Mapping users to network shares without using drive letters

Our file server is Windows 2008 R2 with Windows 7 clients mainly, a handful of Windows 8.1 and a few XP clients.

I would like to stop using drive letters for mapping users to network shares and would prefer to map by any arbitrary name I choose.  We only have and need 1 file server to host all users data on a VM in the SAN so I don't see DFS as a solution since there is only 1 file server in the environment.  I know you can map by UNC name \\server\sharename but when it comes to Group Policy Preferences and AD user profiles home directory, it seems you must pick a drive letter to map to the share.

I'd like to use Group Policy Preferences to do this but want to get away from the "mapped drive letters".  

For example, if I was sharing Departments and had HR, Accounting and Sales subfolders, etc... under the root of Departments and was using Access Based Enumeration and Sally needed to get to HR and Accounting , how would I accomplish her having her view to her data in  My Computer show "Departments" (or any name of choice) instead of Z:\server\departments or \\server\departments?

Thank you
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Thomas GrassiSystems AdministratorCommented:
you can use the set-location

Create a powershell script


David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
md c:\department
mklink /d  C:\department\ShareName \\Server\ShareName\Directory

Open in new window

rd c:\department /s/q

Open in new window

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msandhorstAuthor Commented:
Login scripts are not preferred since GPO preferences are a better way of mapping users to shares.  Is there a way to do this using GPO preferences?
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Thomas GrassiSystems AdministratorCommented:
msandhorstAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the help, it shouldn't require using powershell scripts to do something as simple as a network share.  It seems were getting off track. There must not be an easy way to get away from mapped network drives and choosing a name for the share.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
using the mklink method that I proposed works. We use this when we start running out of drive letters.
This is a small environment. No way should you run out of drive letters. That, and there isn't really a good way in the Windows UI to not use drive letters unless you want to have shortcuts to UNC paths on the desktop. Yes, the mklink method can work but is highly unusual.

I suggest that a DFS namespace is appropriate for most environments, from single server to very large organizations. DFS namespace allows you to do two things: change file servers without breaking existing drive mappings, shortcuts, or UNC references within documents, and consolidate drive mappings and shares to a single entry point. I provide a single main drive letter that can be used to access ALL of the shares on 15 servers. Organize the DFS namespace properly and users should have no problems. Obviously navigating 1000 shares through a single namespace would be a challenge for people, but a dozen or two shouldn't be a problem. Heck, you could have a single drive with 100 links in a flat namespace if you wanted.
Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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Windows Server 2008

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