Windows allows mapping shared folders as logical drives, but this is a per-workstation setting. In large organizations, there are often shared folders which must be accessed by many workstations. Adding or changing drive mappings can be highly tedious in this case.
If the workstations are connected to a Windows domain, Group Policy can be used to deploy drive mappings to large numbers of workstations at once.
- Share and set permissions on the folder such that it is accessible from all desired workstations.
- On the server, open gpmc.msc via the Server Manager or Start > Administrative Tools > Group Policy Management.
- Open the domain (Forest > Domains > <Domain>). Either use an existing Group Policy Object (GPO) or create a new one by right-clicking on the domain name or one of its subfolders and selecting “Create a GPO.”
- In the Security Filtering section, set which Computers, Users, or Groups the policy should apply to. By default this is all Authenticated Users.
- Right-click on the policy and click Edit. Go to User Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings > Drive Maps
- Right click on the shortcuts page and click New > Mapped Drive. Action should be set to Update (create if it doesn’t exist, update if it does), Location should be of the form \\<server>\<share>. Normally, the reconnect box should be checked, and a Label is optional. Set the drive letter that will be used for point to the share. Connect As can be used to enter alternative credentials, but in most cases this should not be necessary.
A reboot of the workstation may be required. gpupdate /force may also work. In practical testing it appears as though the Update operation does not always work if the mapped drive letter is already in use with a different destination.