I frequently want to share Windows network paths to files with other folks on my team via email or chat. We have a lot of mapped drives here, both ones we set up ourselves and ones set up by our IT overlords. What I'd like to be able to do is to copy the full real path (not the drive letter) from Windows Explorer to send to folks.

Example: I have a file in my "Q:" drive, \\cartman\users\emueller, and I want to send a link to the file foo.doc therein to coworkers. When I copy the file path (shift+right click, "copy as path") it gets the file name "Q:\foo.doc" in the clipboard. This is unhelpful to others, who would need to see \\cartman\users\emueller\foo.doc to be able to consume the link.

In Explorer it clearly knows the full path - in the address bar I see "Computer -> emueller (\\cartman\users) (Q:) ->". Is there a way to say "hey man copy that path as text with the \\cartman\users\emueller not the Q: in it?"

I know I could just set up mapped network locations instead of the mapped drives for the ones that I set up personally and avoid this problem, but most of the mapped drives like the "users" share come from our corporate IT policy and can't be overridden. I could just make a separate network location and then ignore my Q: drive but that's inconvenient (and they do it so they can move accounts across servers). Sure my emailed path might eventually break because I'm losing the drive letter indirection but that's OK with me.

  • 1
    If you're running in a locked down corporate environment where you cannot install any third party applications and/or access the registry, then this solution will work ... superuser.com/a/704374/46099
    – Richard
    Feb 11, 2014 at 11:52

17 Answers 17


I had exactly the same problem -- not everyone had the same mapped drives as me, or mapped to the same letters.

After much searching I found a context menu extension named Path Copy Copy on GitHub (https://pathcopycopy.github.io/) which is an extended version of a similar, older extension (called Pathcopy) has quite a few options for copying paths as text, including one for UNC paths -- example of the options available are shown below:

Path Copy Context Menu example

You can also choose to show only one or two lines on the base context menu, for example you can have two lines, Copy Long Path, and Copy Long UNC Path. It's great for emailing users in your company who have access to a network path, and if they have the same network mapping as you, you can choose the former, otherwise you can use the latter.

Update: As of version 12.0, a new "portable" installer is available on the above site, which installs only for the current user into the AppData\Local folder. I've not tried this, but it could be solution for those who are prohibited from installing normally.


Maybe a long way around but open a cmd window. Then enter net use command in any folder. It will return all the mapped folders like below (shown as example only)

P:\XX\XX>net use
New connections will be remembered.

Status       Local     Remote                Network
OK           N:        \\server01\Test1      Microsoft Windows Network
OK           P:        \\server02\Test1      Microsoft Windows Network
OK                     \\\NOTEBOOK  Microsoft Windows Network
OK                     \\\tmp       Microsoft Windows Network

If you want you can send the above output to a file e.g. P:\XX\XX>net use > drives.txt. Then open the file: drives.txt and you can copy the path from the file for your use.

You can also copy from the command line window itself.

Hope this helps.

  • 12
    simple and easy. All other solutions in the topic are very bulk...
    – radistao
    May 16, 2013 at 8:21
  • 9
    Or, just skip the "> drives.txt" and copy the outputted path directly from the terminal window.
    – DarenW
    Sep 4, 2013 at 16:59
  • 1
    Simple & easy. Win.
    – CAD bloke
    Sep 25, 2013 at 22:12
  • With msysgit/bash at your fingertips this is a whole lot easier than the other solutions. Grand! Oct 16, 2013 at 11:53
  • 3
    net use > filename confused me.. and i used my actual pdf filename in that spot thus clobbered my original pdf file. yes i know it is my bad. so take care. just use net use and copy from terminal window. and if you need it really inside a file.. then you know what to do.. `> uncpathnamefile.txt'
    – ihightower
    Feb 7, 2019 at 4:19

