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Map a Network Drive from XP to Windows 7

We’ve received a lot of questions about mapping a drive from XP to Windows 7 to access data easily. Today we look at how to map a drive in Windows 7, and how to map to an XP drive from Windows 7.

With the new Homegroup feature in Windows 7, it makes sharing data between computers a lot easier. But you might need to map a network drive so you can go directly into a folder to access its contents. Mapping a network drive may sound like “IT talk”, but the process is fairly easy.

Map Network Drive in Windows 7

Note: All of the computers used in this article are part of the same workgroup on a home network.

In this first example we’re mapping to another Windows 7 drive on the network. Open Computer and from the toolbar click on Map Network Drive.

1map

Alternately in Computer you can hit “Alt+T” to pull up the toolbar and click on Tools \ Map Network Drive.

7map

Now give it an available drive letter, type in the path or browse to the folder you want to map to. Check the box next to Reconnect at logon if you want it available after a reboot, and click Finish.

3map

If both machines aren’t part of the same Homegroup, you may be prompted to enter in a username and password. Make sure and check the box next to Remember my credentials if you don’t want to log in every time to access it.

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The drive will map and the contents of the folder will open up.

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When you look in Computer, you’ll see the mapped drive under network location.

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This process works if you want to connect to a server drive as well. In this example we map to a Home Server drive.

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Map an XP Drive to Windows 7

There might be times when you need to map a drive on an XP machine on your network. There are extra steps you’ll need to take to make it work however.

Here we take a look at the problem you’ll encounter when trying to map to an XP machine if things aren’t set up correctly. If you try to browse to your XP machine you’ll see a message that you don’t have permission.

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Or if you try to enter in the path directly, you’ll be prompted for a username and password, and the annoyance is, no matter what credentials you put in, you can’t connect.

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In this example we’re mapping from a Windows 7 x64 Ultimate machine to an XP Media Center Edition Laptop on a wireless connection where each machine as a different password.

To solve the problem we need to set up the Windows 7 local account as a user on the XP machine and make it part of the Administrators group to access the full drive. Right-click My Computer and select Manage.

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Under Computer Management expand Local Users and Groups and click on the Users folder. Right-click an empty area and click New User.

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Add in the user credentials, uncheck User must change password at next logon, then check Password never expires then click Create.

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Close out of the New User Screen and you’ll see the user you created in the list. After the user is added, you may need to reboot XP before proceeding to the next step.

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At this point you should be able to access the shared folders on the XP machine but not the entire drive. Here we’re browsing to the XP Media Center Edition machine.

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Now we can enter in the user name and password we just created.

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Now we can browse to and map specific shared folders on the XP machine.

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However, when we try to map to the full drive, we get the annoyance of not being able to log in…

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To access the full drive we need to make the user part of the Administrators group. So go back into Computer Management \ Local Users and Groups \ Groups then double click on Administrators.

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Click the Add button in Administrators Properties window.

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Enter in the new user you created and click OK. An easy way to do this is to enter the name of the user you created then click Check Names and the path will be entered in for you.

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Now you see the user as a member of the Administrators group…click Ok.

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Now we can map to the entire drive. Enter in the drive path where in this example it’s “\\XPMCE\C$” –Don’t forget the “$” sign after the local drive letter.

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Then login…

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Again the contents of the drive will open up for you to access.

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Here you can see we have two drives mapped. One to another Windows 7 machine on the network, and the other to the XP computer.

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If you ever want to disconnect a drive, just right-click on it and then Disconnect.

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There are several scenarios where you might want to map a drive in Windows 7 to access specific data. It takes a little bit of work but you can map to an XP drive from Windows 7 as well. This comes in handy where you have a network with different versions of Windows running on it.

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 03/18/10

Comments (28)

  1. GeorgeO

    Or, just make sure the username & password on both machines is the same, and u can map from XP to Win7 no problem. Works for me.

  2. Alek Davis

    Thanks a lot for the article. I was just trying the same issue (connecting XP to Win 7), so it’s very helpful. Need to try it.

    One clarification: when you said that “we need to set up the Windows 7 machine as a user on the XP machine and make them part of the Administrators group” I assume you meant the a Windows 7 machine user (local account), not the machine itself, right?

    In the nutshell, you’re basically making sure that you have the same local user account with identical password on both both Windows 7 and XP systems. I wonder why this account must be in the Administrators group on the XP machine and if other permissions would suffice.

  3. Mysticgeek

    @Alek Davis: You are correct about setting up the Windows 7 Machine Local User… not the entire machine. I am in the process of updating the article in hopes to help explain everything better.
    Thanks for pointing that out. It is a little confusing.

