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IT: How to Map Network Drives on Windows Clients via Group Policy

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Mapping network drives is one of the most common jobs for a network administrator. In the past we used to use a script, but there is a group policy setting that can save us the scripting effort.

Note: this is part of our ongoing series teaching IT administration basics, and might not apply to everybody.

Mapping Network Drives Using Group Policy

Open the Group Policy Management Console by searching for it from the Start Menu.

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You’ll want to drill down into your domain until you reach the Machines object, where you can right-click and choose to Create a GPO.

Note: Although the OU in our example is called the Machines OU it also contains some users. The Group Policy Setting that allows you to map drives is a User setting and is therefore assigned at logon, this means that the OU that you tie the GPO to should contain Users rather than only computers.

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We have to give our new policy a name, we will name ours Mapped Drives (General).

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Now we can right click on the policy and choose edit.

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The policy that controls mapped drives is located at

User Configuration\Preferences\Drive Maps

We need to select the policy and right click in the white space and select new mapped drive.

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Change the action to create, and type a location for your shared folder.

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Now set the label, this is the name that will appear on the drive in my computer. You will also need to choose a drive letter, it is a best practice to choose a static letter across the board, the last thing you need to do is change the radio button at the bottom to Show this drive.

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Now when the users logon the drives will be effortlessly mapped.

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 01/18/12

Comments (10)

  1. Tom Parker

    Honestly don’t see the point it’s a lot easier to use a batch file easier to edit rather than trailing through the GPO editor.

  2. InT0XeD

    Surprised to see there’s no blackout going on….

  3. emir

    hotogeek please support SOPA go blackout

  4. joseme

    Please go blackout, support NO SOPA :)

  5. digitalrefuse

    This GPO setting works on Windows Vista/2008 and newer systems, but XP/2003 and older clients won’t accept this policy as it was introduced with Windows 2008.

    Because of this and the fact that there’s also no advanced logging or error handling inherent to this method, I’m still relying on a VBScript that generates a simple log during the mapping process and allows me to easily track down any problems with drive mapping failures.

  6. jfg357

    It works with XP/2003 after applying the MS KB943729 patch.

  7. Anthony2oo5

    Can you post the links to all the other articles in this IT series ?

  8. jim

    ^agreed

  9. Emily

    We have this policy in effect. One problem my users are complaining about – if they disconnect from the network to show a video on the projector they lose the mapped drive. Is there any way to correct this?

    Thanks

  10. Williams

    I need help doing the above on Windows Server 2003. Most of the functions outlined above are not available in server 2003, I’m not good with scripting.

    Thank you.

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