Shortcuts Created Under Windows NT 4.0 Resolve to UNC Paths

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IMPORTANT: This article contains information about editing the registry. Before you edit the registry, make sure you understand how to restore it if a problem occurs. For information on how to do this, view the "Restoring the Registry" online Help topic in Regedit.exe or the "Restoring a Registry Key" online Help topic in Regedt32.exe.
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SYMPTOMS

A Windows NT user may click a program's shortcut and be prompted to Enter Network Password, yet the properties of the shortcut indicate a relative path to the local computer.

This problem may become evident where server-based profiles are used and the user logs on to a computer other than the one where the shortcut was created.

CAUSE

Shortcuts created on a computer automatically embed a UNC (Universal Naming Convention) path such as \\<computer>\admin$ in the .lnk file. The default shortcut resolution method is to resolve the link to the original location of the file (the "absolute" path) before looking at another path of where that file may or may not exist (the secondary or "relative" path). In this case, the UNC path to the original file is always reachable, which prevents the link from being resolved by means of a local path. As a result, the user who is trying to run the shortcut is prompted for the administrator's password of the computer that created the link.

RESOLUTION

Apply the updated Shell32.dll from the latest Windows NT 4.0 service pack and then change the registry setting using one of the following methods for either the computer or the user. This will change all existing shortcuts that are showing the UNC path to the local relative path.

Use System Policy editor to create a policy file that is distributed when the user logs on to the domain. The advantage of distributing the registry change using Windows NT Policies is that users receive the change when roaming.

If the systems are in a workgroup environment, apply the policy to each user on a computer. Because the policy change is on a per-user basis and the policies key requires administrative rights, the user must have administrative rights to change the registry setting.

As an alternative, the Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Resource Kit, Supplement One ships with a utility called Shortcut.exe, which modifies the actual shortcut file and disables automatic link tracking of network shortcuts on a per-shortcut basis.

Distribute the Change Per Computer

To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Windows NT 4.0 or Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition. For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
152734 How to Obtain the Latest Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack


NOTE: If you are using Internet Explorer 4.0 and the Active Desktop, do not install the Shell32.dll file because it may cause Internet Explorer and Windows NT to not function correctly. However, the registry changes are still available. If you are using Internet Explorer 4.0 without the Active Desktop, install Shell32.dll as described.

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys And Values" online Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" online Help topics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry before you edit it.

To change these parameters, use the following procedure:
  1. Run Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe).
  2. From the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE subtree, go to the following key:
    \Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explor


    NOTE: Add the Explorer subkey, if it does not exist.
  3. Click Add Value on the Edit menu.
  4. Add the following value:
          Value Name: LinkResolveIgnoreLinkInfo
          Data Type: REG_DWORD
          Data:  1 (enable)
    						
  5. Click OK.
  6. Exit Registry Editor.
  7. The user must log off and log on before the change takes place.

Distribute Change to Users in the Domain

In a domain environment, the change can be applied using Windows NT Policies. Windows NT Service Pack 2 or later also ships with the appropriate Winnt.adm file that contains the registry setting to enable the policy change.
  1. Start System Policy Manager.
  2. Enable: Default User\Windows NT Shell\Restrictins\Disable Link file tracking
  3. Consult System Policy Editor Help or the resource kit for more information on using the System Policy Editor.

Change an Individual User

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys And Values" online Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" online Help topics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry before you edit it.

To change these parameters, use the following procedure:
  1. Run Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe).
  2. From the HKEY_CURRENT_USER subtree, go to the following key:
    \Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explor
  3. Click Add Value on the Edit menu.
  4. Add the following value:
          Value Name: LinkResolveIgnoreLinkInfo
          Data Type: REG_DWORD
          Data:  1 (enable)
    						
  5. Click OK.
  6. Exit Registry Editor.
  7. The user must log off and log on before the change will take place.

MORE INFORMATION

After the Shell32.dll file has been applied, the system resolves the relative path to the shortcut as expected. If the shortcut does not have a relative path and contains the UNC name to the executable or file to which the user does not have rights or cannot connect, the following message is displayed:
The file or folder "<filename>" that this shortcut refers to cannot be found.
For additional information, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
150215 Disabling Automatic Network Shortcut Resolution
195887 Shortcuts Created Under Terminal Server 4.0 Resolve to UNC Paths

STATUS

Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in Windows NT 4.0 and Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition. This problem was first corrected in Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4.0 and Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition Service Pack 4.

The English version of this fix should have the following file attributes or later:
   Date         Time         Size          File Name     Platform
   10/21/98    02:26p      1,296,656     Shell32.dll        Intel
   10/21/98    02:26p        308,916     Shell32.dbg        Intel
   10/21/98    02:37p      1,880,848     Shell32.dll        Alpha
   10/21/98    02:37p        265,604     Shell32.dbg        Alpha
				

Properties

Article ID: 158682 - Last Review: October 4, 2013 - Revision: 2.2
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbhotfixserver kbqfe kbbug kbfix kbnetwork kbui KB158682

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