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Mount folder as a drive in Windows 10

With Windows, you can easily specify a drive letter to a folder to create a logical drive. The folder will be considered by Windows and apps as a physical drive. There can be many reasons why you may like to mount a folder as a drive.

  • Another way (out of many) to access a folder quickly.
  • Some apps may need to access a specific drive, you can fool them.
  • While creating a batch file, it will be easier to reference the folder and make changes later as well.
  • It creates shorter file paths, depending on the directory name

Special usecase for us

  • Google Drive / DropBox / Other cloud storages
  • Sharepoint / Onedrive folders - Your Sharepoint / Onedrive folders are usually saved as "C:\Users\username\nameOfCompany\nameOfSharepointSite"
    • Every user has different user name, so the place on your local disc varies. That´s why the disc shortcut directly to SharePoint folder is usefull
  • Microsoft Teams folders - You can utilize similar approach than above for Sharepoint and Onedrive

Power BI - If loading files from local computer, you like to have same address for all different computers (With no need to use parameters). You will utilize approach like:

  • Map virtual disk X as Local Drive to all the different computers
  • Load all files from disc X (using Power BI)

Note: Disc naming letters

  • A, B letters - used in past as floppy drives. Usually not used anymore
  • C - main letter for the disc with windows operation system
  • D, E, F... - letters for other discs
  • Z, X, Y, W - naming from the end of the alphabet is often used for network discs
  • S letter - often used as "Shared Drive" or "Server Drive" in companies. Recommended not to use it in your local PC

Our experience:

  • If you like to have disc shortcut, that does not interfere with other used shortcuts, try to use letters from the middle of the alphabet (Like M, N, O...). They are the most rarely used
  • If you like to be sure that there won't be any overlapping, try to put your files to folder in disc like X:\ProjectDiamon

We as IT guys with access to other systems, are often using:

  • T - as a test / Template drive (Even as a USB / SD Card disc for testing some solutions)
  • M, N, O as shared discs - same on every computer

In this tutorial, we are going to show you how you can mount a folder as a virtual drive using Windows

Method #1: Manually Mount a Folder as a Virtual Drive

In Windows this feature can be executed using the Subst command (Wiki link). You will have to create a shortcut in the Windows Startup folder to execute this command. To access the Windows Startup folder, you need to go to the following location:

C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Here “username” is the login username that you accessed at Windows startup. In our case, it is Administrator.

You can also access the folder directly by pasting the above mentioned directory location in Windows explorer search and replace “username” with your actual username.

mount_a folder_as_drive (1)

Once in the startup folder, right click in a blank area and from the context menu, hover your mouse cursor over “New”. Now, from the side menu, click on “Shortcut” and a wizard will open up.

mount_a folder_as_drive (2)
mount_a folder_as_drive (3)

In the wizard, you will see a blank field where you are required to enter the location of the folder which you would like to mount as a drive. Here, type the following command:

subst X: “Location of your Folder”

You need to replace “Location of your Folder” with the actual location of the folder which you would like to mount as a drive (along with the quotes) and “X” with the letter of the drive that you would like to give to the folder. If you don’t know the location of the path of your required folder, just access the folder and copy the path mentioned at the top.

mount_a folder_as_drive (4)

Paste the folder inside the quotes (like in the picture below) and click on Next. Give a name to the shortcut on the next step and click on Finish.

mount_a folder_as_drive (5)
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Now, you need to open the new shortcut to create the virtual drive. You will see a new drive next to all your other physical drives and opening it will open the specified folder.

mount_a folder_as_drive (7)
mount_a folder_as_drive (8)

The virtual drive will automatically load whenever you will restart your PC. If you would like to delete the drive, you will have to delete the shortcut that you created, and then restart the PC to take effect.

ATTENTION:

  • Keep address of a shortcut file, to be able to delete the disc later easily

Method #2 - Use Visual Subst Free Software

The above method works like a charm, but it can be a bit tedious task. Especially, when you have to restart your PC to get rid of the Virtual drive. Fortunately, there is an app for doing the same that can make the process a whole lot easier.

NOTE: This software is paid with Trial for 30 days. Price is 20 USD (only lifetime access payment option)

In this tutorial, we are going to use the app Visual Substring. It is a completely free tool and doesn’t require any kind of installation. Just go to the Official website and download the zipped file (78kb).

https://www.ntwind.com/software/visual-subst.html

Extract the .zip file and run the application. In the interface, click on the drop down menu below and select the Drive letter which you would like to give to your virtual drive.

mount_a folder_as_drive (9)

Now, click on the tiny magnifying glass icon on the bottom right corner of the window and select folder which you would like to mount as a drive.

mount_a folder_as_drive (10)
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Check the checkbox below, if you would like the PC to always mount the specified folder as drive whenever you startup. Now, simply click on the green “+” icon  and the folder will be mounted and displayed.

mount_a folder_as_drive (12)
mount_a folder_as_drive (13)

If you would like to unmount the folder, just select the folder in the interface and click on the Red “X” icon to unmount it (no Restart required). It will be removed from the interface, and you will have to go through the same process again to add.

mount_a folder_as_drive (14)

You can also mount multiple folders using this tool. Just repeat the process and select a new folder each time to mount it as a Virtual drive.

Link to software:

https://www.ntwind.com/software/visual-subst.html

We create this article as updated version of article below:

https://www.ubergizmo.com/how-to/mount-folder-as-drive-windows/

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