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I have a Windows Server 2008 instance that typically has no one logged in. I want it to have a drive letter Z: mapped to a remote share \sharecomputer\sharename, so that a web-app on the Windows Server instance can access files on the remote share through Z: The remote share requires a username and password to be supplied to access files on it.

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Technically it would probably be possible to write a program that uses net use or something similar to connect to the share. Then make that program run as a service, set it to auto-start and run it under the same user account as the web application. Then, you'd have to assign allow interaction with the desktop to the service. Even then, I'm not 100% sure it will work.

The best (and standard) thing to do here is run the web app as a user that has access to that share, and have it write to \\server\share instead of to Z:. Then you don't have to map the drive at all.

  • As I know, drive letters is per-user/per session only. – Moshe L May 8 '12 at 17:32
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Start the application under the Service Account once. Then stop it. There should now be a profile with an ntuser.dat file in it.

Run regedit. Navigate to HKEY_USERS (the bottom toolbar must say Computer\HKEY_USERS). File -> Load Hive -> Find that ntuser.dat file that you just created. Open. Give it a key name like "service account" or whatever, it doesn't matter. If the computer complains about the file being in use you may have to reboot.

Navigate to KEY_USERS\Service Account\Network. Right click that tree node, New -> Key. Name the key the drive letter in uppercase ("Z" in the Question).

Create the following values in that key:

Name                  Type           Value
ConnectionType        DWORD32        0x1
DeferFlags            DWORD32        0x4
ProviderFlags         DWORD32        0x1
ProviderName          STRING         "Microsoft Windows Network"
ProviderType          DWORD32        0x00020000
RemotePath            STRING         "\\path\on\network"
UserName              DWORD32        0x0

Navigate back to the KEY_USERS\Service Account level (click on it), File -> Unload Hive. Yes.

Start the service, it now has the network drive mapped (assuming the service account has access to the network share and NTFS permissions therein). If you're not in a domain or similar environment where the service account can be assigned permission to the share, you'd have to store credentials for the share. If that's the case it'd be much easier to make the service account a full user account, login as it, setup the network drive and stored credentials, than to do it all through registry settings.

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