  4. Ivan Kolevski

    This is one very good guide. Very helpful.
    Just the fact that Belkin (I know, rols eyes :)) and other networking manufacturers have released USB sharing routers I think that will simplify the whole sharing mapping thing all together. I know that it sucks that HomeBase unit from belkin requires the app to be installed on every PC, but it is very easy to configure and be up and running in minutes. (not afiliated with Belkin or any other brand in any way).
    Can you guys do a full review of the HomeBase or a similar product.

    Regards,
    Ivan Kolevski

  5. Landon Wendel

    how can i create a user if i am not running Windows XP Professional?

  6. NARAYANA

    i could not able to access the windows 7 drives over network on xp

  7. Mtnbird

    I do not have “Local Users and Groups” under Computer Management, System Tools on my XP machine. Now what???

  8. Andy M

    For those that have XP Home, the only way to share is through the guest account, which will limit you. It is the same as using Simple File Sharing in XP Pro. BTW the C$ share does NOT exist in XP Home. From “Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition does not create hidden administrative shares.” That is why XP Home is aimed at the consumer/home market, not the enterprise/business market. This article should probably address that issue.

    Landon Wendel: You can create a user account via the Control Panel > User Accounts.

    Mtnbird: You have XP Home, that is why the “Local Users and Groups” does not appear. You can create a user account via the Control Panel > User Accounts.

  9. Juan

    I dont have a Local Users and Groups. Now what? Please help!!!

  10. Peter

    Does the “no matter what credentials you put in, you can’t connect.” issue exist in mapping an Windows XP drive to Windows XP? I remember that it works as long as the credential is a user of the windows XP being mapped.

    I’m encountering the same problem in mapping an Windows XP drive to Windows Server 2008 but the complication is that the Windows XP is avirtual machine in the Windows Server 2008.

  11. MOXIE

    I have been having this problem for fn ever and am so sick of it. I have followed this guide to a tee and still can’t map from 7 to XP. XP to 7 no issue everything works as it should. However, 7 to XP (whole drive) is driving me up the wall. Same user name and pass on both machines, user is in admin group on XP machine and every time I try to enter my credentials it just keep promting me to enter my password, correct machine name\username entered, correct password, no firewall on ethier machine, same workgroup name but no luck. This crap should not be this fn complicated Microsoft really f’ed us on this.

  12. MOXIE

    Wow!!!!!! Try disabling Simple File Sharing on the XP machine

  13. Bob

    I lost my lan drive connections three times over the last two months. I have tried every fix available but nothing works. Finally each time, I had to revert to a backup clone hard drive and then brought forward my work files that had changed.

    If this happens one more time, I am looking for another operating system!!!!!!!!

  14. paul

    Strange…! I followed everything on here and it’s still not working for me. Do you know if I have to adjust my firewall settings?

    I’m using Windows 7 Pro and XP Pro with service pack 3. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

  15. sumanta behera

    how to map a network drive in windows 7
    And what is nessecery things for map a network drive….
    I mean. is microsoft clint netware required or not….

  16. Jim

    What if you are connectng an XP drive (only) via a USB device to a Windows 7 PC. Anyway to work around this security mess? We’ve tried setting permiisions on the entire drive, which doesn’t seem to work. You would think with admin rights there wouldn’t be an issue.

    Jim

  17. stjj

    actually all you need to do is to change network type to home
    on both xp and win7, then uncheck the “password file sharing” option(you can find the options in network and sharing centre) on both computers click on save, apply or whatever sensible option. go to my
    computer and start mapping the PCs without the hussle of typing in passwords…. i cant believe nobody thought of this simpler method instead.

  18. yurchak

    Hi! I have 7 Ult and XP prof, and i can`t map from 7 to XP, after follow step-by-step guid my problem stay, Seven ask for pass. Only after Andy M and MOXIE posts i have solve the problem. Simple on XP go to My Computer->Folder Options->View
    In the Advanced Settings section, click to clear the Use simple file sharing (Recommended)
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307874 (disable simple file sharing)

    Была проблема в следующем, 7-ка при попытке зайти на ХР, постоянно требовала пароиль, никакие танцы с бубном не помогали. Статья не решала вопрос, только товарищ Andy M помог, всего лишь надо отключить Простой общий доступ к файлам, после отключения никаких паролей, всё работает отлично.
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307874 (простой общий доступ к файлам)

  19. phillie2dubs

    OMFG! At least you guys have been having real problems. Not like me fumbling back and forth for a couple hours just to realize the xp machines port wasn’t turned on!! Hah well, saved a bullet I guess

  20. CommonCents

    Actually, Micros**t is the root of the problem! I just ‘updated’ my XP machine on Patch Tuesday (March 2011) and now my XP machine is unable to connect (via administrative share) to my Win7 Ultimate box.

