Attempting to perform the InitializeDefaultDrives operation on the ‘FileSystem’ provider failed.

Yesterday one of our check_mk monitoring scripts based upon PowerShell failed, because the error Attempting to perform the InitializeDefaultDrives operation on the ‘FileSystem’ provider failed. showed up. The initial reason for this is unknown but has to do with the New-PSDrive and Remove-PSDrive PowerShell commands we use inside the check_mk scripts.

Symptoms for the problem are:

  • The network drive is shown as disconnected in the Windows Explorer but you can still open the network drive
  • The network drive can not be disconnected as you receive the error “Drive is not connected” or “Access Denied”
  • Get-PSDrive returns the network share
  • net use does not return the network share
  • The network drive can’t be removed with net use $YOUR_DRIVE /delete /y
  • The network drive can’t be removed with Remove-PSDrive
  • Restarting the Windows Explorer still shows the drive

To remove the network drive I tried to remove all registry keys which belonged to it, killing the check_mk agent, restarting the virtual machine and so on. In the end I fixed it by disabling the check_mk agent, restarting the VM and re-enabling the check_mk agent.

Update 2017-06-14: The error occurs because the check_mk agent runs under the Local System account. As a normal user or administrator you have no permission to remove the drive. A good indicator for this is the existence of the mapped network drive in the registry key HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-18\Network\$YOUR_DRIVE (S-1-5-18 is the Well Known SID for Local System account). You can delete the registry key but the drive still exists until you reboot the Windows instance. In some circumstances even then the drive still shows up.

Microsoft suggests to set the registry key HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\SessionManager\ProtectionMode from 1 to 0. This values allows an administrator to access system resources. Just don’t do it for the sake of security.

Luckily for us we can use Mark Russinovich’s psexec tool to gain to Local System permissions. With this we can safely remove the drive without a reboot.

psexec64 -i -s powershell.exe
# gain Local System permissions
Remove-PSDrive -Name $YOUR_DRIVE
# drive automatically disappears from Explorer and a Get-PSDrive execution as non-Local System