Mapped drives not accessible until user opens network share in explorer

At startup, mapped network drives would not auto reconnect. Some windows 7 users were having issues with opening recent files directly from the associated application or when storing their AutoArchive PST on a mapped network share. The system could not find the file. When opening up Windows Explorer the mapped network drives had a red X as if they weren't available, upon double clicking to open the X disapeared and the mapped drive works as intended. Recent files stored on the mapped drive would work normally as well.

Our environment runs a vbs logon script which maps drives per user. The fix that I found has worked for my environment was as simple as adding a registry key "EnableLinkedConnections" as laid out below. Microsoft states the issue comes from UAC (User Access Control) where it blocks application access to drives mapped via cmd as a security threat. UAC is not enabled in my environment so I'm assuming there is another reason for the issue, the fix worked regardless.

Microsofts Solution:
Important This workaround may make your system unsafe. Microsoft does not support this workaround. Use this workaround at your own risk.

To work around this problem, configure the EnableLinkedConnections registry value. This value enables Windows Vista or Windows 7 to share network connections between the filtered access token and the full administrator access token for a member of the Administrators group. After you configure this registry value, LSA checks whether there is another access token that is associated with the current user session if a network resource is mapped to an access token. If LSA determines that there is a linked access token, it adds the network share to the linked location.

To configure the EnableLinkedConnections registry value, follow these steps:

  1.     Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press Enter.
  2.     Locate and then right-click the following registry subkey:
  3.     HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
  4.     Point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
  5.     Type EnableLinkedConnections, and then press Enter.
  6.     Right-click EnableLinkedConnections, and then click Modify.
  7.     In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.
  8.     Exit Registry Editor, and then restart the computer.

After the restart try opening up a file on a mapped drive from within an applications recent places, as well as open Windows Explorer and ensure the network drives do not have a red X over the mapped drive.

I have found that this solutions effectiveness to be inconsistant for all systems. From the amount of visits and searches for solutions it's apparent that this is a widespread issue and needs a group effort to fix, please join the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #enablelinkedconnections or by tweeting @Try2Stopus

The link below is to Microsofts Knowledgebase article on the issue.

I can be reached for comments, questions or ideas on twitter @Try2StopUs

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