What Are the Benefits of Drive Mapping?

By Theon Weber

Drive mapping allows users to easily access remote drives locally.
i hard drive interior image by Curtis Sorrentino from Fotolia.com

Drive mapping is a feature of some operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, that allows the user to assign a standard local drive volume letter (like C:\ or D:) to a drive on a remote machine connected to the user's computer over a network. Mapping a drive has several benefits.

Ease of Access

Drive mapping allows a Windows user to access the mapped drive quickly, through the "My Computer" interface, as if it were a local drive, and to perform tasks with it using the techniques and processes with which the user is familiar from working with local drives.


A mapped drive can remain in a user's drive tree indefinitely, allowing that user to access a remote drive whenever he wants, without having to reconnect it each time he turns on his computer (or each time the remote drive's user turns on hers). Attempting to access a mapped drive whose parent computer is off will result in a simple error message, but will not remove the mapped drive.

Network Setup

Since most casual computer users understand the drive tree but may not understand the more technical Universal Naming Convention (UNC) system for accessing remote drives, it can be very useful for a network administrator to set up a system of mapped drives for his users. Such a system requires next to no new information to be imparted to the users--they can simply use the mapped drives as if those drives were local.