Fix: The Local Device Name is Already in Use Error on Windows 10 / 11

Local Device Name is Already in Use

Are you running into a frustrating error message – “The Local Device Name is Already in Use” when trying to access a network drive in Microsoft Windows 11 / 10? 

We’ve been there!

Ready for the resolution? Let’s dive right in!

Causes of ‘The Local Device Name is already in Use’ Error in Windows

In the daily operations of a network-based system, encountering the ‘The Local Device Name is already in Use’ Error on Windows is quite common. 

This tends to appear when we attempt to access files through a shared folder or map drives within a network domain.

Several factors can trigger this error, and certainly, one that cannot be overlooked is unsuccessful network drive mapping. 

Clogged-up server space serves as another typical cause behind this issue. Insufficient room on the server stops us from accessing or saving new data into it, which often results in displaying the error.

Alternatively, issues with drive letters – either they are assigned incorrectly or missing entirely from the system.

How to fix it?

1. Restart Your Computer

 A quick reboot ensures all changes are implemented and the connection to your root drive is re-made.

This step has pretty much solved 90% of our cases having this error!

2. Remap the Drive (used to access a network drive) Using Command Prompt

Remapping the network drive would potentially fix the problem.

This process involves only a few steps:

  1. Begin by opening your start menu and searching for “Command Prompt.”
  2. Once you find it, right-click on the first result.
  3. From the ensuing options, choose “Run as administrator.” You’ll need to grant permission if prompted.
  4. In the Command Prompt window, type in “net use * /delete” and press Enter. This command will delete all existing mappings.
  5. Next, input “net use Z: \\server\share /user:username password” and hit Enter again.
  6. Replace ‘Z’ with the drive letter you want to map, ‘\\server\share’ with your server address and shared folder name, ‘username’ with your server username on that server, and ‘password’ with your login password.
  7. After running these commands successfully, close Command Prompt.

3. Delete A Key In The Registry

You can try deleting the MRUList key in the registry.

Here’s how:

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “regedit” and press Enter to open the Registry Editor.
  3. In the left-hand pane, navigate to the following location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanWorkstation\Parameters
  4. Look for a key named “DriveLetter” or “MRUList” under Parameters.
  5. Right-click on the key and select Delete.
  6. Confirm the deletion when prompted.

4. Assign Drive Letters Properly

Here are some tips for assigning drive letters properly:

  • Open Disk Management by right-clicking on the Start button and selecting “Disk Management.”
  • In the Disk Management window, locate the drive that you want to assign a new letter to.
  • Right-click on the drive and select “Change Drive Letter and Paths.”
  • Click on “Change” and choose a new drive letter from the drop-down menu.
  • Click “OK” to save the changes.
  • Restart your computer to apply the new drive letter.

Check if the error persists upon a restart and continue further.

5. Enable File and Printer Sharing in Your Windows Firewall

Let’s check if file and printer sharing is disabled.

Enabling file and printer sharing in your firewall can help resolve problems with shared drives.

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Open Windows Defender Firewall by searching for it in the Start menu.
  • Click on “Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall” on the left-hand side of the window.
  • Click on the “Change settings” button, which requires administrator permission.
  • Scroll down and look for “File and Printer Sharing.” Make sure the box next to it is checked for both Private and Public networks.
  • If it’s not checked, click on “Allow another app…” and choose “File and Printer Sharing” from the list. Then make sure both Private and Public boxes are checked.
  • Click on OK to save the changes.

6. Ensure There is Enough Free Space on the Server

One important factor to consider is to ensure that there is enough disk space on the root drive of the server

Insufficient network server storage space can lead to conflicts and prevent successful drive mapping or accessing files in shared folders.

Therefore, it’s crucial to check the available storage capacity on the server and make sure it meets the requirements for your network operations.

Extend Partition

By extending the partition, you can increase the available storage and overcome this issue.

To extend a partition, you’ll first need to open Disk Management. You can do this by searching for “Disk Management” in your Start menu or by right-clicking on “This PC” and selecting “Manage,” then navigating to “Disk Management.” Once you’re in Disk Management, locate the specific drive that is causing problems and right-click on it.

From there, choose the option to extend it.

7. Changing the value of ProtectionMode in the Registry

You can try changing the value of ProtectionMode in the Registry.

Here’s how:

  • Open the Run dialog box by pressing Windows key + R.
  • Type “regedit” and press Enter to open the Registry Editor.
  • Navigate to the following location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanWorkstation\Parameters
  • Look for a registry key / DWORD value named “ProtectionMode” and double-click on it.
  • Change the value data from its current setting to 0 (zero).
  • Click OK to save the changes.

