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UNC Root not accessible

Posted on 2014-04-04
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Last Modified: 2015-02-23
Hi,

Have what seems like a strange issue.

I can access any network path via UNC convention...
\\computername\sharename
without any problems.

But I cannot access the root...
\\computername\

The response is "Windows cannot find \\computername\"

Since UNC's are working for subfolders, why would they not be working for the root. Please note this not a permissions issue etc. It had been working fine for quite some time (years, actually) and has started to do this over the past week. OS is WinXP SP3.

Failure seemed to coincide with using Sysinternals AutoRuns and de-selecting entries that  apparently had no associated file. Since then, all of the very same items were restored.

Thanks!
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Question by:DanielT
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39979436
If you want the root, the proper form is \\computername\c$

\\computername\ does not and has not normally worked for me so I just doing as above. That does work for me and should work for you.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39979463
Thanks. What you have suggested is access to the admin share.

This is not what is needed. Normally, when navigating to \\servername all server shares will be presented (depending on setup).
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39979467
As I noted, I have seen \\name\ and it usually do not work. The map needs some sort of folder which is why it is failing (in my experience).
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by:Netman66
ID: 39979475
The trailing forward slash is likely the culprit. Try it without.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39979480
Without the slash produces \\name\IPC$ which is the same as \\name\C$. That is how it worked on my machine.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39979494
Thx.
Have tried with and without trailing backslash. No difference.

For other comments, please consider question in full. I know this works just fine (or used to) and it worked that way for a long time. It is normal if you have shares that they will show when navigating to root UNC path. If there are no shares, yes - C$ would be used or there would be no access.

Thx! :))
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39979497
You must be admin (and on both machines I think) for \name to work.  

I do not know why the form you used might have worked because mapping needs a target. One likely answer here is that security updates stopped it. That is probably the answer to your question.

The best form (because it works for all users) is \name\folder.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39979527
Hi John,

Access perms OK. Not to mention that I woul not have access to the subfolders.

Keep in mind this has nothing to do with mapping. It is a UNC path, specifying \\TargetComputerName\ShareName\... (Dots just indicating 'and so on')

No security updates were done but SysInternals AutoRuns was used just prior as mentioned.

I do believe there is something fundamental in WinXP that is messed up but am unsure of what that may be.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39979529
\\name\ has never been the proper way to share a folder.  So beyond updates (which are always going on), I don't know what else would stop it. But the practice has always been wrong.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39980245
Here's some more info if it helps...

I have found that some UNC paths work and some actually do not!? Further, I have found that the ones that do not work with Windows Explorer will work with Powershell.

Example
\\Servername\music
In Powershell...
- This will change to the directory and show contents with all subdirs being navigatable
In Windows Explorer
- Windows cannot find \\Servername\music.....

Does this make any sense??
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by:Netman66
ID: 39980303
Check your DNS server to make sure the computers/servers are listed only once with their correct IP in both forward and reverse zones. Delete duplicates with wrong IPs.

Obviously, DCs will have more than one entry for services, so we are looking for A and PTR records that are duplicates.

It sounds like resolution is doing round-robin with some bad entries.

Let us know.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39980336
Powershell (command line) can fine a folder and Windows cannot.

No, that makes no sense and has not happened to me.

1. Is this one computer or more than one?  Try a different Windows user account (profile).

2. Is the powershell script using admin privileges and Windows Explorer not?  That will make a difference.

3. You said this was XP - correct?  You could have a virus as XP is not very secure.

4. If the cause it networking (above suggestion) try also resetting TCP/IP to see if that helps.

Open cmd.exe with Run as Administrator
Then  netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt
Restart the computer
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by:DanielT
ID: 39980377
Have to read last posts and check accordingly as soon as I can... thx for continued feedback.

But in meantime for you 'guys' that do not believe :)
- attached is a screenshot from a Win7 system on same network for the "root" UNC path that shows all current shares. This is normal for a UNC path when there are shares on the target system.

No need to debate this further if you are so inclined.
Just wanted to show you it is quite true! :)))
2014-0405-1254.36-ss--ROOT-UNC-l.jpg
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by:DanielT
ID: 39983452
NetMan66
Good points but this is small network (HO) and DNS is handled by router, Server is Storage Server but is not being used for DHCP or DNS at this point. Still - will check router and may even switch over but since this is localized to one system and occurred after specific actions (above) I believe it is just "windows" that is messed up on the client (WinXP).

John
May not make sense but it is working that way. This there is some component that Windows Explorer uses and PowerShell does  not that is out of order. As just above, perhaps it is just WinXP that is messed up. Powershell and Windows Explorer are running under same (admin perm) account (not using runas etc).

I thought I tried another profile but excellent idea. Will check/recheck that,

This is only one system. All others are OK.

