How to Use the Net Use Command in Windows

Imagine you have a digital toolbox on your Windows computer that helps you create connections between your PC and other resources, like network drives or printers. Essential for any toolkit is a command that’s like a Swiss Army knife for networking—this is where the “net use” command comes in. The net use command can link your PC to shared drives and folders across a network, allowing for easy file sharing and access. Even if you’re not tech-savvy, understanding how to use this command can boost your productivity and streamline your workflow.

how to use the net use command in windows

Connecting to Network Drives

There’s a popular network task that involves using shared resources, such as documents or printers, which are stored on other computers or servers. The “net use” command allows you to connect to these shared drives easily.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Start by opening the Command Prompt. You can do this by typing “cmd” in the Windows search bar, then clicking on the Command Prompt application.
  2. Type the following command: net use X: \ComputerNameSharedFolder (replace “X” with the drive letter you want to assign and “ComputerNameSharedFolder” with the actual network path).
  3. Press Enter, and if required, enter the username and password that has access to the network resource.
  4. You should now see a message indicating that the command completed successfully, which means the network drive is now connected and will appear in ‘This PC’ as a new drive.

Connecting to network drives using the “net use” command streamlines the process of accessing shared resources. However, remember that using incorrect credentials or paths can lead to connection errors.

Disconnecting Network Drives

Sometimes, you need to disconnect a network drive to manage your connections or troubleshoot.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Open the Command Prompt as before.
  2. Type net use X: /delete (replace “X” with the letter of the drive you want to disconnect).
  3. Press Enter, and you’ll be prompted to confirm the disconnection; type “Y” for yes.
  4. After completion, the assigned drive letter will no longer appear in ‘This PC’.

Disconnecting network drives when they’re no longer needed is a good practice. It avoids clutter and potential security risks but be careful not to disconnect drives in use by others or by certain programs.

Mapping Persistent Network Drives

You might want connections to remain even after a reboot. Making network drives persistent ensures they reconnect at login.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Open the Command Prompt.
  2. Type net use X: \ComputerNameSharedFolder /persistent:yes and replace the placeholders with the appropriate drive letter and network path.
  3. Press Enter and, if prompted, provide the necessary credentials.
  4. The network drive is now persistent and will reconnect every time you log in.

Persistent network drives are incredibly convenient, eliminating the need to reconnect every session. The downside is if the network path changes or becomes unavailable, it might slow down the login process.

Viewing Active Network Connections

Curious about which network resources your computer is connected to? You can get a list using the “net use” command.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt.
  2. Type net use and press Enter.
  3. A list of all active connections, including mapped drives and their statuses, will be displayed.

Viewing active network connections helps you stay organized and can aid in troubleshooting connection issues. However, understanding the displayed information may be a bit daunting for beginners.

Troubleshooting with Net Use

Facing connection issues? The “net use” command can help troubleshoot by providing error messages.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt.
  2. Run the same connection command you’ve had trouble with.
  3. Carefully read the error code and message that may appear if the connection fails.
  4. Look up the error code for detailed information on how to resolve the issue.

Knowing how to troubleshoot can save you from frustration. Error messages can be obscure, so you might still need to seek help if the solution isn’t obvious.

Automating Connections with Batch Files

For routine connections, you can automate the process using a batch file containing “net use” commands.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Open Notepad.
  2. Type your “net use” command(s) into Notepad.
  3. Save the file with a .bat extension.
  4. Double-click the batch file to run your “net use” command(s) automatically.

Batch files save time but handle them with care—incorrect commands can cause unexpected network issues. Always test batch files in a controlled environment first.

Using Net Use with Different Credentials

Accessing network resources sometimes requires different user credentials. The “net use” command lets you specify these credentials.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt.
  2. Type net use X: \ComputerNameSharedFolder /user:UserName and input the appropriate drive letter, network path, and username.
  3. When prompted, enter the password for the user account.
  4. Your connection will be established using the provided credentials.

This approach is secure and allows for accessing multiple resources across various permissions levels, but managing numerous credentials can be complex.

Accessing Hidden Shares with Net Use

Network shares that are not generally visible can also be accessed with the “net use” command.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt.
  2. Type net use X: \ComputerNameHiddenShare$ (replace the placeholders).
  3. Enter credentials if prompted.
  4. The hidden share is now accessible through the specified drive letter.

Using hidden shares can be an added security measure, though it’s also more complex and can complicate access for less experienced users.

Importing/Exporting Network Profiles

Network settings for connected drives can be exported to a file and then imported to another computer.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Use the “net use” command to establish connections as you want them.
  2. Export your network settings through Windows settings or a third-party application.
  3. Import these settings on another computer to replicate the network setup.

This functionality is beneficial for standardizing network connections but requires additional tools or settings manipulations which might not be straightforward for beginners.

Checking Connection Status

Sometimes, you simply need to verify that you’re still connected to the network resource.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt.
  2. Type net use to list all network connections.
  3. Look for the relevant drive letter and check if it says “OK” next to its status.

Regularly checking connections can prevent disruption of work due to lost connections, although constantly monitoring might not always be practical.

In conclusion, the “net use” command is a versatile tool that, once mastered, unlocks efficient network resource management. By following the steps outlined in each section, you can seamlessly integrate its use into your daily routine, boosting your networking skills and productivity. With practice, the intimidating code-like syntax will become second nature, although an occasional hiccup is to be expected in any tech-related endeavor.


1. Can I use the ‘net use’ command to connect to any kind of network resource?
Yes, you can generally use it to connect to any network resource that’s shared and that your user account has permission to access.

2. Do I need special permission to execute the ‘net use’ command?
If you’re planning to access restricted or administrative shares, you’ll need the appropriate permissions for those particular resources.

3. How do I know if my ‘net use’ command was successful?
After entering the command, you’ll either receive a confirmation message that the operation was successful or an error message with details if it failed.

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