How to Access Network Drives Remotely without VPN on Windows 10, 11

This post focuses on presenting three alternative methods to access network drives remotely without VPN. If you're looking for alternatives to the conventional VPN approach, continue reading for more insights.


By Ellie / Updated on January 9, 2024

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Can a network drive be accessed remotely without VPN?

In a world where remote work is becoming increasingly prevalent, the need to access network drives remotely without relying on traditional VPNs has never been more critical. The limitations of VPNs for remote work, from security concerns to performance issues, have paved the way for innovative solutions that promise a more efficient and user-friendly experience.

Luckily, with the digital landscape has evolved, and so have the solutions for remote access. Modern alternatives prioritize efficiency and user experience while addressing the shortcomings of traditional VPNs. Let's delve into these alternatives and explore how you can access network drives without VPN access.

3 alternative ways to access network drives remotely without VPN

There are three alternative ways to access network drives remotely without VPN on Windows 10 and 11, namely, remote desktop software, FTP (File Transfer Protocol), and cloud storage services.

Way 1. Remote desktop software - AnyViewer

Remote desktop softwareis a game-changer for those who want a virtual office experience. It allows users to connect to their work desktops from anywhere, providing access to network drives and applications.

AnyViewer stands out as an excellent free remote desktop tool, allowing users to connect with and control distant computers effortlessly. Besides facilitating remote file transfers through network drive access, AnyViewer offers various features:

  • Full remote desktop control: AnyViewer allows complete control over a remote computer, letting users run applications as if physically present.
  • Screen sharing: Users can share their screen without giving remote control to the other side.
  • Mobile access & screen mirroring: AnyViewer is compatible with iOS and Android, enabling remote access and screen mirroring for mobile devices.
  • Remote power management: AnyViewer serves as an efficient remote power management tool, allowing users to lock, shut down, or restart computers remotely.

Step 1. Begin by downloading and installing AnyViewer on both devices.

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Step 2. On the remote device, launch AnyViewer and effortlessly complete the straightforward sign-up process.

Log in AnyViewer.png

Step 3. Access your local device by logging in with the identical AnyViewer account.

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Step 4. Go to the "Device" section, locate the specific remote devices you want, and choose "File transfer."

File Transfer AnyViewer

Step 5. With these steps completed, you can now freely access network drives on the remote computer and seamlessly transfer files between the two devices.

Choose Files

Way 2. FTP - WinSCP

FTP, which stands for File Transfer Protocol, is a standard network protocol employed to transfer files between a client and a server within a computer network. It's a simple and widely used method for sharing files over the Internet or within a local network. FTP dates back to the early days of the internet and remains relevant for basic file transfer tasks.

WinSCP (Windows Secure Copy) is an open-source file transfer client for Windowsthat supports FTP. It allows users to securely transfer files between a local and a remote computer.

Step 1. Go to your cPanel account at or the link from your hosting provider. Log in with your cPanel username and password.

Step 2. In the cPanel dashboard, find "Files," and click on "FTP Accounts."

FTP Accounts

Step 3. Under "Add FTP Account," fill in:

  • Username: Choose a username.
  • Password: Create a strong password.
  • Directory: Select the access directory (usually public_html).

Step 4. Optionally, set a storage limit and click "Create FTP Account."

Create FTP Accounts

Step 5. After creation, cPanel shows FTP details.

FTP Accounts Details

Step 6. Visit and download WinSCP. Install it on your Windows machine.

Step 7. Launch WinSCP, enter remote server details, and click "Save."

Step 8. Click "Login" to connect to the server. Accept any security warnings.

winscp login window

Step 9. WinSCP's interface has two panels – local on the left, remote on the right.

winscp warning message

Step 10. To upload files, pick local files on the left, and drag them to the desired folder on the right.

winscp file transfer window

Way 3. Cloud storage services - Google Drive

One promising alternative is leveraging cloud-based solutions. Storing data in the cloud allows for seamless remote access without compromising security. Whether using platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive, users can connect to their network drives from anywhere with an internet connection.

Let’s take Google Drive as an example. It allows users to store and share files, including documents, spreadsheets, images, and more, securely on Google's servers. However, Google Drive only provides a small amount of free storage space (often 15 GB per Google account). If you require more storage, you may need to subscribe to a paid plan, which could be a limitation for users with extensive storage needs.

Step 1. Begin by opening the main interface of Google Drive. Locate and click on "My Drive" in the left sidebar. Click "My Drive" again and choose "Upload files" or "Upload folder" from the expanded menu.


Step 2. For instance, select "Upload files," triggering a pop-up window. Choose the picture files you want and click "Open" in the lower-right corner.


Step 3. Monitor the file upload progress in the lower-right corner. Once complete, locate the file in the main interface.


Step 4. On the other computer, open Google Drive and log in to the same Google account. Find the transferred file, right-click it, and choose "Download" from the expanded menu to achieve remote picture transfer between different computers.


The bottom line

To sum up, this post highlights three simple ways to access network drives without VPNs on Windows 10 and 11. By using AnyViewer for remote desktop access, WinSCP for FTP file transfers, and Google Drive for cloud storage, users can enjoy efficient and user-friendly remote access. Embracing these alternatives ensures a smoother remote work experience, addressing the limitations of traditional VPN methods.