Shortcuts Created Under Windows NT 4.0 Resolve to UNC Paths

This article was previously published under Q158682
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

IMPORTANT: This article contains information about editing the registry.Before you edit the registry, make sure you understand how to restore it ifa problem occurs. For information on how to do this, view the "Restoringthe Registry" online Help topic in Regedit.exe or the "Restoring a RegistryKey" online Help topic in Regedt32.exe.
SYMPTOMS
A Windows NT user may click a program's shortcut and be prompted to EnterNetwork Password, yet the properties of the shortcut indicate a relativepath to the local computer.

This problem may become evident where server-based profiles are used andthe user logs on to a computer other than the one where the shortcut wascreated.
CAUSE
Shortcuts created on a computer automatically embed a UNC (Universal NamingConvention) path such as \\<computer>\admin$ in the .lnk file. The defaultshortcut resolution method is to resolve the link to the original locationof the file (the "absolute" path) before looking at another path of wherethat file may or may not exist (the secondary or "relative" path). In thiscase, the UNC path to the original file is always reachable, which preventsthe link from being resolved by means of a local path. As a result, theuser who is trying to run the shortcut is prompted for the administrator'spassword of the computer that created the link.
RESOLUTION
Apply the updated Shell32.dll from the latest Windows NT 4.0 service packand then change the registry setting using one of the following methods foreither the computer or the user. This will change all existing shortcutsthat are showing the UNC path to the local relative path.

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

If the systems are in a workgroup environment, apply the policy to eachuser on a computer. Because the policy change is on a per-user basis andthe policies key requires administrative rights, the user must haveadministrative 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 theactual shortcut file and disables automatic link tracking of networkshortcuts 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 theMicrosoft 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 notinstall the Shell32.dll file because it may cause Internet Explorer andWindows NT to not function correctly. However, the registry changes arestill available. If you are using Internet Explorer 4.0 without the ActiveDesktop, install Shell32.dll as described.

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems thatmay require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannotguarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editorcan be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys AndValues" online Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add andDelete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" online Helptopics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry beforeyou 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 NTPolicies. Windows NT Service Pack 2 or later also ships with theappropriate Winnt.adm file that contains the registry setting to enable thepolicy 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 thatmay require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannotguarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editorcan be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys AndValues" online Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add andDelete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" online Helptopics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry beforeyou 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 therelative path to the shortcut as expected. If the shortcut does not have arelative path and contains the UNC name to the executable or file to whichthe user does not have rights or cannot connect, the following message isdisplayed:
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 attributesor 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: 10/04/2013 16:43:43 - Revision: 2.2

  • 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
  • kbnosurvey kbarchive kbhotfixserver kbqfe kbbug kbfix kbnetwork kbui KB158682
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