Mapped Drives via Group Policy Preferences sometimes failing to connect
Posted on 2013-01-11
We recently changed all of the drives that are mapped for users from being applied via a login script (several actually, hence a desire to more away from them) to being applied with Group Policy Preferences. They have worked fine for a good few weeks but for the last 2 weeks or so, network drives have been unavailable to some users once logged in to Windows. It's only affecting some users. The vast majority get their drives connected without issue.
When a drive fails to connect it is listed in 'Computer', sometimes displayed ok and sometimes with a disconnected red cross - either way, if it's not working it will produce the error message when clicked on:
"An error occurred while reconnecting <drive letter>: to <DFS Namespace path>.
Microsoft Windows Network: The network path was not found.
This connection has not been restored"
Once this happens, I still find I can use a UNC path from RUN to connect ok. I can ping the server by both Name and IP. Interestingly the Network window fails to display all of the network devices.
We initially suspected a DNS issue and found that there was some config problems with the way DNS was set on some NICs. However, although we have corrected these, the problem still persists. We also have 2 servers on the site that are both capable of DNS queries. An NSLookup confirms that the client PCs are using the Primary DNS Server and can communicate with it and resolve DNS queries without issue.
I have been looking in to this for a while and have certainly tried things such as resetting Winsock with the command 'netsh winsock reset' - flushing the DNS cache of a client. I find that resetting the Winsock will get the drives back after the required reboot and the user is ok for the rest of the day but after shutting down and coming back in the next morning, the problem resurfaces.
*Even if I log in as a domain admin = same problem.
*A user that has never logged on to the particular client machine before = same problem.
*One client PC has been wiped and rebuilt and this has permanently resolved the problem for that machine.
*All problem machines are Windows 7 (there are a few XP machines but they have not encountered the problem)
*Mixture of desktop/laptop. Laptops are a mixture of wired/wireless, so unlikely to be a wifi issue
*Log on server/AD is Windows 2008 R2 Standard
*The Event Viewers reveal the following entry:
The user <drive letter> preference item in the <GPO> Group Policy object did not apply because it failed with error code '0x8007000f The system cannot find the drive specified.' This error was suppressed
* I have added a new drive mapping that is exactly the same destination as another one but instead of mapping using the DFS Namespace, it is mapped using the true UNC path. When the mapped drives next fail to connect properly, I intend to check if the single UNC drive still works (DFS issue??)
*I intend on testing the following GPO option if the above step does not reveal anything helpful:
enable “Process even if the Group Policy objects have not changed” option in “Drive maps preference extension policy processing” policy which is located at [Computer Configuration | Policies | Administrative Templates | System | Group Policy]
So as you can probably tell, I'm scratching my head. Any ideas or help would be much appreciated. Any questions or further info I can supply, please ask. Thanks for your time.