Receiving "Could not authenticate network connection" while trying to map a drive in WinPE
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Receiving "Could not authenticate network connection" while trying to map a drive in WinPE


Article ID: 162683


Updated On:


Ghost Solution Suite


While trying to map a network drive while in WinPE, you receive the following message on the screen.

Authenticating network connection
Could not authenticate network connection.
Mapping network drives...
System error 53 has occurred

The network path was not found.

Deployment share mapped to M:

The environment involved in this was GSS 3.0 HF3 installed on a Windows 2012 R2 server while running WinPE 5.0

To verify this you need to install Wireshark on your GSS.  Start a capture disk image job on a machine.  After WinPE loads, but before the drive mapping attempt occurs start a trace.  You'll see information scrolling in a command window and you'll then get your error 53.  You can then stop your trace.  Get the IP address of the client machine and filter this in the trace.


ip.src == <ipadddress> || ip.dst == <ipaddress>

Look in the trace for this message - Session Setup Response, Error: STATUS_MORE_PROCESSING_REQUIRED, NTLMSSP_CHALLENGE

This is the attempt being made by the client machine failing when trying to authenticate to your GSS.  After this error you may see a few [TCP Retransmission] messages as well.

Automation Error:

Could not authenticate network connect

System error 53

Wireshark error:



Missing regstiry key and setting for a NIC in Windows 2012


If you're seeing this, there are two things you need to do.


On your GSS box bring up the Control Panel and then go to Network and Sharing Center.  On the left hand side you should see the option for Change adapter settings.  Click on this.  You should have your NIC there.  Right click on this and go to Properties.  Click on the Internet Protocol Version 4 and then click on Properties.  Click on the Advanced... button.  Then click on the WINS tab.  Down at the bottom of this box is the NetBIOS setting section.  This option will be set to Default:.  Switch this to Disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP.


Run Regedit on your machine.  Go to the following location:


Look for a key called SmbServerNameHardeningLevel.  If this key is there, make sure its value is zero.  If the key isn't there, then create it. 

Create a new Dword called SmbServerNameHardeningLevel and give it a value of zero.

Then reboot your GSS