Having a network drive mapped to your computer, is a widespread setup in a networked environment, particularly in an office environment. The reason for having mapped drives is really for sharing data and resources over a network.
The drive itself is typically a folder that’s shared out from a computer or device, that’s connected to that network.
Although this particular feature can be very helpful to the end user, they sometimes get disconnected for a variety of different reasons. We’ll be focusing on 3 main reasons why your mapped drive keeps disconnecting and what you can do about it.
Here are three possible reasons why:
1. Power Issues.
2. A Bad Hard Drive.
3. Networking Issues.
Let’s dive in and explore these possibilities some more.
I always like to start with the most obvious things when solving tech-related issues.
In this particular case, the most obvious fix here is to see if the device is unplugged, or not plugged in all the way. You’ll be surprised how often this happens. Another thing to check here is to see if the device can be powered on at all.
If not, then you’re dealing with a hardware issue.
It could be the power supply or the actual power cable is faulty. Using the process of elimination, start with one item at a time to get a better idea of what’s at fault. Start with the most obvious, the power cable. Get another working power cable/AC adapter, swap it out with the current “problematic power cable”, and see if that solves your issue.
If that solves your problem, then you’re done!
Pat yourself on the back for solving your mapped drive connectivity issue and grab yourself a nice slurpy. Job well done.
But of course, we all know that’s not going to be the case, 9 times out of 10. This means we need to move to the next phase of troubleshooting a possible power issue, which leads us power supply unit.
I wouldn’t recommend trying to troubleshoot a power supply unit unless you’re trying to learn a version of the electric slide. And I don’t think it’s a version you want to learn…trust me.
There’s really only one option with a faulty power supply unit, and that’s to replace it.
There are two ways to go about doing that.
First, contact the manufacturer for warranty coverage and see if they can assist in replacing the power supply. In some cases, they may even have the device replaced entirely for free because it came with warranty coverage.
By device, I mean anything that’s not a desktop computer, or server, which in most cases would be a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device. So start with this option first.
Your other option is to simply replace the faulty power supply unit. This is when the mapped drive resides on another desktop computer or server. You can try and do it yourself, or have a local tech replace it for you.
The good thing with power supply units for desktops and servers is that they’re universal and relatively simple to purchase new one.
The Drive is Bad
One of the more common causes for a network drive disconnecting is that the drive itself is bad. Like with anything else that deteriorates with usage and time, a hard drive is no exception.
Although technology has improved a lot to allow hard drives to last longer, there are still instances where they can and do fail sooner than expected.
If your computer’s hard drive is failing, this definitely would contribute to the drive’s ability to maintain a consistent connection to the remote server. Not much can be done with a drive that’s malfunctioning other than to replace it.
Just make sure to backup the data first, as best as you can before replacing the drive with a new one.
Faulty Network Adapter
The most common one here is that the drivers for your network adapter are outdated or corrupted. Check to make sure that the drivers for that network device are fully updated.
The best way to check this is in your device manager.
If you’re running Windows 11, or Windows 10, here’s the easiest way to get to your device manager:
- Right-click on the start button
- Select Device Manager (the 6th option from the top of the list)
- You’ll be presented with the following:
- Look for Network Adapters in the list, and ensure there are no exclamation signs anywhere there. Expand the list to ensure all the adapters aren’t any signs of any problems.
If all seems well, as shown here in this image, then you’re all set. Otherwise, you’ll need to download the most recent drivers and update your network adapter.
Here’s a quick video showing how to uninstall and reinstall the drivers for a network adapter.
One possible reason for a mapped drive to keep disconnecting is a bad connection between your computer and the network. This can be caused by a number of factors, including a faulty network card (network adapters we mentioned earlier), a bad ethernet cable, or even a bad port on your router.
Let’s explore each and see how we can solve one.
If you have determined that your network card is bad and is the culprit for why your mapped drive keeps disconnecting, then you will need to replace that network adapter with a working one. That is after you have gone through the troubleshooting steps I’ve laid out above, and that didn’t solve your problem.
