” section, click on “Advanced sharing settings” option.
- You will see three options – “Private networks”, “Public networks” and “All networks”. Generally, “Public network” is your current profile and expand it. Turn on “Network discovery” option to enable it.
Now, follow one of the below methods to map a drive in Windows 11.
1. Use File Explorer
The most common way to map a network drive in Windows 11 is using File Explorer.
- Right-click on the Start button and select the “File Explorer” option from the menu items. Alternatively, press “Windows + E” keys to open File Explorer.
- Select “This PC” from the left side menu. If you do not find “This PC”, check how to enable it.
- Click the three-dots icon in top toolbar menu and select “Map network drive” option.
- Choose the drive letter of your choice from the drop-down menu against the “Drive” option. By default, system will select Z for drive letter to avoid conflicting with your current drives. You can change the drive letter if you want but make sure it is not used by other internal/external drives.
- In the “Folder” field, type the network path of the folder you want to connect or click on “Browse” button to search and select the folder path.
- If you want to reconnect to your shared folder every time you sign in, then make sure to check the “Reconnect at sign-in” option. And if you want to use a different username and password to access this network drive other than the one linked to your Windows account, you should check the “Connect using different credentials” and then click on the “Finish” button.
- As soon as you click the “Finish” button, system will ask for the new credentials you want to use. Type “Username” and “Password” in the corresponding fields. Make sure to check the “Remember my credentials” option to avoid adding the credentials every time you access the drive and click on “OK”.
- Your mapped network drive (Z drive in our case) will now appear in “This PC” under “Network locations”.
1.1. Disconnect Mapped Network Drive
You can easily disconnect the mapped network drive using two different approaches. One way is to right-click on the newly created mapped drive and select the “Disconnect” option. This is an easy option when you want to disconnect a single mapped drive.
When you want to disconnect multiple drives at once, go to “This PC” section. Click the three-dots icon on top menu and select “Disconnect network drive” option from the list.
This will open “Disconnect Network Drives” dialog. Select the drives that you want to delete and click “OK” button.
2. Using Command Prompt
You can also map a network drive from command line either using Command Prompt or with Windows PowerShell. First, let us explain with Command Prompt.
- Type “cmd” in Windows Search box to find Command Prompt in the results. Right-click on Command Prompt and select “Run as administrator” option.
- Type the following command in the prompt:
net use Y: \\ Device-name-or-IP\Shared-folder
- Make sure to replace “Y:” with your drive’s letter, “Device name or IP” with the name of your computer or IP address and “Shared folder” is the folder path that you want to share. Once the command is ready, press enter key.
- You should see a message saying, “The command completed successfully”.
2.1. Add Password and Username
You can also add credentials to the above command if you want to add your username and password. The above command will modify to:
net use Y: \\ Device-name-or-IP\Shared-folder password/user :admin /persistent :yes
Now, you have to replace the “password/user” with your password and username. Here the “persistent” option means that the folder will remain mapped until it is disconnected or deleted. Your new mapped drive will appear in the File Explorer (Downloads folder in our example).
2.2. Disconnect Mapped Drive from Command Prompt
If you want to disconnect the mapped drive, use the following command:
net use DRIVE_LETTER: /DELETE
Replace the drive letter with the drive you want to disconnect and press enter (Y in the below picture).
3. Using Windows PowerShell
As mentioned, Windows PowerShell is another command-line utility that you can use to map a network drive in Windows 11.
- Type “powershell” in Windows Search to find the app. Right-click on it and select “Run as administrator” option.
- Type the following command in the prompt:
New-PSDrive -Name "drive-letter" -PSProvider "FileSystem" -Root \\device\shared-directory
- Here replace the “Drive-letter” with your mapping drive’s letter, “device” with your computer name and “Shared directory” with the shared folder path.
- Make sure the command is correct and press enter key.
3.1. Remove Mapped Drive
If you wish to remove the mapped drive, type this command:
Remove-PSDrive -Name X
Replace the letter “X” with the letter of your mapped drive (for example, L in the below picture).
You can check the File Explorer to confirm the mapped network drive is removed from the “Network locations” list. Alternatively, you can also directly check the drives from Windows PowerShell using the following command.
Get-PSDrive -PSProvider "FileSystem"
And you will not find the mapped network drive here.
These are the three easy ways to map a drive in Windows 11. Among them, the easiest way to map a network drive is using File Explorer. It is straightforward and you need not to struggle with commands in Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell.