Map Network Drives in Windows

Last modified 9/19/2023

This article describes how to map network drives in Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

Before You Begin

When you connect to a shared folder on a remote computer, it is known as mapping a network drive.

To map network drives at Illinois State University:

  • If you are off campus, you must first connect through VPN.
    For information on ISU's VPN, see: VPN at Illinois State University.
  • You must know the appropriate network path (Typically provided to you by your direct IT support team).
  • You must know the username and password to the shared folder, or it must be an open, unprotected shared folder.

Mapping Network Drives

To map network drives in Windows, do the following:

  1. If you are off campus and want to connect to a computer or server on campus, you must first connect through VPN.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Windows 10: Type 'This PC' into the Windows Search Tool in the lower left-hand corner of your Desktop. Right-click on This PC →  Select Map Network Drive.
    • Windows 7: Click Start. Right-click on Computer and select Map Network Drive.
    • Windows 8: On the Start screen, type the word 'Computer'. Right-click on the Computer icon. Then click Map network drive.
  3. The Map Network Drive window will appear. (Figure 1)

    Figure 1:
  4. Select a letter from the Drive drop-down menu (e.g., Z:, Y:, X:, etc), or leave the default letter selected. It does not matter which letter you choose for the drive.
  5. Enter a Network Path into the Folder field (This path should have been provided to you by your IT Direct Support Team. The Technology Support Center does NOT have access to this path).
    5a. Network paths use the following format: \\computername\sharename
    5b. Refer to the Network Path section below for more information.
  6. Click Finish.
  7. If you are prompted to enter a username and password, do so now.
    7a. In most cases, your username will be ADILSTU\yourULID (yourULID is what you use to sign into most ISU sites and is the first part of your ISU email address).
    7b. In rare cases, your username and password will be assigned to you and will be different from your usual login credentials. 
  8. Enter your ULID password and click OK.

The shared folder will automatically open once it is successfully mapped to your computer. The network drive is also now available by going into Computer and it will appear next to your other drives. When you are done, you can disconnect from the remote computer by right-clicking on the network drive icon and choosing Disconnect.

Network Path

Before you can map network drives, you must know the network path to the remote computer you are attempting to access. A network path is comprised of two elements: a computer name and a share name. When mapping network drives in Windows, you must format the computer name and share name into a network path as follows:  \\computername\sharename

The computer name could be either a Netbios name or a DNS name. For example, Reggie Redbird wants to connect to a server maintained by his department. The server has both a Netbios name, Redserver, and a DNS name,

The share name is the name of the shared folder on the remote computer to which you are attempting to connect. A remote computer could have many shared folders. Some shared folders contain the dollar sign symbol. For example, there are many shared folders on Redserver, but Reggie Redbird is only interested in accessing the folder named DeptData$.

To access the DeptData$ shared folder on Redserver, Reggie should use one of these network paths:

  • \\Redserver\DeptData$

To get help accessing a departmental server, contact your department's technical support staff. For general technical help, contact the Technology Support Center.

VPN Required from Off Campus

To map network drives to computers hosted by Illinois State University, you must be connected to the campus network ISUNet. If you are off campus, you must first establish a VPN connection to the campus network. For more information, please refer to: VPN at Illinois State University.

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