How to Connect to a Server

Access a server on your Windows PC or Mac

What to Know

  • Windows 10: Open File Explorer. Select This PC > Map network drive. Select the Drive menu and assign a letter to the server.
  • Fill in the Folder field. Check the box next to Reconnect at sign-in. Select Finish to add a shortcut in the Computer window.
  • Mac: Select Finder in the Dock. Choose Network. Double-click the server and choose Connect As. Select Guest or Registered User.

This article explains how to connect to a server using a Windows 10 PC or a Mac. It also includes information on automatically reconnecting to a server using a PC or Mac.

How to Connect a PC to a Server

Whether you own a Mac or a PC, chances are good you'll need to know how to connect to a server to access shared files from your employer or other files you might need.

Windows 10 makes connecting to a server straightforward as long as you have the correct technical info and login credentials. To connect your PC to a server, follow these steps.

  1. Open File Explorer and select This PC.

    Selecting This PC.
  2. Select Map network drive in the toolbar.

    Selecting Map Network Drive
  3. Select the Drive drop-down menu and choose a letter to assign to the server.

    Selecting a drive letter.
  4. Fill in the Folder field with the IP address or hostname of the server you want to access.

    IP Folder
  5. Check the box next to Reconnect at sign-in to automatically connect to the server each time you start up your computer.

    Reconnect At Sign In
  6. Select Finish to add a shortcut to the server in the Computer window. You may also have to log in with your username and password to access shared files, depending on how the server is configured.

    Finish Button
  7. Once you've successfully logged in to the server with your PC, you can log in to the server without having to set up the connection again.

How to Connect to a Server on Mac

There are several ways you can use your Mac to connect to a server with little to no fuss. Additionally, you'll be able to connect to Apple or Windows servers that use a variety of different protocols. Some of the most natural methods involve using Finder to access shared files quickly and easily.

  1. From your home screen, click the Finder icon in the Dock to open a Finder window.

    Selecting Finder.
  2. From the sidebar, click Network in the Locations section. Alternatively, Go > Network.

    Viewing Network.
  3. You may not be able to see any items in the Locations section. To reveal them, hover over Locations, then click Show.

    Selecting Show to see network devices.
  4. Double-click the server you want to connect to from the Finder window, then click Connect As.

    Selecting the connect as button.
  5. Choose how you want to connect to the server:

    • Guest: If the shared server permits guest access, you can join as a guest user.
    • Registered User: Connect to the other Mac using a valid login name and password. If you have difficulty logging in, contact the server administrator to make sure the credentials you are using are on the list of allowed users.
    Connection login screen.

Automatically Reconnect to a Server on a PC

Rather than having to manually reconnect to the server, you can set up an automatic login every time you start up your computer. To set this up, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Open File Explorer and select This PC.

    Selecting This PC.
  2. Select the Computer tab, then select Map Network Drive.

    Selecting Map Network Drive
  3. Enter the IP address of the server or share name to give the path of the shared drive, then check the box next to Reconnect at sign-in.

    Reconnect at Sign-In
  4. Wait for the drive to be mapped.

  5. Double-click the drive to check the connecting and settings.

Automatically Reconnect to Server on a Mac

Once your computer has connected to the network drive, you can set up an automatic login that will happen every time it starts up. To set this up, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Open System Preferences either from the Dock or under the Apple menu.

  2. Select Users & Groups.

    Users and groups in System preferences.
  3. Click your user name from the list, then click the Login Items tab.

    Selecting Login Items.
  4. Drag & drop the mounted network drive into your login items list.

  5. Check the Hide box to prevent the drives window from opening each time your computer logs in or boots.

    The Hide checkbox.
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