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Network locations, whether they are mapped drives or a specific folder, are not like local locations on your hard drive. Their paths are UNC paths, that is, they have double slashes and/or backslashes, and you cannot copy these paths as local folder paths.
Using a Third-Party Tool
To solve this problem, i.e. to make it easier to copy the full path for network locations, you need to install pathcopycopy.
pathcopycopy is a free, open source application that adds additional options for path copying in the context menu. These options are not only for network locations. There are also options for local folders.
Download and install pathcopycopy. During installation, the application asks you which options you want to add to the context menu. Here’s how the application works. You can change it later if you wish, and it’s very easy, but you can save yourself the trouble of installing it. Since we do this for network locations, you should choose the second or third option.
Once the application is installed, open the file explorer. The drive/network location must be online/connected/accessible. Right click on it and go to Copy Path in the context menu. Select “Short UNC Path” or “Long UNC Path” from the submenu, as needed, and the path is copied to the clipboard.
The path is not enclosed in double quotation marks, but copied and ready to be pasted at the desired location. There is also an option to copy the long or short UNC path to the parent folder of the selected folder/location.
To change the options that pathcopycopy adds, right-click on any item on your system and select Pathcopy from the context menu, then select Settings from the Settings submenu. Settings allows you to enable/disable the options that the application adds to the context menu by selecting checkboxes and also to change the order in which they appear. In fact, you can move an item from the sub-menu to the main menu of the application if you wish. You can also add/remove separators from/to the menu to make the options easier to navigate.
If the Path Copy submenu does not display all commands, do the following
- Select Settings from the Copy Path submenu of the context menu.
- Command details are displayed on the left side, while the Menu and Submenu columns are displayed on the right side of the hardware bar.
- Browse through them and include the commands you want to display under the main menu or submenu.
- When you are finished, click Apply, and then click OK.
Here is the workaround I use when sending mapped network paths via Outlook
- In Windows Explorer, hold down the Shift key, r click on the file and select “Copy as path”.
- Paste a hyperlink into the email and paste it into the address field of the hyperlink dialog box. (Key combination: ctrl-K ctrl-V + OK). At this point, the link displays the assigned drive letter as root (Q:\foo.doc).
- If you now click on r and select “Edit Hyperlink…”, you will see that the address field has been translated back to the full UNC path (\\cartman\users\emueller\foo.doc). Press ctrl-A and ctrl-
- C in the address field to copy the full path to the clipboard, then move the cursor to the upper field (“Text to be displayed:”) and press ctrl-A and ctrl-V to display it correctly in your e-mail.
UNC paths or network paths are used when you display mapped network files or drives that you would share over a network with your group or colleagues, and this Path Copy add-on helps you copy the file path to the format you want.
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CCNA, Web Developer, PC Troubleshooter
I am a computer enthusiast and a practicing IT Professional. I have years of experience behind me in computer programming, hardware troubleshooting and repair. I specialise in Web Development and Database Design. I also have a CCNA certification for Network Design and Troubleshooting.