A network-connected hard drive, also known as NAS (Network Attached Storage), is a great way to expand your PC’s storage while also making it accessible to other devices and users in your home or office. You’ll need to add your new device to Windows 10 so you can access your files once it’s connected to your network (network share).
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How to connect to a network share in Windows 10
To open File Explorer, press Win + E on your keyboard to open a new window from your desktop. You’ll be taken to either the Quick Access or This PC screens, depending on your File Explorer settings. Navigate to This PC in the left sidebar if you haven’t already done so.
In the “Network” section of the ribbon control strip at the top of the window, click the “Map network drive” button. You can configure your drive connection in the popup window that appears.
Fill in the “Folder” input first. Because it isn’t asking for a real folder, this may be a little perplexing. You’ll need to know your hard drive’s network address as well as the name of the “share” folder you’re connecting to. The former is usually your network device’s IP address. You’ll most likely have configured the latter while setting up your network hard drive; if you get stuck, consult the documentation.
Fill in the share address in the format shown in the example. The correct path is “192.168.0.254TP-NAS” because we’re connecting to a share called “TP-NAS” on the network device 192.168.0.254.
Select a drive letter for the device from the dropdown menu before proceeding. When you add a network share to Windows, it appears as if it were a regular hard drive or USB flash drive. The identifying letter it will receive within the system is determined by the drive letter. From anywhere in Windows, you can use the drive letter to refer to the drive in file paths.
Last but not least, pay attention to the two checkboxes. You should probably leave “Reconnect at sign-in” selected; otherwise, you’ll have to reconnect to the share manually every time you start your computer.
It’s more interesting to “Connect using different credentials.” If your network drive is password-protected, leaving this turned off will attempt to login using your Windows username and password. This box should be checked if your network drive has a different username or password configured. After you click “Finish,” you’ll be able to enter your username and password.
To add your network share, click “Finish.” You’ll be prompted to enter your network drive’s username and password if you’re connecting with the different credentials option enabled. To avoid having to login every time you access the drive, check the “Remember my credentials” box.
That concludes our discussion. After a few moments, Windows should open a new File Explorer window with the contents of the drive displayed. If you go back to This PC, the drive will appear under “Network locations.” You can now access files on the drive by typing its share path (which you entered when connecting to it) or the drive letter you assigned it. Simply right-click the drive in File Explorer and select “Disconnect” to disconnect.