XP is clean. Virus is not the cause. As mentioned above - was after using Autoruns for changes that should not have affected anything!

I will also run netsh and advise. (Had tried to remove bindings from adapter and allowed reinstall.)
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39983496
Also, \\name\ is not a supported form. I am not surprised it does not work or is flaky. Why not just use the correct form (\\name\folder for users;  \\name\C$ for administrators). That works for certain in all circumstances.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39983673
Updates...

- Resetting TCP/IP, restart made no difference
- Issue is not profile related (same issue in alternate admin profile)

John,
Not arguing as to whether \\name is supported or not but I can assure you that it does normally work - and it actually works reliably (but it will not work through a command line interface such as Powershell). However, so you know - \\name\C$ fails in the same manner as already described.

Was going to upload small video to show explorer result for share (\\name\share) and also successful powershell result but cannot.

Recap
WinXP Explorer will not navigate to \\name\graphics (or to \\name\c$)
Powershell handles \\name\graphics just fine, with access to subdirs etc etc but does not work for admin \\name\c$ format.

I believe this is a core WinXP issue such as a service or related file. BTW,
I did run SFC but there was no change to the symptoms/issue.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39983693
\\name\ "but I can assure you that it does normally work "

Never has for me. As I noted, it is not the correct format. I have no idea on one machine why it works.
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by:Netman66
ID: 39983951
\\Name should work fine as it will show you everything that is shared.

Is the server service running on the machine with shares?

Is netbios over tcp/ip enabled on the share machine and the workstation accessing shares?
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by:DanielT
ID: 39984034
John,

Let's drop the \\name part of the conversation, please. You made your point but I could send you a long list of machines it works on for shares that are on target system.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39984049
NetMan66,

There are approx 5 computers that all connect OK with std UNC paths. Just this one does not - and it is a recent 'change' at that.

Check the NetBIOS already but rechecked on offending machine. Default setting is set to "Use NetBIOS from the DHCP server...". Had also tried to use the "Enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP" before but will try that again.

Server service is fine, yes.

Thanks!
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by:Netman66
ID: 39984237
Also check workstation service on offending machine.  Sorry, should have added that to last post.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39984461
That's OK too. Running at time of check and set to automatic.
2014-0407-1703.32-ss--Workstatio.jpg
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by:DanielT
ID: 39984567
Well - I'm no guru with this but ran Wireshark to monitor traffic while I tried to access another computer from the "problem system". No trace of the target system was found in the data - as if Windows does not even 'try' but just shows its pop up (as attached).

I also ran Wireshark on one of the shares that does work and I could see "who has" activity for the systems announcing each other.

Also, when navigating to "My Network Places" and then clicking "View Workgroup Computers" - nothing happens. This should open a list of connected computers.
2014-0401-2105.46-ss--UNC-Root-E.jpg
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by:Netman66
ID: 39984593
In C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc

There is a file named Hosts and one named LMHOSTS (no file extension).  Compare the content of each with a working machine. If there is no LMHOSTS (just an LMHOSTS.SAM), then ignore that one file.
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by:Netman66
ID: 39984625
Computer Browser service should also be running on that workstation.

If these machines are in a workgrounp, be sure the workgroup name matches.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39984729
Hi Netman

- There is no LMhosts file (except the 'sam' version)

- hosts file is empty (ie: only default local host entry for 127.0.0.1)

- Machines are in same workgroup

- Computer browser is not running on WinXP but is "auto"; Runnning manually will just make a system log entry stating the service started and then stopped and that some services will stop if there is nothing to do (or something similar to that)
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by:Netman66
ID: 39984773
Is that behavior consistent with the other PCs?

I hope you don't mind that I am throwing things at you as I think of them.  It's not easy diagnosing blindly - you must know the feeling too.

Short of seeing it myself, I'll just continue thinking on it.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39984790
Don't mind at all.

Many things I had/have checked but I would rather this system work than me having to rebuild it as it is a support laptop and has a TON of stuff on it. Understand as well how tough it can be, yes.

Also had tried a restore on this immediately after which has worked many times for other issues but various dates just do not work and report they "failed"! (see below*)

RECAP for significant point...
Have ever used AutoRuns? Sysinternals utilities generally work very well. The system "broke" when I allowed AutoRuns to simply not load items that it said did not exist. A sample of this is attached (an nVidia related file despite the name). At the same time, this is a start-up manager and I had since re-enabled all of the "missing" items since it was then that it failed. It did not restore functionality.

