Mapping a network drive is common among system administrators so that authorized people can access the network drive remotely. Unlike Logon scripts which create a batch script that runs every time you start your workstation, GPO is faster, easier, and more flexible.
Mapping network drives with Group Policy is a scalable approach for individuals or organization units (OU) who wants to work remotely. There are four steps you must take:
- Create a Group Policy Object (GPO)
- Link the GPO to an Active Directory (AD)
- Publish a Network Share in Active Directory (AD)
- Configure Map Network Drive with Group Policy
In this quick guide, let me show you how to map network drives with group policy.
STEP 1: Create A GPO
Log on to a Domain Controller
Navigate Server Manager > Tool > Group Policy Management
Expand your domain name and Group Policy Objects
Drag the Default Domain Policy on your domain to the GPO container
Click on OK to authenticate the copy process
Right-click the dragged Default Domain Policy (now copy of Default Domain Policy) and click on Rename
Rename to a new GPO (Now Map Accounts Share)
STEP 2: Link the GPO to an Active Directory Container/Organization Unit
Drag the renamed GPO to where you want to link it (i.e., the Organization Unit)
Click on OK to authenticate the process
Expand the OU container to see if the GPO is present
STEP 3: Publish the Shared Folder
Log on to a Domain controller
Navigate Server Manager > Tool > Active Directory Users and Computers
Open the container you want to publish the share
Click New and select Shared Folder to open the New Object – Shared Folder screen
Enter a name for the share and the path to the share (format \\\\ServerName\\ShareName)
STEP 4: Configure Map Network Drive Using Group Policy
Open Group Policy Management
Expand the container where you linked the GPO
Right-click the GPO to edit it
Navigate to User Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings
Right-click on Drive Maps and select Mapped Drive to open the New Drive Properties tab
On the General tab, click on the 3 dots beside the Location field
The Find Custom Search will open the list of published share folders.
Click the shared folder you published
Check the Reconnect box
Choose a drive letter or select one under Use the first available starting at:
Click Apply, then OK.
On the Common Tab
Select Run in logged-on user’s security context and Item-level Targeting
Click the Targeting Button
Select New Item
Under OU, click on users in OU or computer in OU
Click on OK
Reboot the system to make the mapped Drive visible under This PC.
GPO item-level targeting feature makes mapping flexible to manage users and computers easily. Mapping your network drive using GPO does not require scripting knowledge. Therefore, this process is easier and more efficient than Logon scripts.
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