Mapping a network drive

There are several different ways to map a network drive in Windows. Each way is, although different, basically the same. They all achieve the same end result and can be used interchangeably.

1. Use Windows Explorer
2. Use command prompt “Net Use”
3. Use Group Policy Editor

In Windows Explorer there are actually two ways of doing this. The easiest is to expand the network and then choose the computer which has the directory you want mapped. Then just left click on the directory and choose map network drive. All that is left after that is to assign the drive letter. The second method is in the Explorer header there is an option to Map Network Drive. This option will open a similar window without a drive mapping already filled in. You can now either browse for the folder or can type it in directly using the UNC of the folder.

If you want to use the command prompt you can use a command “Net Use”. With this command you can map drive letters and printer shares. You just need to know what the share name is.

Ex: net use x: \\mysharedcomputer\sharename

There are more options with net use that you can use to enter login credentials and such you can get a list by typing “net use /?”.

The last option is with group policy manager. This option is great for a server side configuration. There are a lot of things you can do the group policy manager but for now let us concentrate that you can map network drives. The best reason for doing it this way is for multiple people that need to share the same resource. It transcends changing of both computers and people. Setup correctly the only thing you need to do with group policies enabled is to attach the computer to the network and everything else is done for you. You can map network drives, printers, establish login policies, create defaults for internet explorer, assign local privileges, basically almost anything can be tweaked to your desire here and automatically update when the user logs on. All of these things can managed down to granular settings either by user, computer or even operating system. Any one all three or any combination thereof.

On your server based Group Policy Management Editor under “User Configuration” go to “Preferences” / “Windows Settings” then use “Drive Maps”. You can also setup login scripts and use the “net use” command from within these scripts.