Connecting all your Windows 8 devices together in a home network allows you to share data between them directly. If all of your devices are using Windows Vista or newer, you can use the Homegroup to connect them all seamlessly. If that isn't an option for you, or you would rather not use this feature, you can easily map shared network locations to a local drive letter using a process called drive mapping. While this procedure is very similar to drive mapping in Windows 7, there are a couple of changes to the File Explorer user interface that might throw off some users. Read on and I'll show you how to map network drives and FTP servers in Windows 8.
How to Start the Map a Network Drive Wizard in Windows 8
If you need to access a shared network drive, you can easily map it to a local drive letter and access it just as you would with any local drive.
There are two ways to get this procedure started, the first of which requires that you access the Computer section in File Explorer.
To do this from the Desktop, click or tap the File Explorer icon from your taskbar and then click or tap the Computer link from the left pane.
Next, click or tap "Map network drive" on the ribbon and select "Map network drive" from the drop-down list (if the drop-down list opens).
If you're starting from the Start screen, search for "computer." Right-click or long-press Computer when it appears in the list of search results and click or tap "Map network drive."
How to Map a Network Drive Wizard in Windows 8
Regardless of your starting point, once you've accessed the mapping wizard, you'll need to find the connected drive you want to map. If you know the complete path to your network drive, type it in the Folder field. If not, click or tap Browse.
Select the networked computer from the list and browse to the folder you want to map on your computer. Click or tap OK.
Select "Reconnect at sign-in" to ensure that the drive mapping is permanent on your computer. If you need to use credentials from the networked computer to access the shared folder - such as when connecting to an older Windows XP computer - select "Connect using different credentials" and then click or tap "Finish."
Next, you'll need to enter the user account credentials for the networked computer. Don't just type the username and password though, you'll have to alert your computer that you'll be using an account from the other computer, not the machine you're working on. To do this, type the name of the computer you'll be connecting to as it appears at the top of the window.
Next, type a backslash and then the username you want to use. Enter the password as usual and check "Remember my credentials" so you don't have to do this every time you access the network drive. Click or tap OK.
If all has gone according to plan, the network drive will open right up. To access it later, return to the File Explorer.
You'll find a link in Network Locations in the Computer section as well as a link in the left pane of the window.
How to Map an FTP Server in Windows 8
To connect to network locations other than a shared folder - such as a website or an FTP server - you'll need to use a different wizard to get the job done. You can get from the aforementioned wizard to the one you need, by clicking or tapping "Connect to a Website that you can use to store your documents and pictures."
You can also click or tap "Add a network location" from the Computer section and tab, in File Explorer.
Click or tap next when the "Add Network Location" wizard opens.
Select "Choose a custom network location" and then click or tap "Next."
Enter the web address for your desired network location in the space provided. Below we've used the Microsoft FTP site as an example. If you're connecting to a location on your home network, you can also click or tap Browse and manually browse to the location you want to connect to.
Once you've completed this step, click or tap Next.
If you don't need special credentials to access the site you're connecting to, select "Log on anonymously." If a username and password are required, deselect "Log on anonymously" and enter your username in the provided field. Click or tap Next to move on.
Enter a name for your network location and click or tap Next.
Select "Open this network location when I click Finish" to make sure you've set up the site correctly and then click or tap Finish.
If no credentials are required, the site should open right up. If credentials are required, you'll see a pop up requesting your account information. Enter your username and password, select "Save password" and then click or tap "Log on."
Once done, you'll be able to access your connected network location just as you can your mapped network drive.
As you can see, it takes little time to map networked locations to your Windows 8 computer or device. Once you're done, you can easily browse to these locations from the File Explorer to add or access files and you can easily save new files to these remote locations by selecting them from a program's "Save As" dialog. It's extremely convenient once done correctly.