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OS: Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

So say we have one user that has a mapped network drive on his computer at work. This user also maps the same network drive on his personal laptop to work from home. The laptop reaches the mapped drive network via a VPN. Both computers use the same AD login credentials to access the network drive. Would this cause a problem?

I'm actually experiencing an issue where the network drives mapped on the work computer are disconnecting and giving the error whenever I try to reconnect:

An error occurred while reconnecting <NETWORKDRIVELETTER>: to \\DC\Home\<ADUSERNAME> Microsoft Windows Network: The local device name is already in use.

The Connection has not been restored.

I also found that the logon.bat script for the domain user virtually deletes the network drive and remaps the drive at each login. IE:

net use H: /delete
net use H: \\DC\Home\%username%

Additionally, the work computer maps the drive via WindowsDNS Names like \\DC\<NETWORKSHARE> while the laptop maps the drive via the DC's IPv4 IP like \\192.168.169.50\<NETWORKSHARE>

I know this setup violates many of the standard protocols and practices of setting up a AD domain and users, but I inherited this mess and am trying to make sense of it all as a traditional Linux admin coming into the Windows AD admin role.

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The reason why the logon script deletes H: first so users don't get the quoted error ("Local device name already in use"). In that error, Local device name means the drive letter you are trying to map to, (e.g., H:).

When you get "Local device name already in use", it either means a network drive is already mapped to it or there is some local drive using that drive letter. Common local drives today are SD card and other type of media card slots that are built into some laptops and desktops.

If you have a computer with C: and D: partitions, a DVD-ROM drive at E:, a combination media card reader using F: and G:, all you have to do is plug in an external USB hard drive and it will take up H: and then you can get this error. Of course other combinations can cause the same problem. Like if you have several external USB drives or more than one optical drive.

Sometimes mapped drives seem to disconnect but the mapping is still maintained, which means you can't remap to the same drive letter (unless you disconnect first). You don't have to re-create the mapping, you should be able to just double-click the mapped drive with the red X on it in Explorer and it will try to re-connect. If it can't re-connect, the VPN might have dropped or there might be some other network problem.

Edits to address your question more directly:

Both computers use the same AD login credentials to access the network drive. Would this cause a problem?

Not at all.

I know this setup violates many of the standard protocols and practices of setting up a AD domain and users...

Not so much, in my experience. The logon script is a bit dated (it's better these days to map home drives/folder, if at all, using the AD user properties on the Profiles tab), but it should still work fine. The fact that mapping from home uses an IP address instead of name points to a possible DNS or WINS misconfiguration for the VPN virtual adapter properties. Aside from that I don't see any real red flags in what you have described.

  • Thanks, Todd. The issue that kinda bothered me with the whole additional external drive mappings taking over the network drive mapping letter was that the user is working from home and RDPing into his computer to access the drives sometimes. We mapped the network drives on his personal laptop as a contingency in case RDP didn't work.answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-networking/… So there's no one plugging anything external into that work computer. – PanManCan Feb 26 '16 at 18:29
  • I however was able to remap the network drives without a logout and login nor reboot. I looked under the credentials manager and noticed there was a windows credential that wasn't even on the active directory domain. After deleting the credential, the error stopped popping up and I was able to access the drives normally. I'm going to delete the network mappings on his personal laptop cause it's redundant if he can just RDP into his work computer. – PanManCan Feb 26 '16 at 18:31
  • @PanManCan So you solved your own problem? You could put that as an answer and accept your own answer for future readers. – Todd Wilcox Feb 26 '16 at 18:37
  • Hahaha, yeah. Unfortunately it was right before you posted your comment. I really appreciate the input though! – PanManCan Feb 26 '16 at 18:38

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