What is a Network Drive?


Updated: 04/02/2019 by Computer Hope

A network drive or mapped drive is a drive, NAS, or share on another computer or server on the same network (e.g., LAN). For example, when utilizing a corporate network, you may access company or customer information on a network drive. Because all employees need the same information, it’s better to store it on a network drive instead of a local drive, which is only accessible to the user of the computer.

Tip: With the popularity of cloud computing and more people working remotely, many people now also use cloud storage solutions like Dropbox.

Local drive, network drive, and mapped drive

Although a local drive, network drive, and mapped drive are all considered drives, they each have unique differences.

A local drive is a drive (internal or external) that is connected to your computer. Although these drives could be shared, by default, they’re only accessible to the user of the computer. Below is a good example of a local drive path of the Windows directory on the C: drive (primary hard drive).


A network drive is any drive only accessible over a network. Unless mapped (explained below), the network drive is only accessible by entering the network path. On a Windows computer, a network path may resemble the example below. In the example, “hope” is the server name and “help” is a shared folder on that server.


Finally, a mapped drive is a networked drive that has been assigned a drive letter. For example, you may map a network drive to the H: drive in Windows. After the drive has been mapped, when looking at available drives you’ll see an H: drive that looks like all other drives on your computer. Accessing the H: drive would open the network path.

What are the advantages of a network drive?

Below is a list of the reasons why it is better to use a network drive instead of a local drive.

  • A network drive and its files can be shared with many people.
  • Permissions can be used to specify the people you want to be able to view or edit the files.
  • Network drives are a central storage location that makes them easier to backup and mirror.
  • NAS and SAN solutions can make adding storage easier.

What are the disadvantages of a network drive?

While there are more advantages to network drives than disadvantages, there are still a few that are listed below.

  • Network drives require a network. If your network goes down, all files on the network drive are inaccessible.
  • Being a central location with multiple users increases the possibility of accidental deletion, modification, hacking, or infection.
  • Anyone with access to the drive could copy or move all its data to an alternate location.

Drive, Drobo, Local drive, Mount, NAS, Network, Network terms, SAN

submit to reddit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Web Design BangladeshWeb Design BangladeshMymensingh