How to Map a Storage Device to a Folder in Windows - dummies

How to Map a Storage Device to a Folder in Windows

By Dan Gookin

You can disguise storage media as folders. Why? Consider that your hard drive is getting full. You added a second hard drive to create more room, but you keep forgetting to use it. What if you could turn the entire hard drive into a folder on drive C? That way, it would be easier to reference, access, and use the hard drive’s contents.

To map a storage device to a folder, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel.

  2. Open the Administrative Tools window.

    • In Windows 7, choose System and Security and then choose Administrative Tools.

    • In Windows Vista, choose System and Maintenance and then choose Administrative Tools.

    • In Windows XP, open the Administrative Tools icon.

  3. In the Administrative Tools window, open the Computer Management icon.

    In Windows Vista, click Continue or type the administrator’s password.

    The Computer Management window appears.


  4. On the left side of the window, choose Disk Management.

    It’s beneath the Storage heading.

  5. Right-click the icon representing the storage device you want to map to a folder.

  6. Choose the command Change Drive Letter or Path from the shortcut menu.

  7. Click the Add button.

    The Change Drive Letter or Paths dialog box appears.


  8. Click the Browse button.

    The Browse for Drive Path dialog box appears. It’s not totally unfriendly, but it assumes that you know where things are on the hard drive. Here’s some helpful info:

    • Your personal folder, the User Profile folder, is located beneath the Users folder in Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

    • In Windows XP, your personal folder is found in the Documents and Settings folder.

    • Your personal folder has the same name as your account name.

  9. Use the Browse for Drive Path dialog box to locate the mounting point for the drive.

  10. If you already set up an empty folder as the mounting point, skip to Step 9.

  11. Click the New Folder button and create a new, empty folder.

    The empty folder serves as the location where Windows will mount the disk drive or storage media.

  12. Click OK to set the folder you selected.

    Back in the Change Drive Letter and Paths dialog box, you see the full, technical pathname to the folder that’s listed.

  13. Click OK.

The storage media is now linked to the folder you specified. When you open the folder, you see the contents of the storage media’s root folder displayed, but the pathname on the Address bar reflects the new folder you created.

You can add multiple mounting points for a single drive letter. Simply repeat the steps to map the drive to another folder. A single hard drive, for example, can be mapped into several locations.

To dismount the storage media from its linked folder, repeat Steps 1 through 3. In the Change Drive letter and Paths dialog box, select a pathname and click the Remove button. Click the Yes button to confirm.

  • Removing a disk drive’s mounting point from a folder doesn’t delete the folder. In fact, you can use that empty folder again to reattach the disk drive or storage media in the first place.

  • The storage media can still be accessed from its drive letter just as before; mounting the drive (or whatever storage media) in a folder doesn’t erase the drive from the Computer/My Computer window.

  • The old word for attaching a disk drive to a folder was join. DOS featured a join command. In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, the term is junction.