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Lesson 8: How to Work With Network Drives & Network Locations

In Windows 7, open Windows Explorer and go to the Computer section. There, right click somewhere on the available empty space. In the right-click menu you will see an option which says “Add a network location”.

Click on it and the wizard starts.

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The “Add Network Location” wizard is now displayed and it shares what you can do with it.

Press “Next”.

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You are asked where you want to create this network location and given only one choice. Select “Choose a custom network location” and press “Next”.

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You are asked to give the location of the website or FTP site you want to add. If you want to add a web share, you should type “http://” or “https://” – depending on the protocol used by the web share, followed by the web server and then “/” followed by the share name. For example: http://howtogeek.com/sharename.

Most people will use this wizard to map FTP sites. At least this is the only thing we have used this wizard for. To map an FTP site, type “ftp://” followed by the IP address of the FTP site (if you need a refresher on IP addresses, please read Lesson 2). For example: ftp://192.168.1.2.

Press “Next”.

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You are asked to enter a user name and password if they are required. If you cannot log in anonymously, clear the box that says “Log on anonymously”. If you can log in anonymously, press “Next” and skip the next step.

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If you cleared “Log on anonymously”, you are asked to enter the user name for accessing the specified location. Type it and press “Next”.

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Now you are asked to give a name to this network location. Its default name is the IP address or the web address of the location you entered. Name it anything you wish and press “Next”.

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You are informed that you have successfully created this network location. Press “Finish” to access it.

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If you can’t log on anonymously to this location, you will see the “Log On As” window, asking for the username and password to authenticate to this location. Type them and then select “Save password” if you don’t want to type the password every time you access this location. When done, press “Log On”.

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The network location and its content is now displayed in an Explorer window.

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You can now browse its contents and use it according to the permissions given to the user account you have used to authenticate.

How to Pin Network Drives or Network Locations for Easy Access

Even though the main benefit of mapping drives or network locations is making things more accessible, they are not accessible enough if you ask us. In order to access them you need to first open Explorer. If you truly want to make them accessible, you should pin them to the Start screen in Windows 8, the Desktop, or the taskbar.

To pin a network drive to the Windows 8.x Start screen, right-click with a mouse (or press and hold on a touchscreen) on the drive and select “Pin to Start”.

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A tile with the generic icon used for mapped drives, will be added to the Start screen pointing to the network location set for your mapping.

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To create a shortcut on the Desktop, right click the network drive and select “Create shortcut”.

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The shortcut is automatically added to the Desktop and you can use it to quickly access the network location mapped for that drive.

You can also drag-and-drop a mapped drive to the taskbar, as shown below. The drive will be pinned to the File Explorer or Windows Explorer shortcut, depending on whether you use Windows 8.x or Windows 7.

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How to Remove a Network Drive

There are several ways of removing a network drive. In Windows 8.x, open File Explorer and go to “This PC”, and select the network drive you want to remove. Expand the “Computer” tab on the ribbon and click or tap the arrow for “Map network drive”.

A small menu is displayed, which includes an option that says “Disconnect network drive”. Click or tap on it and the network drive is disconnected and removed from File Explorer.

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Both in Windows 7 and Windows 8.x, open Explorer and find the network drive that you want to remove, in the section named This PC (in Windows 8.x) or Computer (in Windows 7). Then, right-click the network drive and select “Disconnect” in the right-click menu.

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The mapped network drive will be removed.

How to Remove a Network Location

Removing a mapping to a website or FTP site is similar. You need to find the mapped network location in Windows Explorer (Windows 7) or File Explorer (Windows 8.x). You will find it in the “Computer” section in Windows 7 or “This PC” section in Windows 8.x.

Right-click on it (or press and hold) and select “Delete”.

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The network location is now removed.

Coming up Next …

In the next lesson we will explain how to share devices with the network like your printer or the external hard drive attached to one of your computers.

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Ciprian Adrian Rusen is an experienced technology writer and author with several titles published internationally by Microsoft Press. You can connect with him on 7 Tutorials, Twitter, and Google+ or even buy his books on Amazon.

  • Published 04/16/14

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