Drive mapping: Frequently Asked Questions

What is drive mapping?

It is the process of associating a storage device (a.k.a., a "drive") to a computing device.  For example, mapping is necessary to associate your personal home directory, and any shared directories, with the personal computer you are using. 

Mapping isn't required for drives that are physically attached to your computer because they are automatically "found" by your computer.  For a general explanation of drive mapping, click here.

When does drive mapping happen?

If you use a Windows computer on the medical campus, connected by a "wire" (Ethernet cable), drive mapping occurs automatically when you start the computer and log in.  This is done by using a small program -- often referred to as a "script" -- that runs as part of the login process and issues the appropriate mapping commands, or because a drive mapping is specified in your directory profile.

If you use a Windows computer, but access the campus network using a wireless connection, you may have to map drives "manually."  (Some of our wireless connections are automatic in this regard; others are not.)  Manual mapping is also required when you use a Windows computer from a remote location, like your home. 

Mac systems must be manually mapped, regardless of how or where they connect to the campus network.  (You can't do scripting on a Mac.)

How do you map a drive if you have to do it "manually"?

The process requires telling your personal computer the "address" of the drive you want to map.  There are different steps to map drives for Windows XP and Mac OS.  (Click on the links to see the details.) 

Alternatively, you can contact the Help Desk and a support specialist will walk you through the steps (or perform them remotely so you don't even have to type or move your mouse).

Is there any way to get around manual mapping when accessing the network wirelessly or from a remote location?

Yes.  You can use the Citrix Applications Portal.  When you log in to Citrix, your drives are automatically mapped if you are using a Windows system.  Mac users still have to do manual mapping, even for Citrix.

Note that VPN connections -- such as Secure Gateway  -- require manual mapping.

Is mapping all that is required to access a drive that's not connected to my computer?

No.  Mapping is necessary, but not sufficient.  You must also have rights to access the particular drive.   Everyone has automatic rights to access their own home directory, as you might expect.  But permission to access a shared directory must be requested when an account is created or subsequently. 

Requests to grant access to shared drives should also be directed to the Help Desk.  The request must come from the "owner" of the shared directory,

What if I'm still confused about drive mapping, even after reading these FAQs?

Contact the Help Desk.  Drive mapping is, unfortunately, one of those parts of using networked computers that can be complex and cumbersome.  Let us walk you through the steps to get the access you need.