Cannot browse network shares in Windows Explorer, but paths are still accessible

Posted by Jeff Lockhart on Super User See other posts from Super User or by Jeff Lockhart
Published on 2014-06-01T09:06:30Z Indexed on 2014/06/01 9:30 UTC
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Windows Explorer has somehow corrupted itself and I'm not sure how to fix this problem. My Windows installation has been in use for a few years with network shares setup and working. Recently, I noticed that a program that I use to save network share paths to a database was no longer opening the explorer window to browse the path. It usually opens to the last path saved, but now it was just not opening at all.

When I go to Windows Explorer to browse the network share directly, I get the error \\SERVER is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the administrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions. The specified network provider name is invalid. The network shares are just shares on the server itself (once saved to the database, they're used on the server as well as clients to reach files).

The strange thing is, the files are still accessible from the program that uses them if I type the network share path in manually. So it is only a problem with Windows Explorer browsing the path.

The reason I think there is some sort of configuration or setting, possibly in the registry, corrupted is that when the problem first manifest itself, I was somehow able to open an explorer window to a network share path, but the breadcrumb in the address bar did not function properly. It duplicated the share name folder at the top of the breadcrumb stack and when I clicked the second of the duplicated share folder, it crashed explorer.exe. I haven't been able to browse any network share path since this happened.

I have tried using the IP address directly \\192.168.1.# as well as \\localhost and neither of those work either. I have tried running sfc /scannow and it did not find any errors. I tried ipconfig /flushdns and this made no difference. Attempting to map the network share to a drive fails using either the explorer GUI or net use command.

Is there some way to reset Windows Explorer somehow to resolve this? I'd really like to avoid reinstalling Windows entirely if I can.

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