Network drive letters in WinXP

Today’s Windows Tips and Tricks Update (subscribe here) has a good tip for those of us that still use tools that don’t allow UNCs and have to use drive letters for some of our network drives:

Q. Why doesn’t my Windows XP system display drive letters for my network drives, and why can’t I create long filenames and folders?

A. You might receive the error

“The drive that this file or folder is stored on does not allow long file names, or names containing blanks or any of the following characters: \ / : , ; * ? < > |”

You might also notice that no drive letters are assigned to your network drives. These problems can occur if Windows Explorer starts before your network logon script has finished running. A new feature in XP known as Fast Logon Optimization allows faster logon by letting the logon process continue, even while other tasks finish (such as applying Group Policy).

To resolve this error, you can revert the computer to a Windows 2000-style execution by performing the following steps:
1. Open Group Policy Editor (GPE) and locate the Group Policy that affects the client computers (e.g., the Domain Group Policy).
2. Navigate to Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, System, Logon, then double-click “Always wait for the network at computer startup and logon.”
3. Select Enabled, then click OK.
4. Close GPE.

Leave a Comment