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How can I hide the network icon within Windows Explorer in Windows Server 2012, via group policy?

I can do this on 2008R2 using the Windows Explorer "Extra's" settings, but no such setting exists for Server 2012. The 2008R2 setting within group policy is at the path:

User Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Custom Policies\Windows Explorer Extras

GPO Screenshot:

Explorer Extras

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    You can tell it's custom, because a vendor-provided GPO really shouldn't have typographical errors, like using an apostrophe to denote a plural noun. – mfinni Jul 23 '14 at 12:34
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First thing's first. This GPO you reference is a custom GPO. You can't find it for Server 2012 because someone built that option special, and packaged it up into an administrative template for group policy. Therefore, your best option for recreating this as a GPO you can toggle like you have it is to copy the custom admx file and edit in in a text editor with the new settings. Hopefully you know how to make/modify a custom admx, because that's a little beyond the scope of this question. (If you don't, you can use a Group Policy Preference to achieve the same thing.)

Second thing, I assume you're talking about the icon displayed below.

enter image description here

The presence of this icon is controlled by a registry DWORD value, named Attributes at:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{F02C1A0D-BE21-4350-88B0-7367FC96EF3C}\ShellFolder

enter image description here

The numerical value of that DWORD determines what the icon displays as... or if it displays at all. Its default value of b0040064 gives the default icon you see above. Changing that value to b0940064 will hide the icon (after logging off and back on again).

enter image description here

Assuming you don't know how, or don't want to go to the hassle of wrapping this into an admx for use as you did before, the quick and dirty way of applying this by Group Policy is to use a Group Policy Preference registry item, at Computer Configuration and/or User Configuration -> Preferences -> Windows Settings -> Registry. Create a new Registry Item and configure it to update that DWORD to the desired value.

The registry key and values are the same for Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 and Windows 8/Server 2012 (and I believe for Vista/Server 2008 and XP/Server2003 as well), so you can use this to create an admx or GPP that applies to all the operating systems you're concerned with.

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  • Ok. If you get some Cannot edit Attributes error, you must right click on the ShellFolder and go to permissions >> Advanced >> Advanced Security Settings and give the user/administrators Full control. Then the administrator will be able to change the file here is the helpful article – Jon Grah Sep 21 '18 at 13:23
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For this particular problem, if you want to disable the "Network" icon on the left side of the File Explorer navigation pane on a per user basis instead of system wide because it is nice to have as an administrator, you can create this registry key instead and implement it as a group policy preference.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CLSID\{F02C1A0D-BE21-4350-88B0-7367FC96EF3C}\ShellFolder

As mentioned above, you need to create a DWORD entry called "Attributes" and give it a value of "00100000" hexadecimal. After much research trying to get rid of other icons on the Ribbon UI, I found that the above value of "b0940064" technically does work but all you are really doing is turning on the SFGAO_NONENUMERATED bit in the hex, so the rest of data means nothing.

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An easier method without changing any of the bits or messing with the shell folder that has been customized. The below will just remove it specifically.

Under

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\NonEnum

Add DWORD

{F02C1A0D-BE21-4350-88B0-7367FC96EF3C}

Value:

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  • This works for me perfectly – Huy Than Dec 20 '19 at 0:19

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