How to map network drives over VPN on Windows 10

Elena Constantinescu
by Elena Constantinescu
VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate
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  • If you're worried about the security and integrity of your data, connect to a VPN server before mapping and accessing network drives to protect your PC and network from hackers.
  • It's not complicated to map network drives through a VPN. You just need to get your PC fitted with a premium VPN and connect to a VPN server before starting the file operations in your LAN.
  • Check out our Windows 10 section to discover everything about Microsoft's operating system.
  • Bookmark our VPN Troubleshooting Hub to fix any virtual private network problems.
how to map network drive VPN Windows 10

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?


Connect to a VPN server

PIA is connected to VPN

  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

how to map a network drive in Windows 10

  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 dangers.

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

Private Internet Access

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

$2.85/mo. Buy it now

In conclusion, it’s an excellent idea and a wise move to connect to a VPN server before mapping network drives in Windows 10. This way, you can reduce the risks of getting hacked and compromising your sensitive data.

You just need a secure VPN with versatile options, and that’s why we suggest using PIA.

FAQ: Learn more about VPN

  • How do I connect to a VPN on Windows?

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).

  • Is a VPN a waste of money?

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.

  • Should I pay for VPN?

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.