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Folder Redirection Issues - Mapped Drives

Document folder redirection was applied about a year ago, redirected to a file server with a path like \\server\users\Documents. These [url="https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/storage/folder-redirection/deploy-folder-redirection"] directions were followed. Upon creating the GPO for the redirection, a mapped drive was never specified as the ideal behavior was that the user would click on their Documents folder and have no knowledge of the files actually being on a server rather than saved locally. However, it appears that the policy created a mapped drive and the users have been accessing their files by clicking on the mapped drive instead of their Documents folder.

This wasn't an issue until one day the drive went from being Z: to U: and no users could find their documents. In the group policies, we cant find anything specifying a mapped drive. We have un-applied the GPO and redirected the documents to a different server. The new redirection works, and we specified a new mapped drive at \\server\users\%USERNAME%\Documents to avoid this issue in the future.

However, the Z: drive still appears, and short of creating a login script to delete the drive every time, I'm not sure how to get rid of it. Any advice?
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James BunchSystems Engineer

In that document you linked I do not see anything about adjusting the GPO to allow for mapped drives to apply to accounts. The Z drive had to have been created from something, whether its a login script, scheduled task, or part of some other item.

If you manually remove the drive on a user and then log out and back in does it reappear? If so, something is pushing that connection back out after sign in. You can create a GPO to "remove" the Z drive on login if necessary but it would be best to find that director and how they are getting introduced. Some of the items to help narrow down would be...

  • Does it happen for every user, only certain ones, only certain security groups, etc?
  • If you manually remove it and reboot/sign in, does it happen? If so see next...
  • If this occurs on domain profiles, attempt a local profile. Its possible the "Computer" and not the "User" has a GPO or something pushing it.
  • Does the Z Drive let you traverse other user folders? Security permissions should keep everyone but the System and Owner out, so can you go into another users folder without seizing ownership or assigning yourself?
  • What is the infrastructure like? You mentioned moving to another server, so I assume you have multiple, but do they all act as Domain Controllers?
  • If you are on an account that was redirected prior to new server, what are the target properties of the files on Desktop, Pictures, Documents, etc.?

What is the Domain forest level/what OS are you using on these devices?
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage

Sign in to an affected system as a user.

Open CMD and CD \Temp (create if it does not exist).

GPResult /H UserName.HTML

Open the produced file to have a boo at what policies are being applied. If not obvious as far as which one has the offending setting go through them one at a time. Drive letters are usually User settings in Group Policy Preferences.
Network Engineer
The Z drive is often specified as part of the user account for their home drive. It is a user property, not GPO.
Distinguished Expert 2019

Amped user hone for as Kevin points out is part of the userA's object profike tab where possible roaming profile, and user home for path us set.

Sone process may have run that changed the mapping.

using folder redirection with server based share poses a risk when replacing the server.
It is my opinion that using a domain based share provides more flexibility to transition between server upgrades which serve as the storage for such shares.
kevinhsiehNetwork Engineer

I always point user home directories, mapped drives, and redirected folders to a domain based DFS Namespace to virtually eliminate issues that can happen when migrating to a new file server. Redirected folders in particular are very sticky and the path is set in the registry. You can't just switch from one server to another without using DFS Namespace.
Distinguished Expert 2019

To add to Kevin's to switch from one server to another server, you either have to manually update each users refirect reference in registry..
To use GPO changes, you must make sure the folder redirection policy setting are set to reverse the redirection when the policy no longer applies. This will copy the data back into the profile. You then gave to create a new GPO that redirects the folders to the new destination.
The user will experience a login delay when the change is seen. I.e. The user has to be denied access or the old policy unlinked. Such the files are copied back on the next login they are copied /moved out to the new destination.
If using roaming profiles as well, that becomes more time consuming depending on the amount of data


Thank you all, every answer was helpful. Kevinhsieh was the most helpful answer, I found that in ADUC, some users had their home directory mapped and some were still set to local. I changed everyone who had the home directory mapped back to local, signed the user out and in, and the Z drive was gone.