How to map FTP locations, network drives, and web shares, in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1

When working in a network with multiple computers and network shares, you may need to map a particular network share to a local drive, so that you can access it from File Explorer. Also, when you are a software developer, you may need to work with an FTP location, and adding it as a network location in File Explorer might be just what you need to be more productive. The same is true when working with web shares on file servers that offer online storage. If you need to know how to map an FTP location, a network share, or a web share, in Windows 10 or Windows 8.1, read this tutorial:

NOTE: This guide applies only to Windows 10 and Windows 8.1. Users of Windows 7, should read this tutorial: How to Map Network Drives, Websites and FTP Locations in Windows 7.

How to map a network share in File Explorer

If you need to access a shared network folder or drive, you can map it to a local drive letter and access it just as you would with any local drive. First, open File Explorer. Then click or tap the This PC link in the pane on the left. If you are using Windows 8.1, click or tap the Computer link instead.

Next, open the Computer tab on the ribbon, and press the "Map network drive" button.

The Map Network Drive wizard opens. Choose the drive that you want to use for this mapping. Then, if you know the path to the network share, you can type it in the Folder field.

If you do not know the path to the network share, press Browse, and navigate the shared network locations until you find what you want to map. Select it and press OK.

Check the option “Reconnect at sign-in” to ensure that the drive mapping is permanent on your Windows computer or device. If you need to use credentials (username and password) from the networked computer to access the shared folder - such as when connecting to an older Windows 7 PC - check “Connect using different credentials” and then click or tap Finish.

If you chose to connect using different credentials, you have to enter them. Do not just type the username and password. First, type the name of the computer you will 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 do not 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 opens in a couple of seconds. To access it later, return to File Explorer, and go to This PC (or Computer) and then to the list of Network locations.

Next, let’s see how to map FTP locations and web shares. As you will see, the procedure is slightly different.

How to map an FTP location or a web share location, in File Explorer

To connect to network locations other than a shared folder - such as a web share or an FTP server - you need to use a different wizard to get the job done. In File Explorer, click or tap the This PC link in the pane on the left. If you are using Windows 8.1, click or tap the Computer link instead. Then, open the Computer tab on the ribbon, and press the "Add a network location" button.

The wizard with the same name opens. Read the information that it shares and press Next.

Select “Choose a custom network location” and click or tap Next.

Enter the address for your desired network location in the space provided. If you need to add an FTP site, type something like ftp://ftp.domain.com. If you need to add a web share from a web server, type something like http://server_name_or_address/share. Once you have completed this step, click or tap Next.

You are asked whether you need to specify a username and password to access the location that you want to add. If you do not, leave the “Log on anonymously checkmark enabled. Otherwise, uncheck it and enter the username. Click or tap Next to move on.

Enter a name for your network location and press Next.

Select whether you want to open this network location when you finish. Then, press Finish.

The network location is now added to File Explorer, in the Network locations list.

To access it, double click or double tap on its name. Depending on how it is set up, you may need to enter a username and password to access its content. If credentials are required, you will see a pop up requesting your account information. Enter your username and password, and select “Save password” so that you do not have to enter it every time. Then, click or tap “Log on.”

What kind of locations did you map in File Explorer?

As you can see, it takes little time to map networked locations to your Windows PC or device. Once you are done, you can browse to these locations from File Explorer to add or access files, and you can easily save new files to these remote locations by selecting them from the “Save As” dialog. It is convenient once done correctly. Before closing this tutorial, we would like to know what kind of locations you have mapped in File Explorer: a network share, an FTP site, or web share? Comment below and let’s discuss.