Map Network Shares in Mac OS X Leopard

I’ve had a few people moving from Windows ask me how they can do the equivalent of “Map network drive” in Mac OS X Leopard. There’s an easy way (that mostly works) and a harder way (that always works). I’m going to focus on the easy way for us right now. Why do I say it only mostly works? Well, if you have a drive mounted and then put your computer to sleep, or if you lose the connection to the network drive for whatever reason, your Mac may not remount the drive when you come out of sleep (or restore your connection), or it may simply take a minute or so for the computer to remount the drive (rather than it being instantaneous). For the most part, though, this process works flawlessly.

Working with Finder

The best part about this process is that you don’t need to be anywhere but on your Desktop, in the Finder. The first thing we need to do is begin the process of mounting your drives a single time. To mount a drive, navigate to the Go menu, then choose “Connect to Server”.

From there, you’ll get a window like the one below. This is where you can enter the network addresses of the shares that you want to mount.

For the purposes of this project, we don’t actually want to mount the drives right now. However, if you have never mounted any of the shares, I suggest you do so before proceeding. Why? First, you’ll want to make sure the address you type in is correct; there’s no point in trying to automount an incorrect address. Second, some of the shares you connect to may require user names and passwords. If you’d like to avoid having to enter your user name and password each time the computer connects to these shares, you’ll want to store the user name and password in your keychain, like so (note: this window appears when you type a network address into the above window, click connect, and are then prompted for a user name/password):

Let’s go back to the “Connect to Server” window. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Type in the exact address of the share you want to connect to. I am assuming at this point you at least know what you want to connect to. If not, you must get that address first.
  • Second, hit the “+” button to the right of the address. This will add the network share to your list of Favorites. You will know you have done this successfully when the server address appears in the lower portion of the window.
  • If there is more than one share you want to automount, repeat this process for as many shares as you need. Simply highlight the server address you just typed, delete it, type in a new address, and hit the “+” button again. When you are finished, you can close the window.

Ok! We’re getting there. Now we have to find where these Favorites are stored. The answer is that they are in your Favorites folder inside your user’s Library folder. That means the path is: /Users/username/Library/Favorites (replace username with your user name).

See how each Favorite you made is stored in a separate file? Now, all we have to do with these is add each one to your Account Login Items. So, open up your System Preferences (from the Dock, Applications folder, or Apple menu). Then, click on the Accounts preference and choose the “Login Items” tab for your account. Your window should look similar to mine, though you may have more or fewer login items.

Once you see this screen, all you have to do is drag and drop each of the Favorites that we navigated to above onto this window. They will appear in the window once you drag and drop them. Once you’re done adding them, you can quit System Preferences.

The next time you restart your computer, the network shares will automount. Voila!

Did this work for you? Have a suggestion to improve this answer? Post your thoughts in the comments section!