In the event you have a NAS device, start with the manufacturer and see what’s the best way to get that part fixed. Again, many of these manufacturers will provide several years of warranty coverage for their devices, and will replace faulty devices for free. You can’t beat free.
Most desktops and servers today come with network adapters embedded on their circuit boards or motherboards. The best option for you here in the event the embedded adapter is faulty is to disable the built-in adapter and install a new internal adapter, via a PCIe slot.
In most cases, this will solve your network adapter issue.
Bad Ethernet Cable
After tinkering with all the network settings, you suspect that your networking problem is with your cable. In this case, the best method of troubleshooting is to replace that cable with a known working cable, and see if performance improves, and your mapped drive stays connected.
If performance does improve, then the solution here is pretty simple…purchase a new ethernet cable. You can pick one up at your local tech stores such as Best Buy or MicroCenter. You can also purchase them directly from Amazon.
Our routers is that device that allows us to access the internet externally. It’s also the device that allows all computers connected to it to communicate internally with each other and form what is known as a LAN (Local Area Network).
A LAN is what your mapped drive sits on, allowing all the other computers that are connected to that LAN to have access to that mapped drive. If the router is not doing its job properly or is malfunctioning, then this definitely will cause connectivity issues.
There could be several reasons for a router to malfunction:
- The router is getting old and needs to be replaced.
- One or several ports isn’t working, and that’s the one your mapped drive is connected to.
- Its DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server is causing IP address conflict.
The first place I would start is a simple reboot of the router to reset everything. Also, if other devices are connected to the router, I’d recommend rebooting those devices as well.
This one step has solved many issues dealing with the router. If that’s the case for you, then once again my friend, go grab that slurpy and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!
However, if that doesn’t solve your issue, then you, then there’s more work for you to do.
The next step would be to look at the settings of the router itself. I’ve seen cases where a hardware driver update was needed, once I logged into the web interface of the router. Once the update was done, everything was back to working normal again.
To get to the web interface of a router to see its settings, you would need to enter its IP address in your browser. To figure out what the IP address of the router is, open up a command prompt on your computer, by going to start and typing “cmd” and hitting enter.
You’ll be presented with the DOS command screen, like the one below:
Once you’re here, type the following command “ipconfig”. This is will give you the IP address of your current computer as well as the IP address for your router. What you want to look for is the word “Default Gateway”, which is your router, as seen below:
As you can see, the IP address for the Default Gateway (router) that I’m connected to here is 192.168.12.1. That’s the IP address I would enter into my web browser in order to get to the web interface of that router.
By the way, if you’re ever interested in browsing the internet anonymously without others knowing what your IP address is, using a VPN service can be a great option. Express VPN is one such service that I highly recommend. It’s easy to use and does a really good job protecting your identity while browsing online.
OK, back to the troubleshooting steps.
Before you can proceed, however, you would need to know the user and password of that router. But after reconfiguring your router and still having connection issues with your mapped drive, then your next best option is to replace the router entirely.
If your router was provided by your ISP, such as Cox Communications, Verizon, or Comcast, then check with them and have them send out a new router, or a tech to replace your router. If you have a third-party router, and you believe it is malfunctioning, you can always get a new router online at a fairly reasonable price.
Here’s a quick video on how to log into your router, summarizing what I just explained above.
While there are many reasons why your mapped drive keeps disconnecting, these 3 reasons mentioned here are some of the most common ones. Other causes are usually in some way related to either a power issue, malfunctioning hard drive, or network-related problems.
Of course, there are tons of different troubleshooting steps you can beyond the tips I’ve provided here, to solve these problems. However, if you’re not a tech-savvy person, or don’t have the patience to try and solve the issues yourself, your best bet of course to consult with a local technician to provide more advanced troubleshooting to get that mapped drive to stay connected.
Until next time, happy networking!