Mount SMB Azure file share on Windows

Azure Files is Microsoft's easy-to-use cloud file system. Azure file shares can be seamlessly used in Windows and Windows Server. This article discusses the considerations for using an Azure file share with Windows and Windows Server.

In order to use an Azure file share via the public endpoint outside of the Azure region it is hosted in, such as on-premises or in a different Azure region, the OS must support SMB 3.x. Older versions of Windows that support only SMB 2.1 cannot mount Azure file shares via the public endpoint.

Windows version SMB version Azure Files SMB Multichannel Maximum SMB channel encryption
Windows Server 2022 SMB 3.1.1 Yes AES-256-GCM
Windows 11 SMB 3.1.1 Yes AES-256-GCM
Windows 10, version 21H1 SMB 3.1.1 Yes, with KB5003690 or newer AES-128-GCM
Windows Server, version 20H2 SMB 3.1.1 Yes, with KB5003690 or newer AES-128-GCM
Windows 10, version 20H2 SMB 3.1.1 Yes, with KB5003690 or newer AES-128-GCM
Windows Server, version 2004 SMB 3.1.1 Yes, with KB5003690 or newer AES-128-GCM
Windows 10, version 2004 SMB 3.1.1 Yes, with KB5003690 or newer AES-128-GCM
Windows Server 2019 SMB 3.1.1 Yes, with KB5003703 or newer AES-128-GCM
Windows 10, version 1809 SMB 3.1.1 Yes, with KB5003703 or newer AES-128-GCM
Windows Server 2016 SMB 3.1.1 Yes, with KB5004238 or newer and applied registry key AES-128-GCM
Windows 10, version 1607 SMB 3.1.1 Yes, with KB5004238 or newer and applied registry key AES-128-GCM
Windows 10, version 1507 SMB 3.1.1 Yes, with KB5004249 or newer and applied registry key AES-128-GCM
Windows Server 2012 R2 SMB 3.0 No AES-128-CCM
Windows 8.1 SMB 3.0 No AES-128-CCM
Windows Server 2012 SMB 3.0 No AES-128-CCM
Windows Server 2008 R21 SMB 2.1 No Not supported
Windows 71 SMB 2.1 No Not supported

1Regular Microsoft support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 has ended. It is possible to purchase additional support for security updates only through the Extended Security Update (ESU) program. We strongly recommend migrating off of these operating systems.

Note

We always recommend taking the most recent KB for your version of Windows.

Applies to

File share type SMB NFS
Standard file shares (GPv2), LRS/ZRS Yes No
Standard file shares (GPv2), GRS/GZRS Yes No
Premium file shares (FileStorage), LRS/ZRS Yes No

Prerequisites

Ensure port 445 is open: The SMB protocol requires TCP port 445 to be open; connections will fail if port 445 is blocked. You can check if your firewall is blocking port 445 with the Test-NetConnection cmdlet. To learn about ways to work around a blocked 445 port, see the Cause 1: Port 445 is blocked section of our Windows troubleshooting guide.

Using an Azure file share with Windows

To use an Azure file share with Windows, you must either mount it, which means assigning it a drive letter or mount point path, or access it via its UNC path.

This article uses the storage account key to access the file share. A storage account key is an administrator key for a storage account, including administrator permissions to all files and folders within the file share you're accessing, and for all file shares and other storage resources (blobs, queues, tables, etc.) contained within your storage account. If this is not sufficient for your workload, Azure File Sync may be used, or you may use identity-based authentication over SMB.

A common pattern for lifting and shifting line-of-business (LOB) applications that expect an SMB file share to Azure is to use an Azure file share as an alternative for running a dedicated Windows file server in an Azure VM. One important consideration for successfully migrating a line-of-business application to use an Azure file share is that many line-of-business applications run under the context of a dedicated service account with limited system permissions rather than the VM's administrative account. Therefore, you must ensure that you mount/save the credentials for the Azure file share from the context of the service account rather than your administrative account.

Mount the Azure file share

The Azure portal provides you with a script that you can use to mount your file share directly to a host. We recommend using this provided script.

To get this script:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.

  2. Navigate to the storage account that contains the file share you'd like to mount.

  3. Select File shares.

  4. Select the file share you'd like to mount.

    Screenshot of file shares blade, file share is highlighted.

  5. Select Connect.

    Screenshot of the connect icon for your file share.

  6. Select the drive letter to mount the share to.

  7. Copy the provided script.

    Screenshot of connect blade, copy button on script is highlighted.

  8. Paste the script into a shell on the host you'd like to mount the file share to, and run it.

You have now mounted your Azure file share.

Mount the Azure file share with File Explorer

Note

Note that the following instructions are shown on Windows 10 and may differ slightly on older releases.

  1. Open File Explorer. This can be done by opening from the Start Menu, or by pressing Win+E shortcut.

  2. Navigate to This PC on the left-hand side of the window. This will change the menus available in the ribbon. Under the Computer menu, select Map network drive.

    A screenshot of the "Map network drive" drop-down menu

  3. Select the drive letter and enter the UNC path, the UNC path format is \\<storageAccountName>.file.core.windows.net\<fileShareName>. For example: \\anexampleaccountname.file.core.windows.net\example-share-name.

    A screenshot of the "Map Network Drive" dialog

  4. Use the storage account name prepended with AZURE\ as the username and a storage account key as the password.

    A screenshot of the network credential dialog

  5. Use Azure file share as desired.

    Azure file share is now mounted

  6. When you are ready to dismount the Azure file share, you can do so by right-clicking on the entry for the share under the Network locations in File Explorer and selecting Disconnect.

Accessing share snapshots from Windows

If you have taken a share snapshot, either manually or automatically through a script or service like Azure Backup, you can view previous versions of a share, a directory, or a particular file from file share on Windows. You can take a share snapshot using Azure PowerShell, Azure CLI, or the Azure portal.

List previous versions

Browse to the item or parent item that needs to be restored. Double-click to go to the desired directory. Right-click and select Properties from the menu.

Right-click menu for a selected directory

Select Previous Versions to see the list of share snapshots for this directory. The list might take a few seconds to load, depending on the network speed and the number of share snapshots in the directory.

Previous Versions tab

You can select Open to open a particular snapshot.

Opened snapshot

Restore from a previous version

Select Restore to copy the contents of the entire directory recursively at the share snapshot creation time to the original location.

Restore button in warning message

Enable SMB Multichannel

Support for SMB Multichannel in Azure Files requires ensuring Windows has all the relevant patches applied to be up-to-date. Several older Windows versions, including Windows Server 2016, Windows 10 version 1607, and Windows 10 version 1507, require additional registry keys to be set for all relevant SMB Multichannel fixes to be applied on fully patched installations. If you are running a version of Windows that is newer than these three versions, no additional action is required.

Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 version 1607

To enable all SMB Multichannel fixes for Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 version 1607, run the following PowerShell command:

Set-ItemProperty `
    -Path "HKLM:SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Policies\Microsoft\FeatureManagement\Overrides" `
    -Name "2291605642" `
    -Value 1 `
    -Force

Windows 10 version 1507

To enable all SMB Multichannel fixes for Windows 10 version 1507, run the following PowerShell command:

Set-ItemProperty `
    -Path "HKLM:\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MRxSmb\KBSwitch" `
    -Name "{FFC376AE-A5D2-47DC-A36F-FE9A46D53D75}" `
    -Value 1 `
    -Force

Next steps

See these links for more information about Azure Files: