How to map network drives over VPN on Windows 10 & 11

by Elena Constantinescu
Elena Constantinescu
Elena Constantinescu
VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate
Elena started writing professionally in 2010 and hasn't stopped exploring the tech world since. With a firm grasp of software reviewing and content editing, she is always trying... read more
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  • If you're worried about the security and integrity of your data, it's a great idea to map network drive while using a VPN in Windows 10 & 11.
  • It's not a complicated procedure, you just need to install a VPN and connect to a server before starting the file operations in your LAN.
  • You will be happy to know that the steps are not much different in Windows 11 so you will be able to handle it seamlessly.
How to map network drives over VPN on Windows

Mapping network drives over VPN on Windows 10 is a great way to increase the security of your computer and network.

By protecting your data traffic with a VPN that supports strong VPN protocols with the highest possible levels of encryption, you can fend off hackers and ensure the integrity of your data.

There’s nothing elaborate about mapping network drives through VPN. In fact, you just have to connect to a VPN server before managing access settings to shared drives and folders in your local network.

Here’s how you can do that.

How do I map network drives over VPN on Windows 10 & 11?

Connect to a VPN server

  1. Sign up for a PIA subscription.
  2. Download and install PIA on your PC.
  3. Launch PIA and press the big power button.
  4. You are now connected to a VPN server.

We’re using PIA in our example because it’s the best VPN for Windows 10. The steps above are for downloading and installing the PIA desktop client.

Keep in mind that the VPN connection must protect the entire computer, so you can’t use anything lesser than that, not even a browser extension.

An alternative is to create a VPN connection in Windows 10 without installing anything after obtaining the PIA login credentials and a preferred server address from its website.

Check out how to set up an IPsec VPN client on Windows 10 using PIA connection details.

On the other hand, if you want to use the OpenVPN protocol, you need a third-party OpenVPN client since Windows 10 doesn’t have native support for OpenVPN. It’s easier to set up the PIA desktop client since it uses OpenVPN by default (WireGuard is also an option).

Map a network drive

  1. Make sure you’re connected to a VPN server.
  2. Turn on Network Discovery on your computer.
  3. Open the Windows 10 File Explorer (Win key + E).
  4. Go to This PC, select the Computer tab, and press Map Network Drive.
  5. Set Drive to a preferred drive letter that you will use to access the shared location.
  6. Press Browse next to Folder and select a shared drive or folder.
  7. Enable Reconnect at sign-in to ensure the location auto-reconnects at every Windows startup.
  8. Enable Connect using different credentials if you can’t access the shared location using your current Windows login info.
  9. Click Finish.

Although you would be tempted to disconnect from the VPN after mapping the network drive, it’s a good idea to leave it turned on at all times while staying connected to the Internet.

This ensures that you’ll always be protected from hackers and other possible attacks.

Why use Private Internet Access?

PIA is the best VPN for Windows 10

Created by Kape Technologies, Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the fastest and most secure VPNs for your Windows 10 PC. It’s also the best VPN for Plex since you can use it to mount network resources and safely share content on the Plex Media Server.

In addition to an impressive network of VPN servers, PIA can connect you to the nearest server automatically to ensure the best speed. It supports OpenVPN and WireGuard, SOCKS5 and Shadowsocks proxy servers, port forwarding, together with static and dynamic IP addresses.

Furthermore, you can use PIA to reduce your ping during gameplay. It comes bundled with split-tunneling mode, a kill switch, and exclusive DNS servers. It’s also possible to install PIA’s OpenVPN manual configuration mode on your router to share VPN access with all connected devices.

More about PIA:

  • +3,300 VPN servers in 48 countries
  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • No identifying logs, no leaks
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee (no free trial)

Private Internet Access

Connect to PIA’ before mapping network drives to reduce vulnerabilities and protect your PC from hackers.

Check price Visit website

How do I map network drives over VPN on Windows 11?

Although the new OS is clearly more advanced and it has a lot of new interesting features, its core is still very similar to the one of Windows 10.

Therefore, you will see that all the solutions presented here, including using the PIA VPN, will work like a charm on Windows 11 as well.

The Map network drive option it’s a little less accessible in Windows 11

File Explorer has a slightly different design in Windows 11 so, as you can see from our screenshot above, to access the Map network drive option, you will find it by clicking on the three-dot button from the top.

But that’s where the differences end because all the other steps presented in our solutions are still the same.

In conclusion, it’s an excellent idea and a wise move to connect to a VPN server before mapping network drives in Windows 10 and 11.

This way, you can reduce the risks of getting hacked and compromising your sensitive data.

We hope that our guide helped you map a network drive while using a VPN and now, your shared location is safe and secure.

You might also be interested in our list including the best file-sharing tools & software for Windows 10/11 because it’s another way of sending your files safely.

For any questions or suggestions, feel free to use the comments section below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Your connection is not secure - websites you visit can find out your details:

  • Your IP
  • Your IP Address:

Companies can sell this information, alongside your location and internet provider name, and profit from it by serving targeted ads or monitoring your data usage.

Use a VPN to protect your privacy and secure your connection.

We recommend Private Internet Access, a VPN with a no-log policy, open source code, ad blocking and much more; now 79% off.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • You can connect to a VPN on Windows laptops without installing anything else, as long as you have the VPN login credentials. But installing a VPN desktop client for Windows 10 brings more options (e.g. quickly change VPN servers and protocols, kill switch, port forwarding).

  • If you’re concerned about your online privacy and security, then VPNs are worth the money. Besides, you can access blocked websites, defeat censorship, reduce your ping in multiplayer games, unblock Netflix libraries that aren’t available in your country, find better deals online, and more.

  • Free VPNs are a good starting point to get used to the technology and see how it affects your Internet activities. But if you want to commit to a long-term plan, consider investing in a premium VPN since it’s superior in every way.

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