When you try to access a DFS-N Link pointing to a WebDav Share you get an Network Name not Found Error message in Windows 7

Applies to: Windows 7 EnterpriseWindows 7 Enterprise NWindows 7 Home Basic

Symptoms


Consider the following Scenario:
  • You use a Distributed File System (DFS) Namespace
  • One of the DFS Links points to a WebDav Share (i.e. a Sharepoint Shared Documents Folder) with a path like \\Servername\Shared Documents
  • You use Windows 7 to access this DFS-Link

In this Scenario you encounter an Error Message when you try to access the Link the First time.
The Error Message states:

The network name cannot be found."


When you instead try to access the WebDav Path (i.e.  \\Servername\Shared Documents) directly you will notice a slight delay during the first access but the content of the Share is displayed.
Afterwards the DFS-Link works as well until the next restart.

Cause


When accessing the UNC WebDav Path directly the System determines, that it requires the WebClient Service in order to access the UNC Path provided.
Therefore it starts the WebClient Service and then access the WebDav path successfully.

When accessing the DFS Link, the System determines that it requires the DFS Client to resolve the Link into the UNC path and access it.
In this Case the WebClient Service is not started and therefore the access to the WebDav Path fails unless the WebClient was already running.

Resolution


Change the WebClient Service startup type to automatic.