How to Map Network Drives with Group Policy (GPO): A Tutorial | V2 Cloud

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How to Map Network Drives with Group Policy (GPO)

  • July 25, 2022
  • Author: V2 Cloud

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 want 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 a 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

 

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  • 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)
  • Click OK

 

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

 

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  • 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.

 

Conclusion

 

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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FAQs: Mapping Network Drives with Group Policy (GPO)

What are the prerequisites for mapping network drives using Group Policy?

To map network drives using Group Policy, you’ll need administrative access to your Active Directory domain controller, knowledge of Group Policy Management, and the path to the shared network folder you wish to map.

 

How do I troubleshoot if the network drive is not mapping correctly?

Ensure the Group Policy Object (GPO) is linked to the correct organizational unit (OU). Check the GPO settings for any misconfigurations, verify network permissions, and use the “gpresult" command to diagnose policy application issues.

 

Can I map multiple network drives using a single GPO?

Yes, you can map multiple network drives by adding multiple drive mappings within the same GPO. Each drive mapping should have a unique drive letter and path to avoid conflicts.

 

How often does Group Policy update on client machines?

Group Policy updates every 90 minutes by default on client machines. However, you can force an update manually by running the “gpupdate /force" command on the client machine.

 

What happens if a user is not connected to the network when the GPO is applied?

If a user is not connected to the network when the GPO is applied, the drive mapping will not take effect. The user must connect to the network and refresh Group Policy to apply the settings.

 

Can I use GPO to map network drives for specific users or groups?

Yes, you can target specific users or groups by applying item-level targeting within the GPO. This allows you to map network drives based on user or group membership.

 

Are there alternatives to mapping network drives using GPO?

Yes, alternatives include using logon scripts or third-party tools. Additionally, V2 Cloud provides a simpler solution with its virtual desktops, allowing you to manage network resources without complex setups.

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