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I've a question about the functionality of network drives in general and a strange issue I just ran into.

First, in regards to domains, how does Windows remember what mapped network drives you have attached to your computer? Is it based on your profile on the Domain Controller? Or is it tied to individual computers. I have had some serious hit and mostly miss occasions when I log into another computer on a domain and I don't have my mapped drives.

Second, I just found a case where someone logging into a virtual machine using RDP from a workstation found two sets of mapped network drives. One set was your typical set of mapped drives like '\\network_location' and another set was '\\local_computer\network_location'. Where one network drive referred to the actual location, the other referred to the mapped drive of the location on the local computer which they were using to access the virtual machine. What gives?


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Answer to first question:

There are many different methods for Windows to "remember" mapped network drives.

  • The first method, which is the most common, is for a user to map the network drive themselves and mark it persistent.

  • The next method would be for a Group Policy Object (GPO) to specify what drives are mapped. This can be on a per Computer or per User configuration, however the administrator has set it up. These can also be dictated down to a single user or group of users and also the same for computers.

  • A login script or other script can use command lines to add the network mapping when a user logs in.

Answer the the second question:

It is difficult to assess the answer to this because there is a lack of information on how the mapped drives are getting on the machines.

The hit or miss when you log into the computer could be any number of things, once again going back to lack of information, but it seems to me that it would be likely the group policy is not being pushed down to your computer and it doesn't create the mappings on login.

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Hi Travis. Sorry for the lack of information on the matter - I am not a domain system administrator though I wish I could get my feet wet with hands on experience. It does make sense to say that it is a domain GPO issue since the IT staff I am in has never had a very persistent domain admin to work on these things. Is it a login script that also allows users to re-add their 'custom' mapped drives when they log into a computer? I do thank you for your response! – ironman9330 May 6 '13 at 19:40
Are you a user or administrator at all? The login script doesn't allow users to re-add the maps, it is done on the workstation (My Computer, Map Network Drive). As you can imagine there are many ways to "skin this cat" so to speak. One method you can use to determine what GPO may be used if any would be to go to a command line and type gpresult or gpresult /R. Look for "Applied Group Objects" and that will tell you what is there. If you verify that you will have to connect to the domain controller and see what policies there are and what they contain. – Travis May 6 '13 at 20:09

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