When you attempt to open a network computer or a network shared folder in Windows 10 or 11, you may encounter the following error message: Windows cannot access \\ Computer’s Name, shared folder or network drive letter. This guide explains why this error occurs and how to resolve the issue.
The Windows cannot access network drive or shared folder error usually appears with one of two descriptions:
- “Network error – Check the spelling of the name. Otherwise, there might be a problem with your network. To try to identify and resolve network problems, click Diagnose.”
- “You do not have permission to access \network computer, shared folder, network drive, or printer.”
This error may be due to an improper network setup between your Windows computer, incorrect folder or printer sharing settings, incorrect sharing permission settings, and/or an invalid username and password for the user account on that particular shared network computer.
Fixing “Windows cannot access” network drive or shared folder error in Windows 10
As previously noted, various factors can contribute to this error, making it challenging to pinpoint the precise cause on your computer. The error is closely associated with permission settings in your Windows network sharing. Addressing the issue may involve resetting and modifying sharing permissions to grant specific users access to the computer, folder, drive, or printer. In the majority of cases, taking these steps should resolve the problem.
Update: If you can’t see the homegroup or the network computers at all from the network shared folder, it’s due to a recent Windows 10 update that completely removed the homegroup feature from its system. For more info, read: Homegroup or network computers not showing up in Windows 10. If that’s the case, you may need to re-share your network folder, drive, or printer to get around the “Windows cannot access network shared folder, network drive, network computer, or printer” error in Windows 10.
Re-configuring your network sharing permissions
Our objective here is to grant permission to the users to whom you’re providing access to the network shared folder, drive, computer, or printer. To ease things up, we will set to share the folder with the user called “Everyone” in Windows 10. Follow the steps below to do so.
Please do this only in your home network where the computers and users you’re going to share with can be trusted, and you have full control over it. If you’re sharing anything in your work network or anywhere else, you may want to consult your network administrator for further permissions.
- Select and right-click on the folder, drive, or printer that you want to share.
- Select Properties from the context menu.
- In the Properties window, go to the Sharing tab.
- Next, click on the Advanced Sharing button.
- Enable Share this folder and enter a share name for the folder or drive.
- Then, click on the Permissions button.
- Select Everyone and then enable the checkboxes under Allow for Full Control, Change, and Read permissions.
Granting permissions for “Everyone” in the Security tab
Now that you have set to share the folder with “Everyone,” whose permissions are granted to access and have full control of the shared folder, drive, or printer, you will then need to add the “Everyone” user to the security list to truly grant full permissions for the “Everyone” user to access and make changes to this shared folder, drive, or printer.
After completing the steps above, in the same Properties window, go to the Security tab. Under Group or usernames, click on the Edit button. Make sure you are doing this from an administrator account as clicking the Edit button requires administrative privileges.
Under the Security tab, click on the Add button. In the Select Users or Groups window, click Advanced.
In the next window, click on the Find Now button to find all users ever created in your Windows system.
From the list of users, look for a user called Everyone. Select it and click OK. Back to the Select Users or Groups window, you should be seeing the Everyone user listed under Enter the object names to select.
Click OK to continue. Next, under the Security tab, highlight the Everyone user. Enable all checkboxes under Allow for Full Control, Modify, and all others to grant full permissions for the Everyone user to use this folder, drive, or printer. Click Apply, then OK.
This is the correct way to share a folder, drive, or printer with your network computers. Retry accessing the folder again from your network computer. This should solve the “Windows cannot access network shared folder, network drive, network computer, or printer” error in Windows 10/11.