    Clearly MS continues to break this important functionality, and doesn’t seem to have a clue or a care.

    Everything was working fine until I applied their ‘critical updates’. Some which, cannot be removed.

    Only you MS could screw up 10 years of proven network inter-connectivity in one version (Win7).

    Thanks Microsoft… for all the wasted man-hours.

  21. xtof

    Hi everyone,

    Here’s a “nice” issue that I”m facing : my main laptop computer is running Windows 7 64 and it is my work PC. Therefore it is set up with a domain that I can not (don’t want to) change. At the same time I have an old XP PC at home and I want to access the XP PC’s hard disk from the Win 7 laptop. I have tried many things but the Win 7 PC does not see the XP PC. My current best guess is that it is because they are not in the same workgroup. Anyone can confirm ? If yes, would there be a workaround so that I can see my XP PC from Win 7 without having to change the workgroup in Win 7 ?

    Tx in advance.
    Xtof.

  22. RWin

    Upgrade your XP to Win7. It solves all the issues and, trust me, once you think you have a good work around, it will just magically stop or become intermittent. Feel like your having your arm twisted by MS to pony up more cash? Well, you are.

  23. Tom

    I have no problem in connecting to an XP machine from Windows 7. But I cannot connect to Windows 7 machine from an XP machine.

  24. Xtof

    RWin,

    Tx. I’m not upgrading my old laptop to Win7 because it is really old and has only 512 Mb of RAM (… remember those days …). I’m not sure upgrading to Win7 would help anyway because on my main laptop the Homegroup function is locked and can’t be w-switched on.

    Xtof.

  25. Lis

    RWin, honestly I am feeling more and more inclined to downgrade my 7 computers to XP! I’ve been working with Windows 7 for months now and I still find it unnecessarily complicated and difficult for each issue that comes up. I’m really getting sick of it.

  26. Moses

    Lol, this is a flippen tough problem for SO-SO many people ! And yes..you bet i am ONE of the victims. There is ONE thing that a LOT of articles on the internet do NOT address, and guess what it is . . .

    “something to do with the GUEST account”

    I will shock you below when I reveal a rather simple thing to do that can block you from opening a Win 7 C$ share, no matter WHAT you’ve tried or read here and on dozens of other forums, etc.

    In my case I have 2 machines,

    first one is = Win XP Pro
    second one = Win 7
    Everything is on a private HOME network (No domains, no fancy stuff).

    and yes, like scores of other people.. I’ve suffered greatly from this. When I am sitting on the Win XP machine, I could NOT open the C$ share that’s on the Win 7 machine. I believe THOUSANDS of people are suffering greatly from this too, spending DAYS to find a solution.

    And YES, oh boy.. u bet like MANY other people here… I have TRIED EVERYTHING IN THE BOOK and have READ so many other articles from dozens of other websites….. NONE worked. I have even saved the articles from the web into My Documents folder.. it is a whooping 35 articles !! A whooping 35 articles which all talk about mapping to a Win 7 C$ drive FROM a Win XP machine.

    Let me say this also . . In my case I refuse to create matching user accounts or ANY extra user accounts. I just hate it !!! It appears incompetent and just downright LAME to have to CREATE an ACCOUNT on an innocent Win XP machine when the machine is NOT sharing anything . . . that’s the most IDIOTIC thing I would EVER do in my life !

    I will NEVER create an account on a machine that’s NOT sharing anything for the SAKE of reaching a share on ANOTHER machine that’s SHARING something. My philosophy is that if a machine is AT ALL sharing something… the OTHER machines that want to access that shared material must NOT be FORCED to HAVE THINGS PLANTED ON THEM for the SAKE of reaching that ONE machine that’s sharing. This can become a very clumsy way of working… imagine with just a few 8 machines having to CROSS SHARE their files in a small network…. that will quickly become a spaghetti of user accounts ALL over across ALL the machines ! Yikes!!

    According to me, the ONE WHO SHARES MUST BEAR the TROUBLE of HIS WILLINGNESS TO SHARE, period. If he is at ALL sharing something.. OTHERS must BE ALLOWED to reach the share and access the share !

