A network place is similar to a mapped drive in that you are creating a pointer to a specific resource at a specific place on the network. Network places you create appear in the My Network Places window and can be dragged onto the Windows desktop as shortcut icons. Mapped drives appear in the My Computer window and also can be dragged onto the desktop as shortcuts. It's up to you whether you use Network Places or mapped drives. However, you have only 26 (the letters of the alphabet) drive letters available. If you want to create many shortcuts to shared folders, consider using network places, which do not require a drive letter.
Open the Add a Network Place Wizard
Open the My Network Places window by clicking Start and then clicking My Network Places. Click the Add a network place link in the Network Tasks pane on the left side of the window. The Add a Network Place Wizard opens; click Next to bypass the initial wizard screen.
Click the Choose another network location icon in the wizard window. This option allows you to create network places for shared drives and folders in your workgroup. It also allows you to create network places for servers you can access on the Internet, such as FTP (File Transfer Protocol) sites and websites that offer file downloads. These remote shares (on the Internet) are treated the same as shares you can access from your local area network. After clicking the icon, click Next.
Browse for Location
As already mentioned, a network place can be an Internet website or FTP site. In the case of a website, you enter the name of the website such as HTTP://website/share. For an FTP site, the shared name would be something like FTP://ftpsite.com. You can't browse for websites or FTP site shares; you must enter their exact URL. However, you can browse for a local workgroup share. Click the Browse button to browse for the share you want to use for the new network place. The Browse for Folder window opens. You will be browsing the local area network (workgroup) for the shared folder or drive you want to designate as a network place.
Select Share and Return to the Wizard
Click a workgroup share that appears in the Browse for Folder window to select the share you want to create the network place for. Then click OK. You return to the wizard, and the share name you selected appears in the Internet or network address text box. Click Next to continue.
Type a Name for the Network Place and Complete Process
The next wizard screen asks you to type a name for the new network place. A default name is created based on the name of the computer and the name of the share (or the name of the share in the case of a website or FTP site), but you can type a different name in the Type a name for the network place text box. Click Next to move to the final wizard screen and then click Finish. The new network place icon appears in the My Network Places window, and the associated share opens in a new window. Close the window that displays the contents of the share.
To place the new network place icon on the desktop as a shortcut to the share, drag the icon from the My Network Places window to your desktop. You can then close the My Network Places window. Now you can access the share directly from the Windows desktop by double-clicking the share's icon.