* In addition (although a long shot as all has been running well and stable otherwise!) there were the beginnings of a HDD failure (failed short DST, still quite runable) when the above utility was used (was unknown until after); the system is back up with a new HDD but perhaps it is possible that some related files were affected in imaging and reimaging due to damaged areas. I may run SFC again as I am not 100% whether if it was before or after. :(

That's all for now...
2014-0407-2034.48-ss--AutoRuns-E.jpg
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by:DanielT
ID: 39984797
BTW - no it is not consistent. Just this workstation (actually, laptop)

Also - I have reviewed all the the entries that AutoRuns said did not exist in case one was actually needed and perhaps corrupted etc but none would make any sense to affect O/S for network file access.

Getting ungratefully closer to a system rebuild...
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by:Netman66
ID: 39984821
What I meant about consistent, was with respect to the Browser service starting and stopping.

Please email me at my alias here at gmail.  I will send you the Microsoft Installer Cleanup utility if you don't have it.  You may be able to fix whatever seems to be blocking up the pipes.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39984831
Oh - sorry!!  :))
All other systems are Win7 but will check and post.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39984852
Computer Browser is running on 2x of the Win7 systems.
On both, forcing a restart results in the service continuing to run.
In this it is different than the WinXP system.
Could be issue... WinXP not giving any cause other than attached,

Have file [msicuu2.exe] as MS Installer Cleanup.
Is this the utility you were referring to?
< Thanks for the offer BTW - may still need it! :) >
2014-0407-2201.05-ss--Computer-B.jpg
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by:Netman66
ID: 39984863
Yep, that's the file.  Not sure what the last version available is.

I have found that to work for things where nothing else seemed to.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39984888
The one I have is v7.2 - dunno if it was the latest.

I will probably give SFC another try - it takes awhile.
Then, if still no good. I will try MS Installer Cleanup!
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by:Netman66
ID: 39984934
Oops, I think that utility was a thought for another question!!  Not sure that is even relevant to anything you are having issues with.

Sorry!

It's late and I should really go to bed - lol.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39984960
Ha! I installed it, looked it over and wondered what it would help with as it is application specific! Was just going to post that. But I had not used it before so I did not know if it looked for partial installs etc and cleaned up. Oh well. NP!

The SFC check did not need to take any action.

Issue is still the same.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39986083
NetMan66
I saw your comment said you SHOULD go to bed. Presume you did eventually! :))

Another update...
Had another WinXP laptop that was packed away with a nice new  image (but reasonably up to date at SP3+) and the operation of the "computer browser" service was exactly the same as my "problem" system.

So the only clue I have is that it IS windows (due to Wireshark showing no network activity attempt). For that the protocol used for initial comm was ARP. Unsure whether there is a problem there or Windows is just not even calling it.
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by:Netman66
ID: 39986341
Try putting it in a dummy workgroup, rebooting, then placing it in the right workgroup and rebooting. Perhaps there is some corruption somewhere that may correct itself.  

Yes, got some sleep finally!
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by:DanielT
ID: 39986840
Easy to try - But if so - why would some UNC paths work (only 2x I think)?
Weird.

Lots of details have been flying around; think this was above somewhere...
- View My Network Computers shows NO systems.

Also,
A mapped drive connection does not work
Trying to map a new connection and expanding "Entire Network" returns empty list
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by:Netman66
ID: 39986992
The network empty condition is why I think it may be a workgroup thing. Like you said, easy enough to eliminate.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39987093
Workgroup change made no difference.
Changed to std "WORKGROUP" and the same UNC paths were accessible
Changed back to required workgroup name - same issues - no change.

Entering...
\\computername1\dir1\_Filing\Temp\XFER >> WORKS
\\computername1\dir1\_Filing\Temp >> WORKS
\\computername1\dir1\_Filing >> WORKS
\\computername1\dir1 >> WORKS

\\computername2\data >> WORKS

But
\\computername1 >> DOES NOT WORK
\\computername1\music >> DOES NOT WORK
\\computername1\software >> DOES NOT WORK
\\computername2 >> DOES NOT WORK
\\computername2\downloads >> DOES NOT WORK
etc etc

Pretty much anything that is not on the same path of one of the above - does not work.


Not looking good to avoid a software rebuild. :((
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by:Netman66
ID: 39987118
What is the result of this command on the machine that has the shares?

net share
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by:DanielT
ID: 39987188
Looks normal to me.
Remember, it is not just one machine's shares so cause is unlikely to be elsewhere.

Have attached as image to keep formatting neat...
2014-0408-1649.21-ss--NetShare.jpg
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by:Netman66
ID: 39987244
Looks normal.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39987328
Do you know of dependencies for... "View My Network Computers" or navigating "Entire Network"? Either of these methods of accessing computers in the network should show available systems. Services, Files, etc?
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by:Netman66
ID: 39987436
Have you tried the Network Diagnostic tool in Help and Support?

Just remembered XP had that.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39987612
Not sure I have in this case.
Usually if I have not found the cause it doesn't either.
Will try. :))
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39987771
DanielT - I keep looking but cannot come up with anything.

