How to Map a Network Drive in Windows 11

Quickly access shared files on your network

What to Know

  • Right-click This PC from File Explorer. Select Map network drive.
  • Check Reconnect at sign-in to automatically remap the drive at each login.
  • To map a network drive for all users, you need to create a special folder and script.

This article explains how to map a network drive in Windows 11, so you can easily access shared files from another computer on your network. We'll also look at what the other computer must do to enable the share and what to watch for if you're having issues mapping a network drive.

How to Map a Network Drive in Windows 11

It takes just a few steps to map a network drive via the This PC window.

  1. Open File Explorer (WIN+E).

  2. Right-click This PC from the left column, and select Map network drive.

    Windows 11 Map network drive option

    If you don't see anything in a left column, go to View > Show > Navigation pane.

  3. Pick a letter from the menu you want the network drive to be identified as. This can be any letter in the list.

  4. Browse for, or type the path to, the shared folder the network drive should be mapped to.

    If the share requires a specific password, you should choose Connect using different credentials. You'll be prompted to provide a username (and password) that has permission to access the other computer.

    File path and Finish highlighted in Map Network Drive setup for Windows 11
  5. Select Finish.

    You might have to wait a few seconds for Windows to establish the connection, after which you can access the share like you would a flash drive or local hard drive and rename how it appears in This PC.

If, after completing step 5, you get an error or a password prompt, see the tips at the end for more directions.

How to Automatically Map a Network Drive in Windows 11

The primary way to set up an automatic network drive is to follow the steps above and choose Reconnect at sign-in during setup. This will make the same network drive resume the next time you sign on.

If you're managing several computers at once, or even one computer with several users, and you need to map the network drive on all of them, automatically, there's a script you can build to get the job done. The same method works for creating the network drive for other users on a local computer; see the steps below for instructions.

How to Map a Network Drive in Windows 11 for All Users

Mapping a network drive for all users at once is much easier than following the above steps individually under each account. Follow these steps whether you're a network admin that needs to perform this trick across your entire network of computers, or you want the local accounts on your PC to be able to reach the same shared files with ease.

  1. Use the net use command to create a script that will auto-connect the mapped network drive.

    Here's an example, where the driver letter will be assigned automatically, and the connection to the share (\server\files, in this example) will persist (/p:yes) each time the user logs in:

    net use * "\\server\files" /p:yes

    The script needs to be saved as a BAT file so Windows will execute it when the user logs in.

    Visit the net use command link above for examples of embedding credentials in the command. It's necessary if the computer sharing the files requires a password.

  2. Open the All Users Startup folder. One easy way to find it is to run this command in the Run dialog box (WIN+R):

    shell:common startup
  3. Copy the BAT file from step 1 into the folder you uncovered in step 2.

    BAT file in Windows 11 All Users Startup folder

Now, when any user logs in on that computer, the network drive you set up in the script will automatically connect.

Troubleshooting Mapped Network Drives

A few things must be in place before network sharing is allowed in Windows 11.

If you're sure your computer is on the same network as the one sharing the files (that's a necessity), keep these things in mind if you're having trouble mapping a network drive or using it once you've mapped it:

Network Discovery

Network discovery lets you see network computers and their shares. Make sure it's turned on in Control Panel.

  1. Open Control Panel, and navigate to Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Change advanced sharing settings.

  2. Expand the section that says current profile, and select Turn on network discovery.

    Turn on network discovery and Save Changes in Advanced sharing settings for Windows 11

    The computer doing the sharing (i.e., the one you're attempting to connect to) needs to have selected Turn on file and printer sharing from this same screen before they can share with you over the network.

  3. Select Save changes, and then try again to map the network drive.

Password-Protected Sharing

You must either have the login credentials for the user sharing the files with you, or their computer needs to be set up to allow sharing even if a password isn't provided.

In the All Networks section, they can set up the latter by selecting Turn off password protected sharing via the same screen as above.

Turn off password protected sharing in Windows 11 Advanced sharing settings

Share Permissions

You can configure the share to allow a certain number of users simultaneously. It can even be limited to viewing the files only, meaning you can't edit or add anything to the network drive. To be given these permissions, the person managing the network share must make changes from their side.

If they access the Sharing tab of the folder's properties, the Advanced Sharing button is an option to limit how many users can be utilizing the share at once. On that same screen, in the Permissions area, the manager of the files can give you complete control or edit access.

Advanced Sharing and Permissions highlighted in Windows 11 File Properties

Full Share Path

Make sure you're accessing the true path to the share. Typing the path manually when setting up the network drive can result in a mistake. You can obtain the share path from the computer sharing the resources.

Open File Explorer and navigate to Network from the navigation pane on that computer. Open the computer name you see there, and then find the folder you want to access. That's the path you need to enter into your computer to complete the mapped drive.

The same path is accessible from the folder itself. Right-click it, go into the Sharing tab and copy the text from the Network Path area.

Network path highlighted in Windows 11 file properties
  • How do I unmap a network drive in Windows 11?

    Right-click This PC from File Explorer, and choose Disconnect network drive. Choose the drive you want to disconnect, then choose OK.

  • How do I reconnect to a network drive in Windows 11?

    If you're having trouble connecting to a network drive, disconnect the drive and then re-map it. When mapping the drive, make sure Reconnect at sign-in is selected.

  • How do I share network files in Windows 11?

    Aside from mapping a network drive, there are other network file sharing options in Windows 11. These include sharing files in the cloud with OneDrive, Windows public folder sharing, and third-party sharing solutions.

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