Mapping a network drive — also known as “mounting” a drive — allows you to create an easy access point to specific data on a network server using your own computer. If you frequently need to consult folders and documents that are held on a server, instead of on your computer or in the cloud, mapping a drive is a timesaving activity. It’s particularly ideal for schools that hold documents on their servers, or businesses with similar practices.
Thankfully, Windows 10 makes mapping very easy. The process is a little more involved in MacOS, but you can still map drives using Apple’s desktop operating system in just a few steps. Here’s how it’s done!
Note: You’ll need the necessary passwords and access information to open a mapped drive. If you’re doing so at your office, you may want to double-check your security policies for guidelines on mapping drives and best practices for mapping in your business environment.
Head over to File Explorer. If you aren’t sure where it is, you can find it in the Start menu or by searching for it in the search bar. Once there, select This PC in the sidebar on the left.
Among the menu tools in the upper portion of the window, you should see an option for Map Network Drive with an icon of a storage drive. Select this, and then choose Map network drive from the drop-down menu.
Windows will ask you several important questions about the drive that you want to map. First, it will ask you to assign a letter to the drive. Any letter should do — as long as you aren’t already using it for another drive — but if your company or school has a particular naming convention for drives, it’s smart to stick with it.
You will also need to choose the exact network folder that you want to map to your computer. If you have the precise name handy, you can copy and paste it, but it’s probably easier to choose Browse and locate the network folder that you’re interested in or make a new folder. Here, you can also choose to have your computer automatically reconnect when you sign in, or connect with different credentials if you need to use an administrator login.
With the right folder selected, click OK and select Finish. You can now find the drive exactly where your other drives are — that is, within the This PC section of File Explorer. You may also want to create a shortcut to the appropriate folder for quicker access.