Geoff was basically spot on, but to take it one step further,

  1. RIGHT-DRAG the folder from Windows Explorer, into the body of your new email,
  2. then select 'Create Hyperlink Here'.
  • 2
    quickest and most out of the box-est
    – Alex
    Jun 3, 2015 at 8:24
  • 5
    Should be the best answer as the problem appears mostly in corporate environment and you can't install software there yourself. Oct 27, 2015 at 12:59
  • This needs to be merged in with kmote's answer superuser.com/a/454119/190599 as the two together are super quick
    – Bae
    Mar 18, 2016 at 4:39
  • The hero we need. Thank you!
    – Tung
    Nov 13, 2019 at 0:06
  • Er - is this Outlook specific? I don't think any other client will be aware of the Windows UNC paths? In any case, it doesn't work in Outlook 2019, but it does mess up the outlook compose window until Outlook is restarted!
    – O'Rooney
    Nov 22, 2021 at 1:03

UPDATE: CoolCol's approach is even easier than mine. Upvote that answer.

Here's the workaround I use when sending mapped-network paths via Outlook:

  1. In Windows Explorer, hold the shift button down, r-click on the file, and select "Copy as path".
  2. Insert a Hyperlink in the email and paste in the address field of the Hyperlink dialogue box. (Shortcut: ctrl-K ctrl-V + OK). At this point, the link will display the mapped drive letter as the root (Q:\foo.doc).
  3. Now, r-click and select "Edit Hyperlink..." you will notice that the Address field has been translated back into the full UNC path (\\cartman\users\emueller\foo.doc). With your mouse in the Address field, hit ctrl-A and ctrl-C to copy the full path to your clipboard, then move your cursor to the top field ("Text to Display:") hit ctrl-A and ctrl-V to display it correctly in your email.
  • I do not see the things described.
    – DarenW
    Sep 4, 2013 at 17:04
  • which part can't you see? Can you create the hyperlink? Do you know how to edit the link?
    – kmote
    Sep 4, 2013 at 21:50
  • 3
    In step 3. if you type a character and delete it, it will update the "Text to Display", which is easier than copy/paste.
    – 79E09796
    Jan 28, 2015 at 11:34
  • 1
    See Coolcol's answer superuser.com/a/922152/190599 to speed up the copy by right click "Create Shortcut Here" option.
    – Bae
    Mar 18, 2016 at 4:40
  • 1
    This works, but quite a lot of trouble for something that should be standard feature in Windows. All the other answers involve more work or installation of extenal software (which is prohibited in most orgs) Jun 12, 2019 at 17:08

I just had the need for the same thing OP is asking and after searching on Google and reading the answers, none of them provided what I think the OP and I are looking for.

The problem here is that one may map a network share to Drive Y whereas someone else in the organization may have the same network share mapped as Drive X; therefore, sending a link such as Y:\mydirectory may not work for anyone else except me.

As the OP explains, Explorer does show the actual path in the Explorer bar, but you cannot copy it (typing is tedious and prone to errors, so this is not an option) even if you choose copy as path from the context menu:

enter image description here

So the solution I came up with (by copying someone else's code) was a little C# program that you can call from a context menu in Explorer and will allow you to translate the Mapped drive letter to the actual UNC path.

Here's the code:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Windows.Forms;

namespace Utils
    //This is the only piece of code I wrote
    class Program
        static void Main(string[] args)
            //Takes the parameter from the command line. Since this will
            //be called from the context menu, the context menu will pass it 
            //via %1 (see registry instructions below)
            if (args.Length == 1)
               //This is so you can assign a shortcut to the program and be able to
               //Call it pressing the shortcut you assign. The program will take
               //whatever string is in the Clipboard and convert it to the UNC path
               //For example, you can do "Copy as Path" and then press the shortcut you  
               //assigned to this program. You can then press ctrl-v and it will
               //contain the UNC path

And here's the Pathing class definition (I'll try to find the actual source as I can't remember where I found it):

public static class Pathing
    [DllImport("mpr.dll", CharSet = CharSet.Unicode, SetLastError = true)]
    public static extern int WNetGetConnection(
        [MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.LPTStr)] string localName,
        [MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.LPTStr)] StringBuilder remoteName,
        ref int length);
    /// <summary>
    /// Given a path, returns the UNC path or the original. (No exceptions
    /// are raised by this function directly). For example, "P:\2008-02-29"
    /// might return: "\\networkserver\Shares\Photos\2008-02-09"
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="originalPath">The path to convert to a UNC Path</param>
    /// <returns>A UNC path. If a network drive letter is specified, the
    /// drive letter is converted to a UNC or network path. If the 
    /// originalPath cannot be converted, it is returned unchanged.</returns>
    public static string GetUNCPath(string originalPath)
        StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder(512);
        int size = sb.Capacity;

