How To Connect to Shared Folders Over the Network (on a Domain) in Windows Server 2003

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Article ID: 323386 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q323386
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SUMMARY

This step-by-step guide describes how users can connect to shared folders on a computer in a Windows Server 2003 domain. A computer running Windows Server 2003 can function in either a domain environment with centralized security and management or as a stand-alone computer. If a computer running Windows Server 2003 is configured as a stand-alone computer, it can join other stand-alone computers in a workgroup. One of the main reasons to do this is to share files and folders over the network.

This articles assumes that the computers are running TCP/IP as the network protocol.

How to Connect to Network Shared Folders

After a folder has been shared, users on other computers can connect to the folder over the network. When users connect to a share, they can:
  • Open files
  • Save files
  • Delete files
  • Create, modify, and delete folders
  • Perform other tasks
The operations that users can carry out depend on the level of permissions the users have been granted. There are several ways to open shares on another computer:
  • My Network Places
  • Universal Naming Convention (UNC)
  • Mapped network drive

How to Connect to a Shared Folder by Using My Network Places

  1. Open My Network Places. To do so, click Start, click My Computer, and then click My Network Places under Other Places. Or, start Windows Explorer, and then click My Network Places.
  2. Click Entire Network.
  3. Double-click Microsoft Windows Network, and then double-click DomainName, where DomainName is the name of your domain.
  4. Double-click ComputerName, where ComputerName is the name of the computer that contains the files that you want to access.

    A list of shared folders and printers on that computer is displayed.
  5. Double-click the shared folder to which you want to gain access.

    If your user account has permission to access this share, you can see the subfolders and files in that shared folder. What you can do with those subfolders and files depends on the level of permission that you have been granted.

How to Connect to a Shared Folder by Using Universal Naming Convention (UNC) Format

  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. In the Open box, type the share name by using the following UNC format, where ComputerName is the name of the computer to which you are trying to connect and ShareName is the name of the shared folder on that computer:
    \\ComputerName\ShareName
  3. Click OK.

    If you are prompted to do so, type the user name and password that you have to use to gain access to the computer.

    The contents of the shared folder are displayed.

How to Connect to a Shared Folder by Using a Mapped Network Drive

  1. Start Windows Explorer.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Map Network Drive.
  3. In the Drive box, click the drive letter that you want to use for this mapped drive. You cannot use any of the drive letters that your computer currently uses.
  4. In the Folder box, type the name of the share to which you want to connect by using Universal Naming Convention (UNC) format, where ComputerName is the name of the computer to which you are trying to connect, and ShareName is the name of the shared folder on that computer:
    \\ComputerName\ShareName
    You can also map drives to subfolders of the shared folder. For example:
    \\ComputerName\ShareName\SubfolderName
    Or, you can click Browse, and then locate the computer to which you want to connect, the share on that computer, and optionally the subfolder in that share.

  5. Click Finish.

Notes About Connecting to Shared Folders

  • By default, Windows tries to reconnect mapped drives the next time that you log on. If you do not want to reconnect to the mapped drive the next time that you log on (for example, if you want this mapped drive to be effective only for your current logon session), click to clear the Reconnect at Logon check box.
  • By default, you are connected to the remote computer using the logon credentials that you are currently using. If you want to use other credentials, click Connect using a different user name, and then type the appropriate user name and password to connect to the network resource.
  • The mapped drive that you create is visible in the Folders pane in Windows Explorer, and so are all the other drives on your computer. You can access the files in the shared folder through any program on your computer by using the mapped drive letter.

Troubleshooting

You Cannot Connect to a Server by Using a Computer Name

When you type \\computername in the Open box, you may receive an error message that indicates that the network path was not found. This behavior can be caused by a number of issues that are related to network connectivity and name resolution.

Try these steps to determine whether your computer can communicate on the network:
  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. In the Open box, type cmd, and then click OK.
  3. At the command prompt, type ping ComputerName, where ComputerName is the name of the computer to which you want to connect, and then press ENTER. You receive one of the following responses:
    • Unknown Host: This indicates that your computer cannot determine the IP address of the computer from the computer name that you typed. Check the configuration for your WINS and DNS services to make sure that you can use these services to translate computer names to IP addresses.
    • The IP address of the computer to which you want to connect followed by four "Request timed out" messages: This indicates that name resolution is working, but you cannot communicate with the remote computer. Investigate possible network connectivity issues between your computer and the computer you are communicating with, such as broken or disconnected cables or problems with hubs and switches. There may also be issues with the IP address configuration on either your computer or the computer to which you want to connect.
    • The IP address of the computer you are connecting to followed by four "Reply from IP Address" messages: This indicates that TCP/IP communication between the two computers is working. Determine whether the Server service is running on the computer to which you want to connect.

You Do Not See the Computer That You Are Trying to Connect to in My Network Places

My Network Places collects its data from the Browser service, which relies on periodic announcements from computers on your network. If you do not see a computer in My Network Places, the computer may have been recently restarted. As a result, the computer may not appear on the browse list. You can either wait for the browse list to automatically update (typically within a few minutes), or use one of the other methods discussed earlier in this article to connect to the remote computer.

Properties

Article ID: 323386 - Last Review: December 3, 2007 - Revision: 6.4
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, 64-Bit Datacenter Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition
Keywords: 
kbmgmtservices kbfile kbhowtomaster KB323386

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