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Bug Might Be the Cause of "Could not reconnect all network drives" Pop-Up

Bug Might Be the Cause of "Could not reconnect all network drives" Pop-Up

Windows 7 sometimes interprets print server ports as mapped drives

Recently, I upgraded a machine from Windows XP to Windows Vista, then from Vista to Windows 7. After I logged on to the Windows 7 machine, I received a pop-up that stated: Could not reconnect all network drives. Click here to check the status of your network drives. However, when I clicked the link, there were no drives or other devices with red X's to investigate.

When I did a little research, I found out that this pop-up window is supposed to appear when drive mappings to network file shares are currently unavailable or when there are common share permission problems. However, for some people, the pop-up appears even though the machine is online, has no networking problems, and permissions are correct. And for other people, including myself, the pop-up appears even when there are no mapped drives.

In the latter case, one of the common "fixes" is to look for orphaned or phantom file shares in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Network registry key and delete them. So, I decided to look at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Network. Figure 1 shows what I found.

Figure 1: Subkeys in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Network
Figure 1: Subkeys in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Network

As you can see, there are two subkeys. Both reference PrintServer01, which is a D-Link DP-300U network print server device with two parallel ports—P1 and P2—which I have connected to two printers. The printers' properties show that P1 and P2 are standard TCP/IP Line Print Remote (LPR) ports, each of which has a single IP address.

I decided to see whether Windows 7 is somehow interpreting the print server ports as mapped drives. So, I performed the following steps:

  1. I backed up the registry.
  2. I exported the two registry subkeys to a .reg file.
  3. I deleted the two registry subkeys. However, I didn't delete the Network key in the event that it would need to be present for some other legacy function.
  4. I logged off and logged on again. (This was necessary because the problem involves a user setting in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER subtree and not a machine setting in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE subtree.)

To my surprise, I no longer received the pop-up. To test this further, I imported the two subkeys back into the registry, logged off, and logged on again. The pop-up was back. When I deleted the two subkeys a second time, the pop-up was gone.

My print server is always powered up, but the printers are powered up only when needed. When I ran the tests, the printers were turned off. So, I turned on the printers and ran the same registry tests. No matter whether the printers were on or off, I received the same results.

These results show that Windows 7 is interpreting the print server ports as mapped drives. I don't think that this is Microsoft's intent. This feels like a bug to me.

Related Microsoft Article: Could not reconnect all network drives

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