Make Mapped Network Drives Work with UAC Elevated Apps

Posted in Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista by Steve Sinchak

Ever wonder why you get network authentication errors when you are trying access a mapped network share from a process that was elevated with UAC? That is because each administrative account, starting with Windows Vista and newer, runs with two security tokens.  One with low rights that is the default and then the administrative level token. When you run something as administrator or change a setting that requires the UAC prompt, your token is switched and runs the action under that context. 

Network drives that were mapped under the default low rights context token are naturally not available to other tokens which is why you get authentication errors.  The workaround is to apply a registry tweak that allows the local security authority to use all tokens currently assigned to the logged in user and access a network connection with any that work. 

  1. Open Registry Editor by typing in regedit on the Start Menu and hitting Enter.
  2. Navigate through HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, Software, Microsoft, Windows, CurrentVersion, Policies and System. 
  3. Right click on System and select New and then DWORD value. 
  4. Enter EnabledLinkedConnections as the name. 
  5. Right click on the new EnabledLinkedConnections and select Modify.
  6. Set the value to 1 and click OK. 
  7. Reboot your PC.
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