Can you please help me (and possibly others) by answering the following. You want Root access (all folders). I do this routinely.

\\name\ does not work for you. Correct?  It does not work for me.

\\name does not work for you. Correct?  It does work for me.

\\name\C$ - does this work for you?  It works for me in XP, Vista, Seven, and Eight on any PC or Server I have ever tried and gives Root access.

\\name\folder  works for you and me and is not of interest to this question.

Thank you for indulging me as I will try to help if I can.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39990478
Hey John,
Welcome back. NP.

Consider - I think you must realize (as I) that this is a deeper issue and is something fundamental messed up in Windows.

\\name does not work
\\name\C$ (etc) does not work
\\name\folder does NOT work (for most shares) (*)

(*) As for the last comment...
There are actually two shares (one from each of 2 different computers) that DO work but nothing else does. This is tough to believe - even for me - but I cannot upload video so you can see it for yourself.

I am familiar with this stuff and it is not permissions or any basic config problem but must be some core part of Windows that is not 'working'. See above comments (for other details as well) - no computers show in Network Places/Entire Network. All systems are pingable and are recognized also by name. All other computers on network have access to shared resources.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39990482
Also - to repeat - it is any share on any computer that fails on this ONE system.  
All fail in the same manner.

:((
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39990589
I think you are at a point that this one XP system has got an operating system bug that is proving difficult to pinpoint.

If you can, let the system go as XP is dead. Just replace it. If you cannot replace it, then you need to consider rebuilding it.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39990617
Was expecting as much. Just seems odd that SFC or other checks cannot resolve.

Will not know for sure for awhile though - cannot rebuild now.

System is laptop. Aware of XP EOL but not all that concerned. There is good advice to upgrade but a lot of hype as well. May move to Win7 if drivers needed are available; will have to see.
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by:Netman66
ID: 39991251
I read further up that you reset tcp/ip, was that the winsock reset?  If not, give that a go.

Netsh int ip reset c:\ipreset.txt

Post log results.
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by:Netman66
ID: 39991267
You also stated this is the only xp machine?

If these shares on on a windows 7 box try changing this registry value:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters>Size from 1 to 3.
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by:Netman66
ID: 39991270
That reg edit should be on the sharing machine, not xp.
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by:DanielT
ID: 39993297
Can check into winsock reset.

Don't think the RegEdit is an issue or need though. There are 2 (or three) machines sharing folders and none are accessible from this same WinXP machine. Other systems can access shares fine. Shares are on combination of WinStorageServer2012 and Win7.

Could try adding share on WinXP and accessing from others just to see if there is any further info given - or it works.
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by:Netman66
ID: 39993886
I believe you will find that it may boil down to SMB versions since XP does not support SMB 2.

That reg setting may need to be done to all share machines so XP can access.

Try it out on one machine to see if it cures the XP access.
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by:DanielT
ID: 40023511
Sorry for delay in updating... pesky clients and year-end!

Anyway,
Winsock reset - no effect
RegEdit - no effect

In a related matter, I removed a network printer as it was slow to respond. Was simply going to reinstall. Install printer wizard does not list "network printer" as an option and I cannot re-add it.

Windows is messed up and I do not think my enquiry can be answered being the desire to fix vs rebuild.

It seems that the only UNC shares that work are actually those that had been saved on the desktop from before this all started. ANY other paths (that are not subdirs of those just mentioned) do not work - whether higher on same share or a different share.

I have NEVER seen this with any system before
Thanks for your efforts.
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Accepted Solution

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DanielT earned 0 total points
ID: 40618145
Well, this is both embarrassing due to the length of time but also very cool that the question was left open.
This issue has been resolved!!

I had been hobbling along only because most network connections had been saved in My Network Places but the issue (to recap) had persisted...

Could not open any root UNC path.
COULD open a UNC share if it haad been stored in My Network Places.
Gave errors such as "no program associated with this icon" or "unable to access network resource" etc.

Here was the fix for me.
To not much surprise it was in the registry...

The Bad entry was...
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\NetworkProvider\Order]
"ProviderOrder"=hex(22bef90):42,00,43,00,4d,00,4c,00,6f,00,67,00,6f,00,6e,00,\
  00,00
"New Value #1"=""

The Good entry was...
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\NetworkProvider\Order]
"ProviderOrder"="RDPNP,LanmanWorkstation,webclient"

I have no idea how this changed but all is well.
Root UNC paths and network resources are available.

While I did do a lot to find a solution over time, it would be appropriate to give credit for this.
My source was HERE...
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Author Closing Comment

by:DanielT
ID: 40625311
Issue was resolved soled due to information posted in may last post.
It took a long time but issue was easily confirmed as "fixed"! :))
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