All about Drive mapping in Group Policy Preferences

by Sitaram Pamarthi on January 8, 2010

 I had spent real huge amount of time in dealing with drive mapping in Group Policy preferences in last week. It’s easy as you see, but very difficult when you want to troubleshooting. So, I decided to write this post to help my blog visitors by providing as much as information I have gathered/learnt in Drive mapping related things. 

As said before, things are really smooth when you configure drive mapping preference for the first time.  If you start playing with it to satisfy different kind of situations, then you are caught.  What I did to make my life tough is, I deleted the mapped drives after login and did a “gpupdate /force” no drives were mapped L. Again, what I did is, I re-logged into the machine and found that they are not in place still. I surprised and made relogin again, this time they mapped. Finally after applying multiple tests like this, I came to a conclusion that, I have below two problems… 

  1. Drive mapping is not happening at every attempt
  2. Background processing of drive mapping is not working

 The very big mistake I did to resolve above is, trying to resolve both the problems at same attempt and really mixed up the things and made myself confused.  After taking a break, I followed the divide and conquer method. 

Problem#1: Drive mapping not happening at every login

Initially I am not sure why the drive mapping is not happening at every login. I ran rsop and there drive mapping processing time is not updated. This made me to realize that drive mapping CSE didn’t triggered at all. Well, now I enabled GPO debug logging on my Windows 7 machine and started looking at the logs. They are clearly saying that drive mapping CSE processing skipped as there is no change in version number. Hmm, whatever it is doing is right and I have enabled “Process even if the Group Policy objects have not changed” option in “Drive maps preference extension policy processing” policy which is located at [Computer Configuration | Policies | Administrative Templates | System | Group Policy] and restarted my PC. Things started working and drive mapping is happening every time I re-login.

First problem is solved. Let’s move on to the second problem.

Problem#2: Background processing of drive mapping is not working.

After login, if I delete mapped drives and initiate a “gpupdate /force” command, my drives are not coming back. I again relied on GPO logs and realized that drive mapping CSE refresh is happening as part of background processing. I STRONGLY recommend to not to follow the description of Drive mapping CSE; it is really contradicting with its behavior. As per the policy description, drive mapping refresh should work during the background processing by default — but it is not the case. Now I went to the registry key, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogonGPExtensions{5794DAFD-BE60-433f-88A2-1A31939AC01F} and changed the value of “NoBackgroundPolicy” to “0”. This did the trick and background refresh of drive mapping started working fine.

Hurry…I resolved both my problems and trying to figure out a new problem I observed just now.  I will blog it as soon as I resolve it. 

To Summarize:

How to make GPO to process Drive mapping at every login:

  1. Edit the GPO which is applicable to your computers and navigate to [Computer Configuration | Policies | Administrative Templates | System | Group Policy]
  2. Now go the properties of “Drive maps preference extension policy processing” policy and enable the option “Process even if the Group Policy objects have not changed”
  3. Save you GPO and reboot your machine

 How to enable background processing for drive mapping CSE:

  1. Go to regedit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogonGPExtensions{5794DAFD-BE60-433f-88A2-1A31939AC01F}
  2. Locate “NoBackgroundPolicy” value and change it to “0” from “1”
  3. Now try doing a background refresh by issuing the command “gpupdate /force” and it should work

Thanks for reading the log story and happy learning,
Sitaram Pamarthi

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