How do I automate network drive mapping and the association of specific icons for those mapped drives.

Posted on 2008-11-04
Last Modified: 2013-11-24
We have a well-established Windows 2003-based domain with a couple hundred XP and Vista clients.  We do as much as we can through automation, using Group Policy Objects (GPOs) and vbscripts.  We rely on several GPOs to configure the clients and to manage many aspects of the network.

One of those GPOs runs a script that copies a company-branded icon to the clients computer.  The script then determines the user's group membership (security groups that match the companies hierarchical structure) and maps network drives to specific company folders on the central file server.  Once the drives are mapped (i.e., a drive letter reserved and designated to point to a specific network folder), the script creates a shortcut, associates it with the mapped drive, and applies the company-branded icon.  The user can then click the icon and have the  network folder open - as if magic.  That's the "Windows" side.

We also have 30+ Apple/Mac computers, and our boss has insisted that we should be able to seamlessly integrate them into our Windows environment.  He wants our Mac users to feel every bit as loved as our Windows users.  He wants them to have the same pretty company-branded icons that open up the same network forlders, so that they too can be a part of the team.

We have a slightly-better-then-beginner knowledge of Macs, and we have a mix of Tiger and Leopard OS on the clients.  We have a Mac server we have designated as a "Open Directory" (OD) Master.  We have created groups and bound everything with Windows "Active Directory" (AD).  User log onto to their Mac using a Windows Domain user name and password.  We are able to use the Workgroup Manager to set and apply some management policies to the client machines.

We have the "WhitePaper" from Apple on Mac integration to AD/OD, but we can seem to find a way to automate the process of mapping the network drives and applying the company-branded icon to the mapped drives/folders.

I want our boss to see how good we are at integrating the Macs and making the Mac users sense that they too are valuable members of the team.

Please help us to automate processes to map network drives (create links to folders on Windows network servers, to rename the links to user-friendly names like: "Office Drive," and how to automate applying the company-branded icon to the links.

Thanks in advance for specific instructions, scripts, etc.  We are lazy, tired, and Mac-stupid; but we are eager and enthusiastic to the help make our Mac users feel loved and part of the team.


Question by:dwstovall

    Author Comment

    I wanted to stress the word "automate."  I am not inclined to visit each of our Mac users and physically apply specific configurations.  I really do not want to leave my chair to accomplish this.

    Step-by-step how-to directions are extremely well-received.

    Thank you...

    LVL 39

    Accepted Solution

    One part is relatively easy .. applying the company-branded icon to the mapped drives/folders.
    If you create an OSX compatible icon file .. it can be up to 512x512 pixels and has an extension of .ICNS.

    On OSX in the Developer Tools you'll fine Icon Composer .. or there is a free utility called Pic2Icon which can convert an image to an OSX icon file.

    Place the icon file in the root of each Share and name it .VolumeIcon.icns (you may need to use Terminal to rename the file as OSX won't let you add a dot to the start of the filename) .. read a little more here.

    When the share is mounted OSX will now use the hidden OSX icon for the share.

    Author Comment


    Thank you for your response.  We applied the steps you offered and got some progress - one of three icons is now associated with the mapped drive.

    Do you have any guidance for the rest of the question, scripting the mapping of drives?

    Do you have any links to learn more about scripting capabilities for Macs?

    I really want to advance the notion of integrating Macs into Windows and vice versa, so I would appreciate any wisdom you may have.
    LVL 39

    Assisted Solution

    There's 2 other links I can offer

    1. Microsoft's take on OSX, Windows Integration

    2. A previous post on EE where I list Windows - OSX integration issues

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