Mapped Network Drive keeps multiplying - Windows 7 Pro

After hours of searching the web, I can't find an answer to this problem - only people having the same problem (both XP and Wiin 7) without a resolution at the end of the threads.

What happens is that Windows has started duplicating the first mapped network drive, which in my case is "G" from the first unused letter at the bottom (Y) and continues going down the alphabet until all the unused drive letters are used up.  

If I disconnect the phantom mappings manually, they progressively re-appear within a few hours, starting from the bottom and working their way up.

Q: T: V: W: and Z: are also mapped to various places, like the NAS drives, so Windows just skips those letters and maps any unused letters to the same place that G is mapped to.

Everything has been performing with an identical configuration and without a hitch for about a year now.  This just started happening a couple of weeks ago for no apparent reason.

No new software recently installed, scans for Virus / Malware come up clean and I can't find any sort of  pattern to it. I don't even need to re-boot, if I disconnect the drive mappings, within a few hours they're back again.

G is mapped to a shared drive on a MS Windows 2003 SBS Server.  

This machine accesses the Server via a Workgroup connection and is not connected to, or controlled by the Domain that the rest of the office is.

All drives have been mapped manually and there is no script that creates mapped network drives on logon.

If I click on the duplicated drive mappings, I can access all the folders on the server just as easily as I can when I click on G:

The machine is protected by Avast Endpoint Protection, MalwareBytes Pro and WebRoot SecureAnywhere, which are all up kept up to date and have been living happily together for several months now.

Anyone have any ideas how to fix this or how I can figure out what is causing this strange behavior?

Machine Specifications are as follows:

Windows 7 Professional [64Bit]  (Fully patched with critical updates at time of writing)
Intel DH67CL Mainboard
Intel Core i7-2600 CPU
16GB RAM
256GB Intel SSD (C:) - System drive
Generic DVD R/W (D:)
2TB SATA Storage Drive (E:)
2TB SATA Storage Drive (F:)
No Raid configured in any of the mix above
3TB Seagate USB3.0 Drive I image to nightly with Acronis Backup & Recovery (H:) which has been permanently connected to the machine for ages.

The above configuration hasn't changed for months and have had no issues. The machine is very stable and is only rebooted about once a week (or after MS updates) just to clear out any cobwebs :)

Maybe a problem with a recent Windows update?  I pretty much apply critical updates as soon as they become available but I see people complaining about similar issues from 2011 ?!

Google hasn't been any help so any ideas?  

Help! :)

Andy
LVL 20
Andrew LeniartSenior EditorAsked:
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Andrew LeniartSenior EditorAuthor Commented:
Hi Kostasp,

Yes I found that post during my searches however it doesn't apply due to totally different configurations.  I have no Logon.bat - never have had and the mappings I do have were done manually by me many months ago.

Also, as mentioned, a reboot is not required after manually disconnecting the phantom drive mappings.. 1 to 2 hours go by and they start appearing again and continue to appear until Windows runs out of drive drive letters.  Nothing in scheduled tasks either. As I mentioned, nothing has changed for a long time - this problem seems to have appeared out of nowhere.

Damn frustrating.. I hate being beaten! :)

Anyone else?
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skullnobrainsCommented:
if you create those drives manually, can you try and mount them in a directory rather than associate them with a drive letter ? no idea about the origin of your problem, but this looks like a possibly working workaround
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Andrew LeniartSenior EditorAuthor Commented:
Update:

I found a few posts around the web yesterday that stated a possible cause to the problem could be a broken link to a document on a desktop shortcut that points to G:\path\Document.??? - I did check my desktop for any broken links however all the Icons looked OK. They normally change if a link to the file they're pointing to becomes broken.

That said, in another forum I posted the same question and a user suggested the same possible cause which prompted me to check my shortcuts again, only more thoroughly this time by double clicking every shortcut Icon I had.  

Sure enough, though one shortcut "looked" correct, the excel spreadsheet it was pointing to in a folder on the G: drive was indeed broken because someone in the office accidentally deleted a static spreadsheet that the entire office occasionally refers to. It pointed to G:\Folder\SpreadsheetName.xls

I've now restored the spreadsheet from an Incremental Backup taken from a few weeks ago to its original location and have again disconnected all the phantom drive mappings on my machine and rebooted.  

So far so good, but as it took a couple of hours for the phantom mappings to start appearing yesterday, I'm waiting till late this afternoon before I'm convinced that was the cause of the problem.

What gets me is that the entire office (over 20 workstations) have the same link on their desktop yet no one else was getting phantom drive mappings appear on their own. The only difference is that my machine is the only Windows 7 box in the office - the rest consist of XP Pro, Vista and a Macintosh.

I'm hoping my problem is unique to Windows 7 and that's why the rest of the office didn't have an issue, but I'm certain I found people using XP complaining about this problem during my search for a solution yesterday, so I'm only cautiously optimistic until a few hours go by without phantom mappings re-appearing on their own.

Time will tell.. I'll report back when I've confirmed whether or not the issue is resolved.

Cheers..

Andy
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Andrew LeniartSenior EditorAuthor Commented:
Restoring the spreadsheet on the server, which in turn fixed the broken shortcut link to it on my desktop seems to have resolved the problem.  Been over 6 hours now and not a single phantom drive mapping has appeared.

Wish I knew why Windows behaves that way though.. If it's a feature, I'd class it as a bug and turn the stupid thing off.

Thanks to the couple of folks that tried to help.

Cheers...
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skullnobrainsCommented:
YAWB ;) but a funny one, thanks for posting back

(YAWB = Yet Another Windows Bug)

actually, if that is the issue, i stumbled on something similar in the XP days, and though i do not remember much, i remember it only appeared in a specific situation where the network was not browsable. i'm VERY unsure but i kinda remember one among disabling netbios, firewalling the DC, or disabling nla made this problem occur. maybe this will help if you have to do some more debug.
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Andrew LeniartSenior EditorAuthor Commented:
Because it turned out to be the solution, prompted by a member in another forum.
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