GPO to create Network Location in File Explorer RRS feed

  • Question

  • When you manually create a ‘network location’ to a network file share in File explorer it has the following characteristics: 
    - The share shows up to the left in the Navigation Pane
    - The share, with a special icon, is displayed under ‘Network Locations’ at the bottom of the center pane
    - The path to the share is shortened to only the share name; for example even, though the real path is “C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Network Shortcuts\Share (server.domain.local)” the address bar will show the share path instead “\\server.domain.local\share\”; This is important because file names, including the path, can only have 255 characters

    Add a network locationIcon

    Does anyone know of a way to use Group Policy to automate creating a Network Location in File Explorer? 

    P.S. I do not want to use mapped drive letters!

    Thursday, February 11, 2016 4:30 PM

All replies

  • Hi Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe,

    Thanks for your post.

    You could use the Shortcuts group policy preference to create network locations. Shortcut preference items allow you to configure a shortcut to a file system object .

    Please check the article for more details

    Configure a Shortcut Item

    And here is the similar thread discussed before, you could take a look.

    Group Policy Preference: Network Locations - How to add network locations

    Best Regards,

    Mary Dong

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help and unmark them if they provide no help. If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact

    Friday, February 12, 2016 3:51 AM
  • This solution is not what I am asking for. The only thing this will accomplish is add a shortcut to 'Network Locations' in File Explorer. The shortcut will not be added to the Navigation Pane and the address bar will point to the location of the shortcut instead of being shortened to the share name.
    Friday, February 12, 2016 10:57 PM
  • Still looking for a way to use GPO to create a Network Location. To be clear I mean 'Network Location' specifically and not a shortcut.
    Tuesday, May 17, 2016 5:40 PM
  • Just curious... Did you ever get this figured out? If so, I would love to know how you did it please. :)
    Thursday, April 20, 2017 12:18 PM
  • Anyone ever figure this out? Having it in my NavPane is the only missing link!
    • Proposed as answer by James Moyer Sunday, June 10, 2018 2:42 AM
    • Unproposed as answer by James Moyer Sunday, June 10, 2018 2:44 AM
    Tuesday, October 17, 2017 5:40 PM
  • For anyone still interested - I got tired of waiting for a solution to this problem, so I wrote a small app (Net Shortcut Distributor) that automates creating network location shortcuts and then automates distributing them to your domain users.  It's totally free and I've had it in production (for more than a year) at several sites.  It runs stand-alone, but you can also assign Task Scheduler to run it from a server on your domain to make it completely automatic (it can be run without an interface using a command line parameter.  It creates a log file as well. Runs on all modern Windows OS's but it's recommended that you run it as a domain admin.
    Sunday, June 10, 2018 2:58 AM