        // look for the {LETTER}: combination ...
        if (originalPath.Length > 2 && originalPath[1] == ':')
            // don't use char.IsLetter here - as that can be misleading
            // the only valid drive letters are a-z && A-Z.
            char c = originalPath[0];
            if ((c >= 'a' && c <= 'z') || (c >= 'A' && c <= 'Z'))
                int error = WNetGetConnection(originalPath.Substring(0, 2),
                    sb, ref size);
                if (error == 0)
                    DirectoryInfo dir = new DirectoryInfo(originalPath);

                    string path = Path.GetFullPath(originalPath)
                    return Path.Combine(sb.ToString().TrimEnd(), path);

        return originalPath;

You build the program and put the executable somewhere in your PC, say for example, in c:\Utils

Now you add a context menu option in Explorer as so:

Regedit and then:


Right-click Shell --> New Key --> Name: "To UNC Path"
Right-click To UNC Path --> New Key --> Name: command
Right-click Default entry and select `Modify`
Value Data: c:\Utils\Utils.exe "%1"

You are done. Now you'll see this option when you right-click a directory from a mapped drive:

enter image description here


I can provide the executable so you don't have to do the compilation yourself. Simply drop me a note here.

  • 1
    Will be nice if you zipped up the executable file and put in a public space like Dropbox Public folder and provided a link here. =)
    – ADTC
    Aug 28, 2013 at 7:34
  • 3
    A lot of work, I much prefer net use as suggested by Jimbo. Oct 16, 2013 at 12:39
  • 1
    @JonasByström But the end result is as nice as it gets for the OP's question. So that "lot of work" is precisely what earns this answer the upvote, even though I will not use it personally
    – sehe
    Sep 4, 2015 at 12:51

Run the cmd.exe command net use:

C:\anywhere>net use
New connections will be remembered.
Status       Local     Remote                    Network
OK           E:        \\XXXXX-XXX-XXX.whatever.com\d$
                                                Microsoft Windows Network
                                                Microsoft Windows Network
OK           H:        \\ZZZZ-Z-ZZ01\Users$\myself
                                                Microsoft Windows Network
OK                     \\AAAAA-AAA-AAAA3\d$     Microsoft Windows Network

(Thanks Jimbo, your answer was good but not brief!)

  • 2
    I regret that I have only one upvote to give. This is indeed concise. Thanks.
    – user26398
    Sep 16, 2015 at 16:49
  • 1
    This is an ideal approach
    – Ryan B.
    Mar 8, 2017 at 14:21
  1. Open the Folder.
  2. RIGHT drag a file from the folder into Microsoft Word.

Someone named Shawn Keene provided a solution to this in the Windows 7 Forum on the Microsoft website. It is in a feature called Network Place.

  1. Open Windows Explorer.

  2. Right-click on the Computer entry in the left pane and select “Add a network location”. Click next.

  3. Select the “Choose a custom network location” option (it was the only one presented to me) and click Next.

  4. Type in the UNC path desired and click Next twice. This adds an entry that shows up in left pane of Windows Explorer below the mapped drives, but it works just like a mapped drive and shows up that way in the Save dialog of applications.

  5. In Windows Explorer, navigate through that entry to the desired sub-directory and click in the blank area to the right of the bread crumbs path display in the top of the Windows Explorer screen and the UNC path appears and is highlighted.

  • 1
    if you're going to quote another source could you please link to that source as well?
    – DMA57361
    Feb 17, 2011 at 13:58
  • Originally from this post - the W7 source wasn't specifed there: countrykeepers.com/wp/?p=3017
    – Mark
    Feb 17, 2011 at 14:07
  • Hey, thanks for chiming in. I know about this, that's what I meant by "I could just set up mapped network locations instead of the mapped drives" in the question - it's that many of them come to me as mapped drives courtesy my IT department, and I'd like to be able to link those. But that's definitely a possible solution to some of the problem! Feb 18, 2011 at 14:24
  • P.S. I'd vote up your answer, but not enough rep, so "virtual +1!" Feb 18, 2011 at 14:28

Hold Shift down and right-click on the file and select "Copy as path". Insert a Hyperlink in the email and paste in the address field of the Hyperlink dialogue box.

