The first question that comes to mind after reading the title of the article is what exactly is a network drive? A network drive is a virtual storage device that stores data on a Local Area Network (LAN) and generally acts as the server of the LAN. Since the network drive is responsible for storing bulk of the data accessible via the network, the network should always be in switched on state. If the device harboring the network drive is in switched off state, then for that period of time, the network connection won’t work since the LAN won’t be able to access its data from the virtual network drive.
Another synonymously used term in the same department is the word “Network Map”. A network map is a virtual visualization of the devices connected to the network and their interrelationships with the server and other devices. Network maps are used by devices like modems and routers to set up connectivity in Area based Networks. For a complete guide on routers and modems please refer here.
A question that often comes to mind is that why do we need a network drive and a network map and why is it important to map a network drive in a personalized area connection? As discussed earlier, a network drive is a virtual or sometimes real storage device that stores the data of an area connection. Since the data is required to be accessed anytime and anywhere it is important that the storage be done on a server based network.
For example, a personalized home connection has a server based PC named A, and the family has 3 members Mike, his father and his mother. All their videos, music, and images are stored there in the PC A. If in any point in time, Mike wants to listen to the music stored in PC A, then he has to access the contents of A, and that can only be done if the PC A’s memory has been stored in a network drive. This is where network drive is important.
Now, let’s say that in the similar area network, there was no centralized server with a network drive. Mike’s PC had all the music stored in it, while his father had movies backed up while his mother’s PC had the images backed up. So, if say Mike wanted to view his old photos, he would have to open his mother’s PC to do so. Remotely viewing the PC isn’t possible if the data hasn’t been backed up directly or indirectly in a server based network drive.
Although network maps vary with the Operating systems present in the computer, their uses are always the same. The process of setting up a network map windows 7 might differ from that in windows 10 and Ubuntu, but the ultimate purpose and function is the same. The process of setting up a network map can be done in various methods.
Using traditional method in Windows 7:
The traditional method of mapping a network drive includes following a series of steps and doing so via the menu made available in the OS. The steps are as follows:
- Open ‘My Computer’ by clicking it from the desktop or the windows start button.
- Click on ‘Map network drive’ marked on the top.
- From the drive list, select any available letter.
- In the folder box, specify the path link to the folder.
- Click Finish.
By following these simple steps, a network drive can be configured via a PC. This method is specific to Windows 7 and generally works fine.
Using command line:
Another way to map a network drive is by using the command line provided by Windows 7. To map network drive windows 7 command line, follow the steps-
- Open Command Prompt (CMD) using start menu or run.
- After successfully opening cmd, type in the following command – net use x:\\computer name\sharename, where x is the drive letter that is to be assigned as a network drive.
The above mentioned method maps a one-time usable network drive that will get reconfigured after restarting the PC. For making permanent network drive mappings, the cmd command should be as follows-
net use x:\\computer name\sharename/P:Yes
The P here represents that the network drive being mapped is of permanent nature. In some different versions of Windows, the ‘P’ might need to be replaced with ‘/PERSISTENT’.
A question that naturally comes to mind is, why do we need to use cmd when it can be done using simple clicks? This is because, anything done using command line is more secure and safer than traditional methods. Another important reason is because, by using traditional methods we can’t control the nature of the mapped network drive, meaning the mapping will always be of permanent nature. Probably the most valuable reason of using cmd is that, by using cmd, we can map multiple types of data from various locations in the PC to the same letter assigned network drive which isn’t possible by traditional means.
Using VPN Connection:
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. This is a type of network that has been made for a particular group of people and can’t be accessed by people outside the group. Mapping a virtual network drive using VPN, means that whatever data the network contains can only be accessed by the members of the network and no one from the outside. There is no different method to map a drive using VPN. To map network drive VPN Windows 7, follow the steps –
- The first and most important part is to correctly set up a VPN network, with secured incoming and outgoing data packets.
- To map the network drive, type the same commands in the cmd prompt as done during mapping with cmd.
net use x:\\computer name\sharename/P:Yes
- It is important to map a permanent link in case of VPNs.
The VPN, is a very personal network and can’t be legally accessed by others. Thus, this sort of server mappings are used by Defense Organizations to protect and prioritize their data that is of National importance.
Errors possible during mapping of network drive
The mapping of a network drive is sometimes very important for a server. Thus, it is also important to understand and to learn to anticipate and tackle the problems that can occur during network drive mapping. Following are the common errors and problems that are encountered during network drive mapping-
- Windows 7 map network drive missing – This error occurs when the network drive where the data is to be mapped is missing or corrupted. To tackle this sort of problem, the server can change the network drive or the PC where the network drive is being made.
- Can’t map network drive Windows 7 – This sort of error can be caused due to two reasons. Firstly, if the network is unstable and thus the mapping can’t be done correctly. To ensure correct and smooth mapping, it is important to have a stable network. Another reason why the same error might occur is if the data to be mapped exceeds the storage capacity of the network drive. To make proper mappings, we have to reduce the data size or increase the size of the network drive.
Mapping of a server data into a network drive is of utmost importance to server based networks. Thus, it is important to understand all the possibilities that can be found while mapping of the network drive.