Windows ‘could not connect to all network drives’

Example error message
Innocent, but annoying, and should be easier to fix than it is.

Important: Please read the disclaimer section at the end before you attempt to do any of the things described in this article.

The problem

Every time I start my computer, I get the annoying error message “Windows could not connect to all network drives”, which is pretty pointless because all the network drives are indeed present, connected and working, even though they are marked with a red until I access them.

Important: If your network drives are not working, then you have an entirely different problem, the error message is not pointless, and this article may not be for you.

The problem in solving the problem

Every single guide that I’ve found requires Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise, in order to give you access to perform any of the suggested fixes. If, like me, you have Windows 10 Home, then, like me, you’re stuck without fancy, professional solutions.

You may find, like I did, that investing large sums of money into upgrading to Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise is not an attractive option. But wait, all is not lost!

The solution — to solving the problem

If the network drives are all working, then an intermediate solution is to simply get rid of the error message. This even works in Windows 10 Home!

Important: I highly recommend making a backup of the registry before you continue!

Open the Registry Editor as Administrator, and browse to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\NetworkProvider
COMPUTER
└─ HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
   └─ SYSTEM
      └─ CurrentControlSet
         └─ Control
            └─ NetworkProvider

If you find RestoreConnection within NetworkProvider, give it the value “0”.

If RestoreConnection isn’t there, you can create it by right-clicking on the white background, select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value, and make that value “0”.

This will (or should) stop the error messages. Your network drives will still show the ugly red but the error message won’t be bugging you anymore. And if for any reason you want to re-enable the error message, simply change RestoreConnection‘s value to “1”.

Mind you this is a cosmetic solution only; it has no influence on what actually happens in the system, doesn’t fix any actual errors, it just saves you that eyesore of an error message. Please enjoy.

Disclaimer — “The Small Print”

As always, I cannot and will not guarantee or promise anything other than that I tested this on my own system, and that it works on my system. I have in this case tested it on every Windows computer in our home, and it works there, too

I will not accept any responsibility whatsoever for any issues or problems arising from your attempts to do the same. You should either make sure you know what you’re doing, or have someone who knows what they’re doing do it for you, or be prepared to accept the resulting consequences if you do it wrong, or if for some reason your computer doesn’t take it very well.

Always make backups!

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