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Network share mapped to specific drive letter doesn't persist on login

Posted on 2011-10-20
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I have several users (including me) that have a strange situation with mapping to a network share on a Windows 2003 Standard Server.  We normally manually map a network home drive to I: on each PC using the map network drive... menu item and all is well.  However, after virtualizing our physical server (P2V to an ESXi host) some user's network home drive won't persist and we must manually remap them back to I: after each login.  If we map the share to a different letter (like H:) the map persists and returns normally at login.  It's only if we try to map to I: and only for some people.  This occurs on both XP (SP3) & Win7 machines.

I've noted the following:

1. For the 'good' drive letters and for users not having this problem the registry HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Network\H UserName Value is a Reg_DWORD type with a value of 0.  For users with the problem the 'bad' drive letter Registry HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Network\I UserName value is a REG_SZ type with no value (it's blank).  I've tried deleting the UserName entry and reentering it as a DWORD type with value 0 but on the next reboot or login the entire Registry entry for the drive letter is gone. For users with the problem all of the other mapped drive letters have a DWORD type.

2.  We can map this share to a different letter and the drive map will persist on future logins and the UserName Registry entry is a DWORD type.  It's only some computers that write the registry entry UserName Value as a Reg_SZ type and only for this particular drive letter and these are the one where the drive mapping doesn't persist.

3.  I've tried using IP address instead of Hostname when mapping the drive but the results are the same, The drive doesn't persist.  I've tried mapping this drive letter to a different share and it still uses the Reg_SZ type and it also disappears on the next log on.

Any ideas on what would be causing this?  Right now users with the problem are shifting to a different drive letter for their home drive but I'd like for every workstation to be consistent.


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Question by:exNavyNuke
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:pagosche
ID: 37000154
Try going here HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Map Network Drive MRU and see if there is anything listed that might be old mappings.  It won't give the drive letter but delete any locations that aren't needed.  I would export each key you delete first just in case.
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Author Comment

by:exNavyNuke
ID: 37000271
Thank pagosche.  That tip helped me to remove the now useless entries pointing to the old server in the map network drives tool but didn't help with the problem of the disappearing I: drive.
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Expert Comment

by:pagosche
ID: 37000304
Are there any devices such as external hard drive or flash drive that is connected while booting up that may be grabbing I as its drive letter?
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Author Comment

by:exNavyNuke
ID: 37000395
I do have some external drives connected to my PC but they have their own drive letters and don't grab the I: drive letter after login.  The I: drive just isn't reconnected to the server.  None of the other users having this problem have any external drives connected either.
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Accepted Solution

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kevinhsieh earned 1000 total points
ID: 37000615
Why don't you use Group Policy Preferences to control the drive mapping in the first place? I never want my users to map their own drives.
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Author Comment

by:exNavyNuke
ID: 37000689
Unfortunately I'm not a domain administrator and don't have access to the corporate AD structure other than to reset passwords and join/remove PCs from the domain. I like to accomplish things without involving the Corporate AD team whenever possible.
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Assisted Solution

by:pagosche
pagosche earned 1000 total points
ID: 37000730
I understand how that goes as I use to be in a similar situation.  Unfortunately they might need to be involved because there could be a group policy that they have setup that could be causing the drives to disconnect.  I know it isn't happening on all of them but it could be that a group policy causing this disconnect happens to have only been applied to the problem PCs, whether the work PCs didn't correctly receive the GP or that it is setup on only particular PCs for whatever reason.  But at this point it would be a good idea to check with the AD team since the issue might be caused by them.
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Author Comment

by:exNavyNuke
ID: 37000845
Thanks pagsche & kevinhseih for your comments on Group Policy.  I suppose it's possible that I'm getting caught in a group policy setting and in that case I will have to contact them and see what the policy is.  But I'm hoping it's just something to do with the Registry keys not working right and that someone will have an answer for it so I don't have to 'put in a ticket' to get help from corporate.
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Expert Comment

by:Ackles
ID: 37001765
why don't you run gpresult to see what is getting pushed? Be aware if the read group policy is not enabled then you will only get result of user side settings.
This way you will know what you are getting from corporate.
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Author Comment

by:exNavyNuke
ID: 37001953
Ackles - That's a good command that I had forgotten.  I ran gpresult and got a looooong list of groups that both my network account and my machines accounts were in and policy objects that get applied. Unfortunately none of the applied policies had a name that jumped out and said anything about drive mapping. Most of the applied policies were pretty generic (e.g. Default Domain Policy,  XXX password policy, etc.).  So if there is some sort of policy forbidding use of the letter I: for mapping drives I still can't tell.
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Expert Comment

by:pagosche
ID: 37001976
Small suggestion.  Compare that list from a working computer to one that is having the issue.  Maybe that will help narrow it down.
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Expert Comment

by:Ackles
ID: 37002914
Well, just run RSOP from GPMC that will show you exactly what is not getting applied.
Make sure either to have an exception in firewall or turn it off completely on client before u run RSOP.

You will see also the conflicting one's.

A
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Author Comment

by:exNavyNuke
ID: 37003252
Thanks everyone for your suggestions so far.  I will have to ask everyone to be patient because I've just found out that I have to leave town on a personal emergency and I won't be able to try anything until I get back which I hope will be at the beginning of next week.  I would ask the moderators to keep this open even if I don't respond for a few days.

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Author Closing Comment

by:exNavyNuke
ID: 37051305
I came back from my trip and looked at things again and found that for the users having the problems, their domain account profile tab had the home drive setting pointed to the server that no longer existed.  Fortunately I had permissions to edit these settings and once I removed the mapping in the profile setting the users were able to map their I: drive to their network home share and it would persist on future logons.

I split the points between pagsche & kevinhseih since they were the first to mention AD.  Thanks for everyone's responses.
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