This is really odd. I am used to seeing the DNS zone files in c:\windows\system32\dns and I do, indeed, see them there now on my fresh Windows 2012 install. I can open a command prompt and CD to that folder and there they are. But NO application will access the folder. If I try to open, say, C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\DNS\AA.DNS it says incorrect path. If I try to brows from that application and dig down to the folder, I cannot find it under System32. What am I missing?? It feels like its a link or shortcut to another folder somewhere.


  • Works fine for me. If you open command prompt and run the following command what do you get? type C:\windows\system32\dns\aa.dns – user5870571 Mar 13 '17 at 17:10
  • "Windows cannot open this type of file". I find that I CAN open it in notepad but nothing else. Its like the DNS folder doesn't even exist. – Jon Glazer Mar 13 '17 at 17:11
  • C:\WIndows\System32\dns is not a junction (symbolic link). It is really a path. If this is a DNS zone, why would you try to open it in something other than Notepad or the type command? It isn't clear what you are trying to do or why. – user5870571 Mar 13 '17 at 17:18
  • I love the "why do you want to do that" questions. I understand the curiosity. I have 3000 zone files. I need to replace all the a.b.c.d IPs to w.x.y.z in every zone. Simple to do in most text editors (except notepad). – Jon Glazer Mar 13 '17 at 17:21
  • Are you not able to open them all in Notepad++? Obviously with Server 2012 R2 you may need to copy the files to your desktop first, edit them, and then copy them back because C:\Windows is protected and you need to have Windows give you the UAC prompt to write the files to that directory. – user5870571 Mar 13 '17 at 17:23

For posterity: I may not have given serverfault enough time to find a solution but I did work around this by using SUBST.


Now I can work with X:\ without any issues. But I am curious if anyone can explain why this is happening.


You stated that you used notepad++, but did you right click and "Run as administrator"? User Account Control can be tricky at times. The only other way is to grant your user explicit access to the files/folder.

  • Yes I tried run as administrator. Again, notepad works (not even running as administrator). If it was a permissions thing then the SUBST solution above wouldn't work. Just really odd. – Jon Glazer Mar 13 '17 at 18:11

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