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Why do my network drives disconnect when my computer goes into a power-saving mode?

We have a small network with a Windows 2003 server and about 20 workstations
with Windows 7 or XP Pro. Whenever one of the PCs goes to a screen saver or
power save mode, it temporarily loses connection on the shared network folders.
Clicking on the drive letter with a red X quickly re-establishes the
connection, however, this temporary offline state causes havoc with many of our
older applications that require a continuously mapped drive. Thanks in advance
for anything you can say.

In this excerpt from
Answercast #82
, I look at various settings to help manage power savings
modes and keep a network from disconnecting.

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Power modes disconnect network drives

There are a couple of things that I would have you look at in the computers that are experiencing this problem.

We’ll start with Control Panel: in Power Options, definitely look into the Advanced settings. What you’ll find there may include your network adapter, PCI items and other devices that have specific control-ability for various power states.

It’s difficult to say exactly which states will apply and which devices will show because, in part, that’s what’s provided by the driver for each device. However, if it’s there, that may allow you to specify a continuous or always-on state, even when your computer goes into some sort of power save made.

BIOS settings

The other thing to look at is actually outside of Windows completely. I’d have you take a look at your BIOS; your computer’s BIOS.

It is also one place where there are various settings that help control your computer’s power usage. Some of those may, similarly, include powering off when not in use or inactive – where things like standby and low power modes qualify.

So, look for Power Options; it may be under something called APC or Other Power Related settings in your BIOS. Once again, I can’t tell you exactly where because BIOSs are different, and in fact there may not be any power settings at all, but it’s a place to look.

Change power-save settings

The other observation that I would make then is: one way to simply side step this problem is to change your screen saver to never come on.

Change your low power settings to never happen!

In other words, make sure that the computers that are experiencing this problem never put themselves into the state where the problem occurs. That’s kind of a last resort scenario – but it’s a scenario that potentially could solve the issue if there aren’t other power management options available in the places that I’ve already listed.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

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