Missing Contents of a Mapped Network Drive

Mapped Drives, Storage

So, you have a network with mapped drives applied by a Group Policy but a domain user can only see a couple of the many folders in the mapped location.

Weird, right?

Yeah, I thought so, too. But a little digging proved to me that this is pretty common if the users machine has one setting enabled: Offline Folders.

Now, sometime you may want this enabled for the very reason it exists. Mobile users can use offline files to make their network files always available offline by keeping a copy of these files, which are stored on the network, on their local device. This allows them to work with files even when they are not connected to the network or if the server is unavailable.

Desktop users normally don’t need to enable this feature as, if the network or server in question is unavailable, there are probably bigger issues involved. Regardless of whether or not there is a good reason to have this feature enabled, disabling it can test if this is the reason your folders are missing.

  • Open the Control Panel
  • Open the Sync Center
  • Select ‘Manage Offline Files’
  • Select ‘Disable Offline Files’

You will be prompted to reboot your machine. Once you log back in, check the mapped drive location and you will now see all of the folders that belong in that folder.

What causes this issue?

A slow network connection can prompt this behavior but, if you happen to run a gpresult /r you may see that the connection is considered fast enough: [Connected over a slow link?: No.] However, I’ve found this isn’t an accurate measure of whether or not this issue will occur.

Hopefully, this helps someone troubleshoot this problem. Please let me know if you’ve run into additional causes of only viewing some of multiple folders in a mapped location.

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