8. Delete the Key Named MountPoints2

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

  1. Before making any changes to the Registry, make sure to back it up. This will allow you to restore previous settings if anything goes wrong.
  2. Press the Windows key + R on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box.
  3. Type “regedit” and press Enter to open the Registry Editor.
  4. In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\NetworkProvider\Order
  5. In the right pane of the Registry Editor, locate and double-click on a value called “MountPoints2“.
  6. A window will open with a list of providers. Look for “LanmanWorkstation” and remember its value because we’ll need it later.
  7. Close the ProviderOrder window and go back to the Registry Editor.
  8. Navigate to this location now: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\WebClient\Parameters
  9. In the right pane, look for a value named “AuthForwardServerList” and delete it.
  10. Go back to the previous location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\NetworkProvider\Order
  11. Double-click on “MountPoints2” again and replace its value with what you remembered earlier (the value for “LanmanWorkstation”).
  12. Close the Registry Editor.

9. Update Windows

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Ensure your computer is connected to the internet.
  • Click on the Start button and select “Settings.”
  • In the Settings window, click on “Update & Security.”
  • From the left menu, choose “Windows Update.”
  • Click on the “Check for updates” button.
  • Windows will now check for available updates. If any updates are found, Windows will automatically download and install them.
  • Once the update process is complete, restart your computer.

Still having issues? Get in touch with a PC repair specialist soon!

Also See: Could Not Reconnect To All Network Drives?

FAQs

1. How do I remove network mapping?

To remove network mapping, follow these simple steps.

First, open File Explorer on your Windows computer. Then, click on “This PC” or “My Computer” in the left-hand navigation pane.

In the ribbon at the top of the window, click on the “Computer” tab and select “Map network drive.”.

A new window will appear with a list of mapped drives. Find and select the drive you want to remove and then click on the “Disconnect” button.

Confirm your choice by clicking “Yes.” The mapped drive will now be removed from your computer.

2. Why should I map a network drive?

Mapping a network drive can greatly benefit you in several ways.

First and foremost, it allows for easy access to files and folders that are stored on another computer or server connected to your network.

Instead of having to physically go to that location every time you need something, mapping a network drive creates a virtual shortcut right on your device.

By mapping a network drive, you can also streamline collaboration and improve productivity within your team or organization. Everyone connected to the same network can quickly share and access important files without any hassle.

This eliminates the need for emailing documents back and forth or relying on external storage devices.

Furthermore, mapping a network drive provides added security by allowing only authorized individuals with proper user credentials to gain access. 

3. What is a mapped drive?

A mapped drive is a virtual connection between your computer and a shared network folder or drive. It allows you to easily access files, folders, and resources on another computer or server as if they were located on your device.

When you map a drive, it gets assigned a letter (such as “Z:”) which represents the path to the shared location.

Mapping a network drive offers several benefits, including simplified file management, quick access to commonly used files, and the ability to work seamlessly with remote teams. By creating this connection, you can treat network resources just like local files on your computer.

To map a drive, you need the correct permissions and the specific path or IP address of the shared resource.

Once connected, you can easily navigate through the folders and work with files as if they were stored directly on your device.

4. How do I restore a network connection to a shared drive?

First, open the “File Explorer” on your computer and click on “This PC” in the left-hand navigation pane.

Next, click on the “Computer” tab at the top of the window and select “Map Network Drive.” In the dialog box that appears, choose an available drive letter from the drop-down menu and enter the path to your shared drive in the “Folder” field (e.g., “\\servername\sharedfolder”).

Checkmark the option that says “Reconnect at sign-in,” so that your computer remembers this connection for future use.

Once you have entered all the required information, click on “Finish” to establish the network connection. Your shared drive should now appear as a new drive under This PC in File Explorer.

You can access it just like any other local folder or directory.

5. Can I have multiple drives with the same device name on my computer?

No, each device connected to your computer must have a unique device name or drive letter assigned to it.

Having multiple drives with the same device name will cause conflicts and prevent the proper functioning of those drives.

6. Why would two network drives have conflicting names?

Conflicting names for network drives can occur if different computers or users on a shared network inadvertently assign the same device name or drive letter to their respective mapped drives.

Users on a shared network need to coordinate and ensure unique naming conventions are used when assigning drive letters or device names.

Author:
I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...