After you create the hyperlink in the email, you're done.

The link will show the mapped drive letter this is true. When the recipient(s) clicks on the link in the email, it will follow the UNC path whether the user is mapped or not.

I have tried this in other Office 2010 applications, Excel, Power Point, and Word.


You can also right click the directory name in the computer directory view and select rename. This will give you access to copy the path.

  1. In the explorer window, right click the mapped drive in the file tree on the left.
  2. Select Rename.
  3. While the Text is highlighted, right_click->copy.
  4. Now the path is copied (with some extra text that is easily deleted after copied to a new location.
  • 2
    Note that the true path doesn't always appear there, as evidenced by the fact that you can rename it.
    – Ben N
    Feb 3, 2016 at 19:53

Save this in your sendto folder, mine is in C:\Documents and Settings\xxxxID\SendTo with a name like Copy UNC Filepath.vbs (must end .vbs) Now when you right click on a folder or file it will copy the UNC to the clipboard. Our personal folder is the F drive and so it doesn't convert either C: or F:

'send UNC filepath to clipboard when selected file is input as Send To
Set objIE = CreateObject("InternetExplorer.Application")

drive = Left(myPath,2)

if drive = "C:" OR drive = "\\" OR drive = "F:" then
    'leave unchanged
    Set oWSN = CreateObject("WScript.Network") 
    Set oDrives = oWSN.EnumNetworkDrives 
    For i = 0 to oDrives.Count - 1 Step 2 
        If oDrives.Item(i) = drive Then 
            sUNC = LCase(oDrives.Item(i+1)) 
            exit For
        end if
    myPath=sUNC & Mid(myPath, 3)
end if

objIE.document.parentwindow.clipboardData.SetData "text",myPath

In corporate networks most IT Departments create shares using DFS Name Spaces, within DFS Shares you can right click on a folder and find its target.

The other method would be to see if the Share is published into Active Directory. The easiest way for other users to find shares without knowing the UNC path or File Server name / path.

If your sharing documents with large number of users, something like Microsoft SharePoint may be a better solution as offers a web interface (with WebDAV for UNC style access) and offers built in tools to alert other users to documents.

Hope This Helps.

  • 1
    When I right click on my folders I don't see a "find target" option - what to you mean exactly? I mean, I can see the real path, it's not a mystery, I just want to be able to cut and past it and not type. As for Sharepoint, $50k in software isn't my ideal answer to "but can't I just cut and paste a path..." Feb 14, 2011 at 17:39

Create a DOS batch file like showmappeddrives.bat which contains:

@echo off    
net use

Place the file on your desktop if you like.
Double click it and it will show all your mapped drives.

  • 1
    If you added an explanation of how to use this, then your answer would be a duplicate of Jimbo’s answer from 2½ years ago. Oct 9, 2014 at 23:24

Right-click the folder > Share > " share to yourself (means nothing) . you will get the path. / or \ . or click show all network shared.


Alternative Simple Solution:

If you unmap the drive as a drive letter, then re-add it instead as a "network location" (i.e. right click "Computer" on the Explorer Window and select "Add a network location") Type in the full path for the folder. Going forward it will display the full path in the address bar. However, applications that depend upon the drive as a letter may fail.

Looking through the responses above I don't think I saw the simple solution above which I obtained from: https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-files/how-can-i-display-the-full-unc-path-of-a-sub/ebfd4253-8016-4cbd-b0d6-1bbeae9189f9


The SHIFT + RightClick "Copy as path" will copy the drive+filename (i.e. R:\test.doc), or if you are looking at the file via UNCpath the UNCpath+filename (i.e. "\nas\Documents\test.doc")

This is 'standard' behaviour of Windows, and therefore my favorite, above all explorer plugins which slow down systems.... ;)

  • 1
    This does not help solve my problem. Feb 4, 2016 at 16:21

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