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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Windows Domain - New User/New Computer

Group Policy/Drive Mappings/Folder Redirection

After a Computer is Joined to a Windows Domain or a User logs into the Domain, the Server applies a Group Policy which instructs the Client Computer/User Profile to act in a specific manner on the Network.  Examples of the Group Policy include Folder Redirection which redirects the Desktop and Documents folders to the Server.  The Group Policy may also be configured to add Drive Mappings to My Computer.

The Group Policy is not applied immediately.  It is applied by the Server using a time-based application process.  Therefore, after logging into the computer for the first time on a New Computer or as a New User, it is not unusual to have to perform a one-time Group Policy Update which forces the Computer to see the Server and apply the Group Policy.

To do so, you perform the following:

  1. Click Start - Run.
  2. Type: cmd
  3. Hit Enter.
  4. Type: gpupdate /force
  5. Hit Enter.
  6. Hit Y to log off.
  7. From the login screen, select Start - Shutdown - Restart.

After the computer reboots, log back in to insure the Documents and Desktop Folders are now redirected to the server and all Drive Mappings are now displayed in My Computer.  For example to check if the Documents folder is now redirected to the Server, you would right-mouse the Documents folder and then click Properties.  If the path displayed includes C:\ then the User Profile is still pointed to the C Drive.  The Path should be displayed as a UNC Path which would include \\SERVER\Username, etc. not C Drive.

In some cases, you may have the Folders redirected but the Drive Letters are not displayed.  This is normally an initial setup issue.  The computer should be set to DHCP and should be obtaining DHCP/DNS/WINS from the Server.  The Server IP Address should be the primary DNS Server on the Client Computer.  You can check this as well by performing the following commands:

  1. Click Start - Run
  2. Type: cmd
  3. Hit Enter.
  4. Type: ipconfig /all
  5. Hit Enter.  Scroll up/down to review the displayed information.

Windows XP computers in a Windows Server 2008/Windows Small Business Server 2011 Domain require the installation of Group Policy Preference Client Side Extensions for Windows XP (KB943729).  The Group Policy/Login Script/Drive Mappings are then properly processed by the Computer.  If the Group Policy continues to not be applied, this is likely due to the Computer Network Card, Computer Network Card Driver, Computer Processor, Computer RAM or the current state of Microsoft Windows.  Microsoft Windows may be corrupt and need to be reloaded.  If you need to reload Windows, I highly recommend using Norton Ghost as a backup prior to performing a Clean Install of Microsoft Windows.

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