We have a DFS namespace at \\company.example.org\dfs\ and inside that are entries for half a dozen folders. There is one namespace server, and no replication. The shares are all now on one server. Very basic.

I use Windows 8 Pro as a desktop, with a drive mapped to \\company.example.org\dfs\companyshare\

Suddenly, and arbitrarily, it stops working, with the error "Windows cannot access \\company.example.org\dfs\companyshare\"

I browse to the \dfs\ namespace folder, only one of the endpoint entries is there, the rest are missing. I can ping the namespace server and browse to the share as \server\share.

After a few minutes ... they reappear. Or I reboot, and it works again. This seems to happen on more than one Windows 8 client, but not on Windows 7.

I have run the DFSDiag tests linked, and they all come back fine.

In the properties of the \company.example.org\dfs folder, on the DFS tab, I see one entry in the referral list, which is active and status "Okay".

There are three domain controllers, 2008 R2 twice and 2008. All service packed and updated.

No event log errors that I can find on server or client.

Summary: Win 8 drops most of the DFS endpoints, and then a few minutes later, refreshes them. Nothing else seems to be wrong.

Where can I look for more information?

[Update: So far I have used the dfsutil diagnostics from TheFiddlerWins' answer, and found absolutely nothing. The only progress I've made is realising that the virtual machine in question still had 1 core and 3GB of RAM assigned, and now I've moved lots of roles onto it (printers, several heavy file shares), that was rather underpowered. Since increasing the available CPU and RAM for the machine last week, I haven't noticed this issue occuring again. Too early to say for sure that it's gone, but it might be that simple].

  • so the dfs names space is hosted on a w2k8 server not w2k8r2 correct?
    – tony roth
    Aug 19, 2013 at 15:28
  • No, sorry, the namespace is on 2008 R2, the 2008 DC shouldn't be involved in DFS, it just exists as a DC. Updated title to reflect this. Aug 19, 2013 at 15:42
  • anything in the eventlog on the win8 client?
    – tony roth
    Aug 19, 2013 at 16:05
  • Nothing I can find. Aug 19, 2013 at 16:12
  • and I bet that you can't make it fail on demand correct? If you can put netmon on the win8 client and see whats happening.
    – tony roth
    Aug 19, 2013 at 16:21

1 Answer 1


DFS (for some ungodly reason) uses NetBIOS style names (DOMAIN instead of domain.com) by default. This document from Microsoft tells you how to fix it. I suspect your issue is that at times it's able to resolve these names (via WINS, broadcasts etc) and other times not.

If that is not it try following this doc on DFS troubleshooting.

  • This looks interesting! I can resolve "DOMAIN" when it happens, but I'll work through the troubleshooting doc. For anyone reading, the dfsutil command is in the Remote Server Admin Tools, download links: Win8, Win7 SP1, and then needs to be enabled from "turn Windows features on/off" as described here. Aug 20, 2013 at 16:22
  • If you create a new DFS share for testing using FQDN does it work reliably? Aug 20, 2013 at 16:37

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