How to map a network drive in Windows 11

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things surrounding it. He is passionate about... Read more
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  • Users who map network drives in Windows 11 can open and view their shared folders with convenient File Explorer shortcuts.
  • You can set up a mapped drive with the Map Network Drive utility in Windows 11.
  • The Command Prompt can also be a handy utility for setting up mapped network drives.
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If you have more than one PC connected with your local network (Internet connection), it can be handy to share folder resources between them. Doing so will enable you to access the same shared folders on different PCs.

When a folder is shared on a local network, you can find it by entering its network address (path) within File Explorer.

However, it’s better to map a network drive. By doing so, you can access shared folders on your alternative computers much the same as local ones.

Mapped drives provide handy shortcuts for accessing shared folders that are stored on a different PC within a local network. When you establish a mapped drive for a shared folder, it will be visible within This PC in File Explorer for quick and easy access.

Windows 11 includes the same Map Network Drive tool as its predecessors with which you can set up mapped drives.

You can also set up a mapped drive via the Command Prompt in Windows 11. This is how you can map a network drive in Windows 11 with those methods.

How do I enable network discovery for mapping drives?

You’ll need to have network discovery enabled on both the PC you’re using and the one that includes the shared folders.

Even more, you must have network discovery enabled in Windows 11 to map a drive. Network discovery makes devices on your local network discoverable so they can find each other. This is how you can enable that feature.

  1. To open the search utility, press the magnifying glass taskbar.
    The search button map network drive windows 11
  2. Enter the keyword Control Panel in Windows 11’s search box.
  3. Select Control Panel in the search results.
  4. Click Category on the View by menu. Then select Network and Internet in the Control Panel.
    The Category option map network drive windows 11
  5. Select Network and Sharing Center to open that applet.
  6. Next, click Change advanced sharing settings on the left side of the Control Panel.
    Change advanced sharing settings map network drive windows 11
  7. Select the Turn on network discovery option.
    The Turn on network discovery option map network drive windows 11
  8. Also, select the Turn on file and printer sharing radio button.
  9. Click the Save changes button to apply the new settings.

How can I set up a shared folder?

You can only include shared folders for mapped drives. When a folder is shared, it will have a local network path you can enter in File Explorer to view it. This is how you can set up a shared folder in Windows 11:

  1. Bring up File Explorer by pressing the Windows key + E keyboard shortcut.
  2. Right-click a folder you want to share and select Properties.
    The Properties option map network drive windows 11
  3. Next, click the Sharing tab.
  4. Press the Advanced Sharing button.
    Advanced Sharing button map network drive windows 11
  5. Then click the Share this folder checkbox to select it.
    The Share this folder checkbox map network drive windows 11
  6. Press the Apply button to confirm.
  7. Click the OK buttons to close the windows.

Keep in mind that you should see a network path specified on the folder’s Sharing tab when it’s shared.

How can I map a network drive in Windows 11?

1. Utilize the Map Network Drive utility

  1. Click the folder taskbar button for opening File Explorer.
    The File Explorer button map network drive windows 11
  2. Select This PC on the left side of File Explorer.
  3. Then click the See more button on File Explorer’s toolbar.
    See more button map network drive windows 11
  4. Next, select the Map network drive option on the menu that opens.
     Map network drive option map network drive windows 11
  5. Choose a letter on the Drive drop-down menu.
  6. Press the Browse button on the Map Network Drive window.
  7. Then select a shared folder you want to map a drive for on the Browse for Folder window. You might also need to enter the credentials (login details) for the PC the folder is on to do so.
    Browse For Folder window map network drive windows 11
  8. Click OK to close the Browse for Folder window.
  9. Press the Finish button to confirm.
    The Map Network Drive window map network drive windows 11
  10. Thereafter, click This PC in File Explorer again. Now you should see a new mapped network drive as in the snapshot below.
    A mapped drive map network drive windows 11
  11. Alternatively, you can double-click the mapped network drive in File Explorer’s sidebar to view its contents.
Note icon
NOTE
You can only set up a mapped drive for one network path. If you want to include multiple folders for a mapped drive, select a root directly that incorporates subfolders (such as your user folder for example).

2. Map a network drive with the Command Prompt

  1. Click the magnifying glass taskbar button.
  2. Enter cmd within the search tool’s text box.
  3. Right-click Command Prompt in the search results to select Run as administrator.
  4. Then input this map drive command within the Prompt’s window: net use DLetter: \\PATH /PERSISTENT: YES
    net use command map network drive windows 11
  5. Press the Enter key to execute the map drive command.

You’ll need to replace DLetter in that command with an actual drive letter and PATH with a real network folder location. With a drive letter and network path specified, the command will look more like this:

net use E: \DESKTOP-8PHHAN9\Program Files /PERSISTENT: YES

How come Windows can’t access the network location?

If Windows can’t access the mapped drive’s location with network discovery turned on, you might need to enable SMB (Server Message Block). SMB is a protocol that needs to be enabled for drive mapping. This is how you can enable SMB within Windows 11:

  1. First, press the Windows key and R at the same to launch Run.
  2. Then type the following text in Run’s Open box: appwiz.cpl
  3. Click OK to open the Programs and Features window.
  4. Next, click Turn Windows features on or off on the left side of the window.
    Turn Windows features on or off option map network drive windows 11
  5. Now select the SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support checkbox.
    Windows Features window map network drive windows 11
  6. Also, click the SMB 1.0/CIFS Server checkbox if it’s not selected.
  7. Press the OK button to add the selected feature.
  8. When the requested changes have been applied, click the Restart now button.

It’s relatively straightforward to set up mapped drives in Windows 11 with the Map Network Drive utility. You can also set up mapped drives with that tool in Windows 10 and 7 platforms, not to mention that you can map network drives over VPN.

Map Network Drive hasn’t changed much in the latest platform. Users who often utilize the Command Prompt might prefer method two. There are also various other net use commands that you can enter to set up and configure mapped drives.

Overall, drive mapping is a handy network feature in Windows. With a mapped drive set up, you’ll have more direct access to its shared folder in File Explorer.

So, it’s a good idea to set up mapped drives for shared folders if you need to share files between two, or more, local PCs. Let us know your opinion in the comments area below.

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