Drive mapping

Drive mapping

Drive mapping is how Microsoft Windows and OS/2 associate a local drive letter (A through Z) with a shared storage area to another computer over a network. After a drive has been mapped, a software application on a client's computer can read and write files from the shared storage area by accessing that drive, just as if that drive represented a local physical hard disk drive.


Alternative viewpoint #1

In Microsoft Windows and OS/2, a mapped drive is typically the place on a networked computer's hard drive that has been created/designated and given a special name. An administrator designates the drive and associates it with certain permissions of use to store information for particular users or groups. The drive can contain any data that is compatible with the existing system.

Alternative viewpoint #2

Mapped drives are hard drives, partitions or volumes, or network drives, which are always represented by names, letter(s), or number(s) and they are often followed by additional strings of data, directory tree branches, or alternate level(s) separated by a "\" symbol. Drive mapping is used to locate directories, files or objects, and applications, and is needed by the system, administrators, various other operators, and users or groups.

Mapped drives are usually assigned a letter of the alphabet after the first few taken, such as A:\, B:\, C:\, and D:\ (which is usually an optical drive unit). Then, with the drive and/or directory (letters, symbols, numbers, names, and all other components) to be mapped would be entered into the necessary location(s) and displayed as the following:

Example 1:

C:\level\next level\following level


C:\BDB60471CL\Shared Documents\Multi-Media Dept

The preceding location may reach something like a company's multi-media department's database, which logically is represented with the entire string "C:\BDB60471CL\Shared Documents\Multi-Media Dept." It is best to avoid confusing the physical devices in the system with virtual or emulated devices, and mapped drives, and doing this by reserving those areas of the hard drive and simply avoiding certain areas of the disk.

Mapping a drive can be complicated for a complex system. Network mapped drives (on LANs or WANs) are available only when the host computer is also available (i.e. online) This is a requirement for use of drives on a host. All data on various mapped drives will have certain permissions set (most newer systems) and the user will need the particular security authorizations to access it.

See also


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