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Dated: Apr. 10, 2012
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Networking In General
Windows Server OS
Something About Network Drive Mapping
Network drive mapping is a process in which users create shortcuts of shared folders on their local computers. Shared folders can be located anywhere in the network. Shortcuts that users create appear in Computer (in Windows Vista and above operating systems) and My Computer (in pre-Windows Vista operating systems) window.
When users map network drives on their local computers operating systems automatically assign drive letters to the mapped drives, hence allowing users you access remotely located shared folders exactly the way they access their local hard disk drive partitions. While mapping network drives, operating systems ask users to specify the drive letters of their preferences which users may select from the drop-down list that contains the available drive letters which can be assigned to the mapped network drives. The default drive letter that is automatically selected and is suggested by the operating system is Z:.
While mapping a network drive users can select if the mapped drive remains persistent (remains mapped) even after the computer restarts or they can choose to map the drive only for the current sessions. In later case when a computer restarts no drives get mapped. Users may choose any of the two available options depending on the requirements of the shared folders.
In some cases administrators also use Logon/Logoff or Startup/Shutdown scripts to automate the drive mapping processes and make shared folders available to the logged-on users either temporarily or permanently.
Best Practices While Mapping Network Drives
Although administrators and users can map several network drives on local computers, approach that Microsoft appreciates and promotes is that administrators must install Distributed File System (DFS) and configure it appropriately. In any domain-based environment this approach can be quite useful for users as in such cases users only need to map the DFS namespaces which may contain several other shared folders that can be accessed from one central location.
Even the mapping of DFS namespace can be automated using Logon/Logoff and Startup/Shutdown scripts that can be created and applied to all domain users and/or computers through group policies.
Even though while mapping network drive a shortcut link to the shared folder is created on a local computer, administrators must still assign share and NTFS permissions on the shared folder in order to control its accessibility.
Mapping Network Drive
In order to map a shared folder as a network drive from any remote computer administrators must follow the steps given as below:
- Log on to Microsoft Windows server 2008 R2 operating system.
- Use Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path to locate the file server and right-click on the target shared folder that has to be mapped as a network drive on the local computer.
- From the context menu right-click Map network drive.
- On Mapped Network Drive box make sure that the UNC path in Folder field is correct and from the drop-down list available in Drive field choose the desired drive letter to assign to the mapped drive.
- Check Reconnect at logon checkbox to make the drive mapping persistent.
- Click Finish when done.
- To access the mapped drive go to Start > Computer. Windows explorer displays the mapped network drive along with other local volumes. However the icon of the mapped drive is different from the icons of local volumes.
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