Mapped network drive not showing up in application open / save window

When certain programs will not show a mapped drive in the open and save windows of various programs it may be an indication that Windows is stopping the communication between that program and the network.   By turning off the UAC (User Account Control) you can eliminate any device between your program and mapped network drives. However, while reducing the UAC enforcement may look like an easy solution it is something you should only use as a last resort.  The UAC does a number of other functions that help reduce malware and other nefarious programs from ruining your system so it is usually something you want to keep in place.  

Under normal conditions Windows should have already implemented this solution, however, depending on installation and other factors Windows sometime misses this valuable registry entry and you need to put it in yourself.   The value is “EnableLinkedConnections” and is found in the Registry   HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System.  If Windows missed this then the key is usually missing but it could be shut off as well.  The value you want to put there is 1 to turn this on.

Directly from Microsoft:

Caution: Incorrect use of the Windows registry editor may prevent the operating system from functioning properly. Great care should be taken when making changes to a Windows registry. Registry modifications should only be carried-out by persons experienced in the use of the registry editor application. It is recommended that a complete backup of the registry and workstation be made prior to making any registry changes.  

To configure the EnableLinkedConnections registry value, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.
  2. Locate and then right-click the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
  3. Point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
  4. Type EnableLinkedConnections, and then press ENTER.
  5. Right-click EnableLinkedConnections, and then click Modify.
  6. In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.
  7. Exit Registry Editor, and then restart the computer.  

I have included a file that you can just run which will insert this value in the registry for you. 

It will give a warning about modifying the registry fist but it will just write over the value if it is already there and create it if it isn’t so either way it will work.

How to block third party / junk installations

 

There are a lot of “Free” software solutions to solve your problems out there.   Ranging from Anti-Virus to Uninstallers and even productivity tools like office suites.  These can be very useful but sometimes come with a catch. They install additional software which you do not want or need.  This is not uncommon for free stuff to have a gotcha in the form of advertising for other people.  But it can be annoying and sometime even dangerous in the case of malware.

Microsoft has a solution that can help curb this practice and it is built into Windows 10.  While not perfect, it will stop most third party junk-ware from installing.

You will need to manually activate it with Power Shell (built into Windows also).  To do this you will need to open Power Shell as an administrator.  Once it is open you will need to type in the following:

Set-MpPreference -PUAProtection 1

After that you can exit Power Shell and that’s it!

This is not a 100% solution so, as always, be careful when installing freeware or any software for that matter. 

Repairing Windows System Files

There are some base systems files that Windows must have to operate and to do so efficiently.   For some time now there has been a utility to check these files and report on their well-being.  This System File Check utility will check for damaged or corrupted files and repair what it can.   You only need to run it from an elevated command prompt with the command “SFC /scannow”.  The will initiate a complete of all the essential protected system files that would compromise your computer.

SFC /scannow

It, however, cannot always fix the problems on your system.  Sometimes this due to Windows updates and sometimes it is due to other issues.  When System File Checker cannot fix the system files there is a utility for Windows 8 and up called DISM.   The utility will check the files not only with internal checksums but with checksums over the internet from Microsoft.   There is a scan only option and a restore option.  You can use the restore blindly without scanning but if you want to see if there is anything first you should use the /scanhealth option.  You can run them back to back or use a single command line that will do if for you.

Back to Back would be:

DISM /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth

DISM /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

Or both together:

DISM /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth && DISM /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

(there is a space both before and after the &&)

 DISM takes care of matching and fixing files based on what’s current on the Microsoft cloud but SFC is still the go to file checker.  I would recommend running SFC then DISM then SFC once more to check that there are no more errors.  Running SFC first will probably fix most of (if any) errors on your system but if it gives and error you then use DISM as a backup.  Once finished with DISM you run SFC again to see if there are any unresolved errors left.

Both SFC and DISM can take some time to run depending on errors found and corrected.  So, I would recommend doing them when you have down time that you wouldn’t need your computer.

 

Extremely long file names and directory paths.

File Name too long?  Or perhaps along with the directory path it’s too long?

 When copying files for backup from long directory paths you have probably come across an error, every so often, that says something like “directory path too long would you like to skip this file?”.  The reason for this is that you are usually only allowed a maximum of 244 characters in the file name so copying a path which has over 244 characters in the name fails.  This does not happen often but sometimes with networks and programs that tend to nest subdirectories names can become too long for this rule.   With the introduction of Windows 10 (starting at revision 1607) Microsoft removed this limitation. However, this is not enabled by default to maintain compatibility.  You must opt-in for this feature to work.   There are two ways to do this, from the Registry or from the Group Policy editor (Not included in Windows Home).

For those of you that have Windows 10 Pro or above you can open the Group Policy Editor and navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Filesystem > Enable NTFS long paths and set it to Enabled.

For any version of Windows 10 (including Home) you can make a Registry change.  Always remember that registry changes can damage your computer to the point of completely ruining it.  Do not make these changes unless you are comfortable with it.

You will need to navigate to:  HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem and look for the DWORD: LongPathsEnabled if it is not there, create it as a REG_DWORD 32 Bit. The default value is 0 which is compatibility.  If you change its value to 1 then you will have enabled unlimited File/Path lengths.

I am adding a link to a zip file which has two Registry file modifiers which will do this automatically for you.  Just unzip the files and run the ExtendedFileNames_on to switch it to on and ExtendedFileNames_off to turn it back off.

Extended path / file length registry entry