    Ideally you should NOT share files and then IMPOSE that others MUST INSTALL SOMETHING (create accounts/matching IDs/etc) on THEIR computers in order to access something that YOU SHARED in the first place !! That sounds just plain weird & suspicious !

    I know from my early days with Win XP that I could arrange an open (and i mean **Wide Open**) C$ share on any machine on the network WITHOUT creating any matching user accounts or any user accounts on ANY other machine or even extra accounts on the host machine itself for that matter.

    FYI… My problem with Win 7 admin shares took me 3 months to solve. In my case I believe in using the power of the **GUEST** account, which comes built-in with Win XP, Vista & 7. On my Win 7 machine I made the GUEST user part of the Administrators group, and I gave him FULL control over the entire C: drive.

    But guess what actually solved my problem . . . . ?
    The GUEST user had NEVER logged into the computer EVER !!!! To say it clearly . . the GUEST user on the Win 7 machine had NEVER logged into the Win 7 machine EVER…since the machine was installed :)) Enabling the GUEST user does NOT mean the GUEST user is now in FULL operation !!! . . . Now how comical is that ??

    That can be a bomb for MANY people ! If you have a Guest account that’s NEVER EVER logged into the computer, there is a chance that you will NOT be able to FULLY OPEN the C$ share from another machine (be it XP or Vista) because if you are piggy-backing on that Guest account … apparently the account needs to have USED THE COMPUTER at least once !

    So guys, please MAKE SURE if you are going to piggy back on the GUEST account, which is one of the CLEANEST ways to just SMASH into that Win 7 C$ share from ANYWHERE on the network . . . make sure you LOGOFF from the “current Adminstrator account” or whatever account is currently active on the Win 7 machine and LOGIN with the GUEST account at LEAST ONCE . . . . I repeat . . . LOGIN with the GUEST account at least once ! Then logout / logoff from the Guest account and RESTART, then go back into the usual/normal admin account you use on the Win 7 machine.

    Now STEP away from that Windows 7 machine and go elsewhere on the network. Now open that \\win7machine\c$ share again :)
    I am only talking to people who believe they have TRIED ALL OTHER tricks in all articles all over the Internet and in the book. So if you are Not that person, obviously it may still Not work. I assume the notorious tricks you have already attempted are :

    – The notorious registry hack
    – Homegroup – disabling it
    – Anti virus firewall – disabled it
    – Windows firewall – disabled it
    – Right clicking on the C: Local Disk and opening up those security settings …. open them Wide Open ! Forget security for now.
    – Making the guest user part of the administrators group
    – Making the Admin user part of the Guests group
    – And ALL the other tricks in the book and on the internet

    Frankly speaking, security is over-stated these days !! I mean in my case I have two machines that are NOT on the Internet…..and many other people have EXACTLY this type of setup. The machines are FRESHLY installed (clean..NO data whatsoever)…but then I have to spent 3 months to figure out how to open the admin share C$ on the Win 7 machine . . . . . ALL OF THIS , because of SECURITY ??? Hello . . . the machines have NO DATA for Goodness’ sake !!! And they will NEVER have data… they are LAB machines….OMG, My Crow Soft.

    Just beucase security protects you from intrusion, it does NOT mean that you SHOULD be forced to have guards LEFT, RIGHT, and CENTER whereever you go ! Imagine if u were a Hollywood celeb and your bodyguards insisted to you that FOR **YOUR** OWN SECURITY they MUST stand in your bedroom every night beside your bed while u’re getting busy with your wife . . . now that would be security taken WAY BEYOND sanity !!!!! That’s where we’re going with security NOWADAYS … way too insane !

    Just because an operating system is secure… it does NOT mean that the security SHOULD BE ENABLED ! Security is a prerogative of the user. Period.

  27. LordVahn

    Hello everyone
    The article’s been pretty useful so far, so thanks for it. Now I’m having an issue were I have an XP network drive and need to map it on a windows 7 64bit system. The main issue is, due to security policies, we need to change our access password every so often, and I still haven’t found a way to change the password manually on windows 7 (since every user in the network has to change it themselves). Can anyone help me solve this issue? Thanks in advance!

  28. Sullijwiii

    I have mapped multiple times to an XP Pro machine from my Win7 64 bit. I found I had to add myself as a user on the XP machine and then add myself to the folder under sharing again. Once I was initially added as a user I could map to C$ without any issues. Check the sharing under C$ to see if you were added there also. It seems as though that once you are added as a user to a folder you should have the rights to all sub-folders I believe when you add your self under sharing for a folder, you have the option to add all sub-folders.

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