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What is the Net Use Command?

The net use command is a Command Prompt command that's used to connect to, remove, and configure connections to shared resources, like mapped drives and network printers.

The net use command is one of many net commands.

Net Use Command Syntax

net use [{devicename | *}] [\\computername\sharename[\volume] [{password | *}]] [/user:[domainname\]username] [/user:[dotteddomainname\]username] [/user:[username@dotteddomainname] [/home {devicename | *} [{password | *}]] [/persistent:{yes | no}] [/smartcard] [/savecred] [/delete] [/help] [/?]

Tip: See How To Read Command Syntax if you're not sure how to interpret the net use command syntax shown above.

Execute the net use command alone to show detailed information about currently mapped drives and devices.

devicename = Use this option to specify the drive letter or printer port you want to map the network resource to. For a shared folder on the network, specify a drive letter from D: through Z: and for a shared printer, LPT1: through LPT3:. Use * instead of specifying devicename to automatically assign the next available drive letter, starting with Z: and moving backwards, for a mapped drive.

\\computername\sharename = This specifies the name of the computer, computername, and the shared resource, sharename, like a shared folder on a or shared printer connected to computername. If there are spaces anywhere here, be sure to put the entire path, slashes included, in quotes.

volume = Use this option to specify the volume when connecting to a NetWare server.

password = This is the password needed to access the shared resource on computername. You can choose enter the password during the execution of the net use command by typing * instead of the actual password.

/user = Use this net command option to specify a username to connect to the resource with. If you don't use /user, net use will attempt to connect to the network share or printer with your current username.

domainname = Specify a different domain than the one you're on, assuming you're on one, with this option. Skip domainname if you're not on a domain or you want net use to use the one you're on already.

username = Use this option with /user to specify the username to use to connect to the shared resource.

dotteddomainname = This option specifies the fully qualified domain name where username exists.

/home = This net use command option maps the current user's home directory to either the devicename drive letter or the next available drive letter with *.

/persistent:{yes | no} = Use this option to control the persistence of connections created with the net use command. Choose yes to automatically restore created connections at the next logon or choose no to limit the life of this connection to this session. You can shorten this switch to /p if you like.

/smartcard = This switch tells the net use command to use the credentials present on the available smart card.

/savecred = This option stores the password and user information for use next time you connect in this session or in all future sessions when used with /persistent:yes.

/delete = This net use command is used to cancel a network connection. Use /delete with devicename to remove a specified connection or with * to remove all mapped drives and devices. This option can be shortened to /d.

/help = Use this option, or the shortened /h, to display detailed help information for the net use command. Using this switch is the same as using the net help command with net use: net help use.

/? = The standard help switch also works with the net use command but the only displays the command syntax, not any detailed information about the command's options.

Tip: You can save the output of the net use command to a file using a redirection operator. See How To Redirect Command Output to a File for help doing that, or see Command Prompt Tricks for this and more tips.

Net Use Command Examples

net use * "\\server\my media" /persistent:no

In this example, I used the net use command to connect to the my media shared folder on a computer named server. The my media folder will be mapped to my highest free drive letter [*], which for me happens to be y:, but I don't want to continue mapping this drive every time I log on to my computer [/persistent:no].

net use e: \\usrsvr002\smithmark Ue345Ii /user:pdc01\msmith2 /savecred /p:yes

Here's a slightly more complicated example that you might see in a business setting.

In this net use example, I want to map my e: drive to the smithmark shared folder on usrsvr002. I want to connect as another user account I have [/user] by the name of msmith2 that's stored on the pdc01 domain with a password of Ue345Ii. I don't want to map this drive manually every time I start my computer [/p:yes] nor do I want to enter my username and password each time [/savecred].

net use p: /delete

I suppose an appropriate final example of net use would be the removal [/delete] of a currently mapped drive, in this case p:.

Net Use Command Availability

The net use command is available from within the Command Prompt in Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP, as well as in older versions of Windows and in Windows Server operating systems.

Note: The availability of certain net use command switches and other net use command syntax may differ from operating system to operating system.

Net Use Related Commands

The net use command is a subset of the net command and so is similar to its sister commands like net send, net time, net user, net view, etc.

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