How to Map a Drive Letter to a SharePoint Library

Sean wrote an interesting how-to that sparked a bit of discussion between him and I on SharePoint best practices – primarily because I love being able to map a drive letter to a network resource in order to make finding what I want easier, and wanted to know why it wasn’t best practice. Here’s the steps for setting this up, and his comments on why you don’t really want to do this:

Note: I’m not endorsing this.  But this is how it is done, when the solution fits the problem.

  1. Click Map Network Drive in “My Computer” or explorer
  2. Pick your favourite letter – Cookie Monster prefers the letter C
  3. Paste in the path of the Document Library in SharePoint (for safety sake, be sure to specify a library and not the whole site or expect heartache later (for example: https://go.myportal.com/mysites/mylibrary)

Windows handles the rest, setting it to the path it needs to deliver it, in this case: \go.myportal.org@SSLmysitesmylibrary

That’s the How: (pretty easy, right?) – now for the Why Not:

    • Users can point and click/delete things:

Makes sense – the chances of your library getting accidentally cleaned out on a misclick are just too great – much better (and safer) to train your users to use SharePoint properly.

    • Viruses can see/use network drives:

This is a pretty big security hole, and is enough to scare me away from mapping drives to SharePoint Libraries and leaving them there. Not to say, of course, that there aren’t uses for mapping libraries to drives, but it shouldn’t be the go-to solution for all users. Explorer View is still your best friend if you need to move a lot of files at once.

  • Users aren’t using SharePoint properly (versioning, metadata) and just using it like a dropbox:

Why cripple SharePoint to be a dropbox when it can do so much more? Nuff said.

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