Understanding How to Map a Network Drive in Windows XP

Create a mapped network drive to easily access shared folders

Windows XP reached its end-of-life support period in April 2014. We recommend upgrading to Windows 10, because XP no longer receives critical security and feature updates. We retain this XP-related content to assist readers precluded from upgrading an older computer.

What to Know

  • Open My Computer and go to Tools > Map Network Drive. In the Map Network Drive window, choose an available drive letter.
  • Use the Browse button to find the network share that should act as a network drive, or type one, e.g.,\\share\folder\subfolder\.
  • Check Reconnect at logon to map it permanently. Click different user name if the remote device has a different username and password.

This article explains how to map a network drive in Windows XP in a process that uses Windows Explorer.

Map a Network Drive in Windows XP

A mapped drive is a virtual hard drive that points to a folder on a remote computer. Here's how to map a network drive in Windows XP.

See how to find shared Windows folders if you want to browse for the right folder before you choose one.

  1. Open My Computer from the Start menu.

  2. Access the Tools > Map Network Drive menu.

  3. Choose an available drive letter in the Map Network Drive window. Unavailable drive letters are not shown (like C) and ones that are already mapped have a shared folder name displayed next to the drive letter.

  4. Use the Browse button to find the network share that should act as a network drive. You can instead type the name of the folder following the UNC naming system like \\share\folder\subfolder\.

  5. Put a check in the box next to Reconnect at logon if you want this network drive to be mapped permanently. Otherwise, it will be removed the next time the user logs out of the account.

  6. If the remote computer that contains the share requires a different username and password to log in, click the different user name link to enter those details.

  7. Click Finish to map the network drive. 

An alternative way to map a network drive in Windows XP is to use the net use command through Command Prompt.


Access the mapped network drive like you can any hard drive, through My Computer. It's listed in the "Network Drives" section.

To disconnect a mapped network drive, use the Tools > Disconnect Network Drive option from a Windows Explorer window such as My Computer. You can also right-click the drive in My Computer and choose Disconnect.

If the drive letter was previously mapped to a different location, a message box will appear asking to replace the current connection with the new one. Click Yes to disconnect and remove the old mapped drive.

If the network drive cannot be mapped, ensure that the folder name is spelled correctly, that this folder was correctly set up for sharing on the remote computer, that the correct username and password have been entered (if necessary), and that the network connection is functioning properly.

You can rename the drive any time you want but you can't change the drive letter of the mapped drive. To do that, you have to disconnect it and make a new one with the drive letter you want to use.

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