Connect Network Drives on a PC

This walk-through is for users who want to interact with their network drives (H: and S:) from an off-campus Windows computer. When you're using a University-owned computer, these connections are automatically made at logon. If your connection isn't working or disappears, submit an ITicket to the IT Help Desk so our tech support staff can fix it for you.

A much more straightforward tool for accessing network drive files is WebStorage; navigate to and login with your Valpo credentials. See the page Use WebStorage for instructions. The downside to this approach is that to modify a file you must first download it, then work on it, and finally re-upload it, replacing the original. It's a great solution for accessing files on your H: or S: drive at a conference, where you don't need to save changes. Mapping network drives allows you to work on files in a Windows File Explorer window, just as you do on campus.

If you are on-campus or in an active VPN session and simply need the direct file path for the S: or H: drive, here are the paths that you would enter within the address bar of the File Explorer:

For S: Drive - \\\data2

For H: Drive:

Students - \\\data3\STUHOME\%username%

Faculty - \\\data3\fac_home\%username%

Staff - \\\data3\staff_home\%username%

This is also a quick way to reconnect your network drives if they spontaneously drop off from the "This PC" menu contents within the File Explorer on Windows 10/11 machines.  An example of where to paste these paths is shown below:

VPN Required

NOTE: This article assumes that you've first established a Virtual Private Network (VPN) link to campus. A constant VPN connection must be maintained in order to avoid losing work on the H: or S: drives when working off-campus. If you need help setting up a VPN connection on a Windows computer, follow the instructions on the Run VPN Client as an App on Windows 10 page.

Step-by-step guide

  1. First open a Windows File Explorer Window by clicking on the "This PC" icon on your desktop or the taskbar icon shown below:

  2. In File Explorer, right-click on This PC and choose Map network drive...  In the resulting window, choose "H:" or "S:" from the drop-down menu, as shown below. Note that if your personal computer already has another disk that uses one or both of those drive letters, you can choose a different letter. Drive letter assignment is arbitrary and has no impact on the function of the network drive. We're just choosing the appropriate letter in this tutorial for clarity.

  3. In the text box, type the universal naming convention (UNC) path to the network drive you want to connect to. For faculty and staff attempting to connect to the S: drive, this is \\\data2 (be sure to include the double backslash at the beginning of this string, and to ensure that the slashes go the correct direction! The backslash key is the one above the Enter key). To connect to the H: drive, repeat steps 1-3, but enter \\\data3\fac_home\%username% if you are a faculty member or \\\data3\staff_home\%username% if you are a staff member in the UNC path box. Students needing to map network drives will use \\\data3\STUHOME\%username%.

    You must replace %username% with your own Valpo username!
  4. This is the most critical step! Failure to complete this will result in a failed connection. Do not click the Finish button until you have checked the box that reads "Connect using different credentials." Unless you're using a University-issued computer, you don't log into your own machine with your ValpoNet account. The Map Network Drive utility needs to use your Valpo credentials to make the connection or it'll be unsuccessful. Whether you want each drive to reconnect at sign-in is up to you. Checking this box tells Windows that it should reconnect H: and/or S: each time you log into your personal computer, but it won't be able to until you've started your VPN connection. So every time you log in to Windows, you'll see a dialog box telling you that the connection to the network drive has failed. Once you VPN in to campus, you can click on the drive letter in Windows Explorer and your files will appear. If you don't check the Reconnect at sign-in box, you'll have to repeat this process every time you want to access H: or S: from off-campus.

  5. Entering your credentials: Be absolutely certain to type Valpo\ before you enter your ValpoNet username! If you don't, the connection won't be made. By doing this, you're telling the Map Network Drive tool that you're using a domain account hosted by the University, rather than an account on your personal computer. Enter your username as shown below, along with your ValpoNet password, and click Finish.

Still need help?

For additional assistance, contact the IT Help Desk.