The Net Use command is a pretty old command that is still commonly used to connect network drives in Windows. The advantage of the Net Use command is that it allows you to quickly add, view, and delete network resources from your computer.
The command is capable of connecting to all kinds of network resources. But most of the time it’s used to connect to network shares.
In this article, we are going to take a closer look at the Net Use command. I will explain how you can view, add, and delete network shares from the cmd line.
Net Use Command
Before we are going to take a look at how to add a network drive, we first going to list the existing connections. If you simply type the command
Net Use you will get an overview of all existing network connections and their status.
Now you could also open the explorer to see all network drivers. But the advantage of Net Use is that it will also list any hidden network connections that are created with a group policy.
Open command prompt or PowerShell and type:
This will show a list of all connections and the status of the connection:
We can also view the details of each connection with
net use <driveletter>. This is really handy if you want to check if a particular network drive is currently used or you want to know more about the resource type.
# Type Net use followed by the drive letter Net Use X:
Add Network Connection with Net Use
The Net Use command is commonly used to add or remove network connections from a computer. One of the advantages of using a command for this is that you can add a drive letter after somebody logs in. Or easily create a script that will add the network connection on multiple computers.
Let’s start with simply adding a network drive to the computer. We are going to make a connection to the
\\VBoxSvr\Win11\Documents and assign the drive letter
H: to it.
\\VBoxSvr is the name of the computer or server.
Win11 is the shared folder and
Documents is a subfolder.
Net use h: \\VBoxSvr\Win11\Documents
After you have run the command you will see the drive mapping in the explorer.
You can choose any available drive letter from A to Z (c is often taken for your system drive) for shared folders and LTP1: to LTP3: for printers. It’s also possible to automatically assign a drive letter by using
* . This way the Net Use command will automatically select the highest available drive letter, starting with Z:
# Pick the first available drive letter: Net use * \\VBoxSvr\Win11\Documents
Net Use Persistent
By default, the network resources that you add with Net Use are only temporarily. After you log off or reboot the mapping will be gone. However, most of the time you want the drive mapping to be persistent.
To make a drive mapping persistent we will need to add the parameter
/persistent:yes to the command:
Net use h: \\VBoxSvr\Win11\Documents /persistent:yes # or in short: Net use h: \\VBoxSvr\Win11\Documents /p:yes
NoteAll other drive mappings that you add in the same session after you have used
/persistent:yeswill also be persistent. So to make a temporarily drive mapping after a persisitent one, you will need to use
Mapping Network Drive with different credentials
Your computer will use your current credentials when mapping a shared network folder. But often you will need to supply different credentials for the network resource. With Net Use we can supply the username and password that needs to be used to open the network resource.
It’s possible to enter the password as plain text in the command:
# Authenticate with the username VboxSrv\user1 and password Passwrd123 Net use h: \\VBoxSvr\Win11\Documents /user:VboxSrv\user1 Passwrd123 /p:yes
But another option is to use a * symbol, after which you will be prompted to enter the password:
Net use h: \\VBoxSvr\Win11\Documents /user:VboxSrv\user1 * /p:yes
The only problem with this is that the password is forgotten after a reboot. So you will need to reenter the password every time you open the network connection. We can solve this by using the parameter
There is one catch, however, to use
/savecred you must not supply the username and password. Otherwise, you get the error “A command was used with conflicting switches”. The
/savecred parameter will use the stored credentials on your computer. If it doesn’t find credentials for the connection it will ask for it:
PS C:\> net use * \\VBoxSvr\Win11 /savecred /p:yes Enter the user name for 'VBoxSvr': lazyadmin\user01 Enter the password for VBoxSvr: Drive Y: is now connected to \\VBoxSvr\Win11. The command completed successfully.
Unmap Network Drive
We can also use the Net Use command to unmap a network drive in Windows. The first step is to list the existing connections by simply typing
net use in the command prompt or PowerShell window.
Next, we can type net use followed by the drive letter that we want to remove. Instead of a drive letter, you can also supply the remote target path:
Net use Y: /delete # Or Net use \\VboxSvr\Win11 /delete
Mapping users home directory
When the user’s home directories are stored on a network share then you can easily map their home folder with the net use command. For this, you will need to have a domain with the home directory path configured in the Active Directory.
To map the user’s home folder you use the following command:
Net Use h: /home
The Net Use command is an old but useful command. I still use it often to get a quick overview of the mapped (hidden) network drives on computers or in local home networks to map a NAS for example.
When using the command, make sure that you use the
/persistent:yes parameter so the mapping stays in place after a reboot.
If you have any questions, just drop a comment below.