How to access network shared folder on Windows 11

If you have already configured file sharing, use these steps to access the network contents from other computers.

Windows 11 access network shared folder
Windows 11 access network shared folder
  • To access network shared folder on Windows 11, open File Explorer > Network, and open the remote computer to access remote files.
  • Alternatively, open Run, type the network shared path, and click the “OK” button.
  • Another way to access the shared folder on File Explorer is to use the “Map a network drive” option to mount the folder as a drive.

If you have already file sharing configured on Windows 11, you also need to configure the remote computers to allow users to access the files remotely.

On Windows 11, network users can access the shared files in at least three ways browsing the network location, specifying the network path, or mounting the shared folder as a drive in File Explorer.

This guide will teach you the steps to access a network-shared folder on Windows 11.

Access shared folder on Windows 11

Windows 11 has at least three ways to access a shared folder through File Explorer, and here’s how.

Open shared folder browsing location

To access a shared folder from the “Network” tab on File Explorer, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer on Windows 11.

  2. Click on Network from the left pane.

  3. Double-click the computer containing the shared folder.

    Explorer networks shared

  4. Sign in with the account that grants you access to the files.

Once you complete the steps, the files in the shared folder will be accessible on Windows 11.

Typically, the account information is the credentials for users on the computer sharing files. If both devices have the same account, you can use your local account information to sign in. Also, if the shared folder has been configured not to require authentication, you won’t need to enter a username and password to access the files.

Open shared folder using network path

To access files in the network with the network location path, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for the Run command and click the top result to open the app.

  3. Type the path to the shared folder in the network.

    Run command network folder

  4. Click the OK button.

  5. Sign in with the Windows 11 account that grants you access to the shared files.

After you complete the steps, you should be able to access the shared folder’s contents on Windows 11.

Open shared folder using mount point

To mount and access a shared folder on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.

  2. Right-click on Network from the left pane and select the “Map a network drive” option.

    Map network drive

  3. Confirm the path to the shared folder:

    \\COMPUTER-NAME-IP\myShare

    In the command, replace “COMPUTER-NAME-IP” with the computer name or IP address of the remote computer hosting the shared folder. This example accesses the “myShare” folder in the 10.1.4.118 address:

    \\10.1.4.118\myShare

    Map shared folder on Windows 11

  4. Check the “Reconnect at sign-in” option.

  5. Check the “Connect using different credentials” option (if applicable).

  6. Click the Finish button.

  7. Sign in with the account that grants you access to the network share.

Once you complete the steps, the shared folder will mount as a drive, and you will be able to access the contents from the “This PC” page on Windows 11.

Fix authentication problems with shared folder

If you configure a shared folder on a computer that uses a Microsoft account, you likely won’t be able to authenticate to access the files in the network. However, you can get around this problem in two ways. You can switch from a Microsoft account to a local account and switch back to a Microsoft account. Or you can create a new local account on the source computer that you can use to authenticate and access a shared folder or connect using Remote Desktop.

In case the problem isn’t authentication, then it could be an issue with the file-sharing configuration. You can use these steps to set up a network shared folder on Windows 11.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me. Email him at [email protected].