Network Mapped Drives are Not Available: Need to EnableLinkedConnections

Network Mapped DrivesProblem

From a Windows application, you try to browse to a folder or file on a network mapped drive and the drive can't be selected. Only the local drives are available.

Reason

When User Account Control (UAC) is enabled, if you run a problem a program as Administrator (elevated), you can't see network drives unless a registry setting is changed to allow it.

This is because the mapped drives were created under a login different from the administrator login.

Solution

Notwithstanding how ridiculous it is that running as Administrator gives you fewer permissions than other users and prevents you from seeing the mapped drives, the solution is a simple change to the registry. Alternatively, you can login as Administrator and remap the drives.

Changing the Registry for EnableLinkedConnections

The following information presumes you know and are allowed to make Windows registry changes.

The EnableLinkedConnections value needs to be set to 1 under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

You can download and run this REG file to implement it. It's contents are:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System] "EnableLinkedConnections"=dword:00000001

For your convenience, you can download it here: policies.reg

Reference

For more information, read this Microsoft KnowledgeBase Article 3035277:

Mapped drives are not available from an elevated prompt when UAC is configured to "Prompt for credentials" in Windows

Applies to these Windows versions

  • Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server R2
  • Windows 8.1 and 8
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista