How to configure and to troubleshoot mapped network drives that connect to SharePoint Online sites in Office 365

Introduction

This article describes how to configure mapped network drives to connect to SharePoint Online sites in Microsoft Office 365. This article also contains information about how to troubleshoot issues that affect mapped network drives.

Before you try to configure and troubleshoot the Map network drive functionality, review the features that are available in the OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client. The OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client lets users synchronize their files between File Explorer and OneDrive for Business.

For more information, go to Sync files with the OneDrive sync client in Windows.

Procedure

After you configure a mapped network drive to connect to SharePoint Online sites, you can do the following actions by using Windows Explorer:

  • Drag files into libraries

  • Create folders

  • Move and copy files

  • Delete multiple files at one time

NOTE: After you map a network drive to SharePoint Online, you must occasionally connect to the SharePoint Online site through Internet Explorer and select the option to Stay signed in. This prevents the session used by the mapped network drive from expiring. A mapped network drive that’s connected to SharePoint Online is only supported when these steps are performed within Internet Explorer. 

NOTE: When you work with a SharePoint Online mapped drive on Windows 7, the mapped drive will not stay connected if the Webclient service startup is set to 'Manual' or "Disabled" and the computer is restarted or you sign out. To maintain mapped drive connectivity, set Webclient service startup to Automatic.

Before you map a network drive, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the SharePoint Online site by using your Office 365 work or school account credentials. Make sure that you select the Stay signed in option.

  2. Open a document library in Explorer View. For example, follow these steps:

    1. From your Team Site, select Shared Documents.

    2. Under the Library Tools section in the Ribbon, click the Library tab.

    3. In the Actions group, click Open with Explorer.

Windows XP

To set up My Network Places to connect to SharePoint Online sites, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the SharePoint Online site by using your Office 365 work or school account credentials. Make sure that you select the Stay signed in option.

  2. Click Start, and then click My Network Places.

  3. Under Network Tasks, click Add a network place. The Add Network Wizard starts.

  4. On the Welcome page of the Add Network Place Wizard, click Next.

  5. Select Choose another network location, and then click Next.

  6. In the Internet or network address box, type the URL of the site to which you want to connect, and then click Next.

  7. Specify a name for the network place, and then select Next.

  8. Clear the Open this network place when I click Finish check box, and then click Finish.

Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10

To map a network drive to a SharePoint Online site, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the SharePoint Online site by using your Office 365 work or school account credentials. Make sure that you select the Stay signed in option.

  2. Right-click Computer or This PC from the Desktop or within Windows Explorer, and then click Map Network Drive.

  3. Click the Connect to a Web site that you can store your documents and pictures link, and then click Next two times.

  4. Type the site URL, click Next, and then follow the instructions in the wizard. For example, type https://contoso.sharepoint.com.

To map a network drive to a SharePoint Online library, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the SharePoint Online site by using your Office 365 work or school account credentials. Make sure that you select the Stay signed in option.

  2. Browse to the library that you want to map the drive for.

  3. Click the LIBRARY tab on the ribbon, and then click Open with Explorer.

  4. Click in an empty area of the Explorer window address bar, and then copy the URL of the library.

  5. Right-click Computer or This PC from the Desktop, or within Windows Explorer, and then click Map Network Drive.

  6. Click the Connect to a Web site that you can store your documents and pictures link, and then click Next two times.

  7. Paste the URL that you copied in step 4, click Next, and then follow the instructions in the wizard.

Troubleshoot mapped network drive error messages

When you browse to a mapped network drive, you may receive an error message that resembles the following:

\\Path is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the administrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions.

Access Denied. Before opening files in this location, you must first add the web site to your trusted site list, browse to the web site, and select the option to login automatically'

NOTE: For Internet Explorer 10 with Windows 8 or Windows 7, install the hotfix to resolve this problem. Go to Error when you open a SharePoint Document Library in Windows Explorer or map a network drive to the library after you install Internet Explorer 10.

Authenticate to Office 365

Make sure that you're authenticated to Office 365. To do this, follow these steps in Internet Explorer:
 Sign in to the SharePoint Online site by using your Office 365 work or school account credentials, and make sure that you select the Stay signed in option as seen in the following screen shot:

stay signed in

NOTE: After you map a network drive to SharePoint Online, you must occasionally connect to the SharePoint Online site by using Internet Explorer and select the Stay signed in option. This prevents the session that's used by the mapped network drive from expiring. A mapped network drive that’s connected to SharePoint Online is only supported when these steps are performed within Internet Explorer.

If you previously didn’t check the Stay signed in option and then browse to a SharePoint Online site or the Office 365 portal and you're already signed in, you must first sign out, and then sign in again by using the Stay signed in option. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. In the Office 365 ribbon, click the drop-down arrow next to your user name.

  2. Click Sign out.

  3. Close all browser windows.

  4. Browse to the Office 365 portal.

  5. Select the Stay signed in option, enter your Office 365 work or school account credentials, and then click Sign in (if it’s necessary).

  6. Open a document library in Explorer View.

  7. Try to access the mapped network drive.

Add your SharePoint Online sites to trusted sites

Make sure that the SharePoint Online URLs have been added to your Trusted sites zone in Internet Explorer. To do this, follow these steps:
 

  1. Start Internet Explorer.

  2. Depending on your version of Internet Explorer, take one of the following actions:

    • Click the Tools menu, and then click Internet options.

    • Click the gear icon, and then click Internet options.


      internet options

  3. Click the Security tab, click Trusted sites, and then click Sites.

    Screen shot of the Security tab in Internet Options

  4. In the Add this website to the zone box, type the URL for the SharePoint Online site that you want to add to the Trusted sites zone, and then click Add. For example, type https://contoso.sharepoint.com. (Here, the placeholder contoso represents the domain that you use for your organization.) Repeat this step for any additional sites that you want to add to this zone.

    The Trusted Sites dialog box

  5. After you have added each site to the Websites list, click Close, and then click OK.


Check the status of the WebClient service

To keep the connection after you restart the computer, make sure that the WebClient service is running. (Be aware that the cookie will eventually time out.) To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Follow the appropriate step for your operating system:

    • For Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, click Start, click Run, type services.msc, and then press Enter.

    • For Windows 8, click Start, type services.msc, and then press Enter.

  2. In the list of services, locate the WebClient service, and then make sure that its status in the Status column is set to Started. If it isn't set to Started, double-click the WebClientservice, click Start, and then click OK.

Make sure that the latest Windows updates are applied. If all the latest updates are applied, and the issue persists, make sure that the WebClient service is running.

NOTE: If the Startup Type for the WebClient service is set to Disabled, the map network drive functionality won't work correctly and you'll be unable to start the service. To enable the service, within the WebClient Properties dialog box, click the drop-down dialog for the Startup type: setting and then select either Manual or Automatic. After you complete this step, click Apply, click Start to start the service, and then click OK.

Troubleshoot slower-than-expected mapped network drive performance on Windows 8-based or Windows Server 2012-based computers

When you browse to a SharePoint Online document library through a mapped network drive, you may experience an issue in which the enumeration of the files and directories is slower than expected. A hotfix was released to resolve this issue. For more info, go to Slow performance when you connect to a WebDAV shared folder in Windows 8 or Window Server 2012.

More Information

For more info about how to work with the WebClient service, go to the following Microsoft Knowledge Base articles:

For more info about ways to work with site library files in File Explorer, go to Ways to work with site library files in File Explorer.

Still need help? Go to the Microsoft Community.

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