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Here’s Why You Can’t Open Your Network Drive | And How To Solve It

Are you having trouble accessing your network drive?  For whatever reason, you can’t open your network drive that’s been shared out to your computer.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Many people encounter this issue from time to time and it can be quite frustrating.  In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why you might be having difficulty opening your network drive and what steps you can take to resolve the problem.

But first, let’s start with the basics, and define exactly what’s a network drive.

A network drive is essentially a storage device that’s connected to a computer network.  It allows multiple users to access files and folders from any location within the network.  This could be a shared folder from another local computer on the network, a server, or even a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device.

There could be a variety of reasons why you’re unable to open your network drive.  It could be anything from connectivity issues to permission settings and more.  So let’s jump into the more common ones and provide some solutions along with it.

Incorrect Login Credentials

User credentials - can't open your network drive

This happens more than you would expect.

From my experience, this is more for the administrator of that network drive than it is for you as the local user.  I’ve seen in many cases where a password for the account has expired and the user has either forgotten that the password has expired or doesn’t remember what the new password is.

So that’s something you want to check first, that you are in fact typing the correct password.  If your password was recently changed and you don’t remember what the new password is, then you want to ask the Administrator of your network to change your password.

If you are the administrator and don’t remember what the password is, then that’s a whole other issue that needs to be addressed.

If you’re a server administrator, and you don’t remember the login password, you would have to boot your server using the OS boot media.  This could either be a CD or ISO file on a USB drive.

 

If you’re not on a server, then check carefully for any typos or capitalization errors that you might be typing.  If you still can’t log in, then you may need to reset the password on the device that’s housing the network drive.  In many cases, this can be done via third-party software that can reset local computer passwords.

Again, your password might have expired and needs to be updated.  So, verify to check if that’s the case or not.

Network Connectivity Issues

Computer network - can't open your network drive

One of the most common reasons for not being able to open your network drive is poor network connectivity.

If there are issues with your network connection, accessing files on a network drive may take longer, and in more severe cases, no connectivity altogether.  One of the most obvious signs there’s an issue connecting because of network issues is, you’ll see a red X next to the drive to indicate it’s inaccessible. 

That is usually caused by some network connectivity interference of some kind.

To troubleshoot this issue, I usually start with the local computer, to ensure it has a solid connection to the network.  This can be either wired (using an Ethernet cable) or wireless, via a wireless router.

One of the easiest ways to determine this if you’re having connectivity issues is to look in the system tray area on the lower right hand of the screen.  There’s an icon there that’ll tell you the status of your connection.  It’s usually right next to the sound/speaker icon. 

Simply hover your mouse over the monitor-looking icon if you’re connected via Ethernet, or over the brackets if you’re connected via wirelessly.

If you don’t have an internet connection, it’ll say “No Internet Access”, or you will likely see a globe-looking icon.

Another way you can test your connectivity status is by using the command prompt.  Simply type “cmd” in the search box, next to the start button on a Windows OS computer.  Upon doing so, you will be presented with the following window.

Command Prompt - You Can't Open Your Network Drive

At the prompt, you want to test if your computer is getting a valid IP address.  What you want to type here is “ipconfig”, and hit Enter.  This will give you the IP address your computer is assigned, particularly if it was assigned temporarily by your router.  This temporary assignment of an IP address is known as DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol).

Upon hitting Enter, you should be presented with a local IP address similar to the one below.

DOS screen - can't open your network drive

This will indicate that you are receiving a valid IP address and that your computer is successfully communicating with your local router.  If you don’t receive a valid IP address, then you would have to troubleshoot the router

Start by powering down the router for a few minutes and powering it back up again.

The last command that you want to give is a ping command to the device you’re having issues connecting to.  So let’s say your network drive is on a server, then send a ping to that server.  You can use either the server name or its IP address. 

For best results, ping its IP address.

If your device is communicating successfully with that server, then you should get 4 replies back.  Below I’ve pinged Google’s server and it gave me back 4 replies, which means I can successfully access Google’s server where their website is hosted.

In your case, replace the IP address with your local server’s IP address, where I put Google’s IP as an example.

Command Prompt - can't open your network drive

If you’re not getting 4 replies, again there’s a disconnect somewhere between your computer and the router.  Power down the router and power it back up again

Another potential issue could be that the server hosting the network drive is down or undergoing maintenance.

If this is the case, try restarting your computer, and yes reboot your router. 

As a last resort, try rebooting the server

Just keep in mind there could be users connected to that server and may lose their work during the reboot.  So ensure to announce that you are rebooting the server before doing anything.

This might help resolve any connectivity problems between your computer and the server hosting the network drive.  And if you haven’t already, make sure all cables are securely connected and there are no loose wires disrupting connectivity.

Permissions and Access Rights

It’s possible you no longer have access to that drive because your rights have been revoked.

The admin might have taken you out of the access group of that network drive.  This could have been by accident because of an update, or it was done on purpose because it was determined that you as the user no longer needed to have access.

This is for environments where the network is being monitored and controlled by an admin other than yourself.

If you are in fact the local admin, then you would need to check within Active Directory if you’re on a Windows server.  Or set the shared drive to be accessed by everyone on your network, if it’s a local computer or a NAS device.

This is usually a simple fix.

Drive Mapping Errors

Usually, when this occurs, it’s best to disconnect that drive and remap it again.

If you’re on a server, there are a few ways this can be resolved.  First, if you’re in a domain controller environment where everything is running and controlled by the server, which plays the role of a domain controller, then one of the first things that can be done is to remove the computer from the domain and re-add it.

Here’s a video demonstrating how to remove a computer from a local domain.


Another way to solve this issue is to disconnect that network drive and re-map it again.  To do so, open Windows Explorer, and select “This Computer” on the left side.  This gives you all the drives that are available to you.  Look for the network drive that you’re having issues connecting to, right-click on it, and select Disconnect or Remove.

Once the drive has been removed from your computer, go ahead and try to remap it.

 The fastest way to do that is to press the Windows key and R at the same time.  You will be presented with the Run command window.

Run Command - can't open your network drive

On this Window, type the command to find the computer or device the network drive is on.  You can use the machine name or the IP address of that device.  So let’s say its on a server, and the server’s name is “Server”, I know not very descriptive.

What you would type in this case to bring up the server’s folders is \\server and press Enter.

Run Command to find server - can't open your network drive

This will bring up the folders on that server, so you can remap the one that you need.  To remap the folder to your computer, open a new Windows Explorer and select This PC again.  At the top of the Window, you will see a tab that says Computer, click on that.

You should be able to see the Map Network Drive option listed there.  Select that option to start mapping the drive again.

Final Thoughts

Not being able to access your network drive can definitely be a real pain.  From my experience, the examples given here are the typical causes for not being able to connect to your network drive.  If it’s not exactly what I’ve mentioned here, it’s usually a combination of them.

Try a few of these troubleshooting tips, and I’m sure you’ll be able to get back access to your network drive.  If you’re still having issues, feel free to contact us, and we’ll help you to get back access to your drive.

 


Tags

Computer Network, network drive, network server, Router, Server


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