Best practice assigning drive letters/mapping drives

Hi,

Can anyone helps suggest the best practice for handling the need for more than 26 drive letters in an organization? Until recently, uniquely assigned drives worked for us as there was no membership overlap but now we have a fair amount of overlap (we have many subnets and organizational units) forcing us to manually map drives to letters that are currently not in use for the user. This is sloppy at best and certainly inefficient.

We've considered the idea of conditionally assigning drive letters, and that could work, but it does break continuity and could leave us exposed to other issues later. One of which is that our users have come to expect that drive letters are truly representative of the drives they are mapped with.

How are others out there handling this problem?

Thank you!
mbresitAsked:
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rindiCommented:
why use drive letters at all? I'd only use them or two or three most important shares. All others you can access via the url or network neighborhood.
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piattndCommented:
IMO if you have a need to have that many mapped drives, I would combine all the mapped drives down into 1 drive letter.

For example, lets say payroll members need access to 45 shares (for some god awful reason).  How the heck can you accomplish this?

I'd create 1 share and inside that share have shortcut links to all the 45 shares they need access to.  As more shares need to be added, you create new links in that existing share.
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mbresitAuthor Commented:
Are there any disadvantages to using 'network location/UNC' in general when compared to drive letter mapping? That is, is there anything we should look out for other than the obvious things such as certain programs pointing to drive letters rather than UNC paths?
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rindiCommented:
None come to mind at the moment. Actually in my point of view UNC is usually easier, as you can see the share names, and those can have a more descriptive name than a drive letter does. So, in particular for those that aren't used so often it is easier for the users.
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mbresitAuthor Commented:
I assume then there are ways to script the mapping of UNC paths instead of drives? Assuming so, this would likely be the way to go as prescribed. Thanks.
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piattndCommented:
When you "map" a drive, all you're doing is setting a UNC path equal to a drive letter.  Instead of typing \\someserver\someshare you double-click on the drive letter and it expands that location.

UNC is not very intuitive from an end user perspective.  They will not know what server a share is hosted off of, they simply know it's the "L drive" or the "R drive".

Additionally, Rindi is assuming none of your shares are hidden (end with a $).  A hidden share will NOT show up if you simply UNC to the root of a server (\\servername).

Again, for the sake of simplicity for your users and you, I'd suggest moving forward with a single shared drive that then has links off to other shares that are relevant to that group of users.

Payroll would have the P: drive mapped to \\someserver\payroll_links and payroll_links would contain a bunch of shortcuts, like "financial reports" or "leave notices".

HR would have a drive mapped to \\someserver\hr_links.  HR_links could have a link to "leave notices" and "business policy".

Doing it this way would require you to only map the drive as appropriate for that group of users, which can easily be done via GPO or scripting.
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