How to Fix ‘The Local Device Name is Already in Use’ Error on Windows?

The error ‘The Local Device Name is Already in Use’ is associated with complications in network drive mapping and is commonly encountered by individuals who often interact with networked systems. The issue occurs when users try to access a network drive but are met with the following error message:

An error occurred while reconnecting <drive letter> to <file path> Microsoft Windows Network: The local device name is already in use. This connection has not been restored.

Usually, this problem occurs when users attempt to access files in a shared folder or map specific drives on a network domain. To effectively resolve this error, apply the following methods.

Identifying the precise cause of the issue can speed up the troubleshooting process, allowing you to choose the most suitable solution. Potential causes include:

  • Drive mapping errors: Occasional glitches during the network drive mapping process can result in conflicts like duplicate drive letters.
  • Unassigned drive letters: This error may occur if drive letters are incorrectly assigned or absent.
  • Disabled File and Printer Sharing: Network errors, including this one, can surface if File and Printer Sharing is turned off in your firewall settings.
  • Insufficient server space: Allocating additional space on the network server’s root drive has been known to resolve this issue.

1. Reinitialize the Computer Browser Service

Refreshing the Computer Browser service, (which is responsible for keeping an updated list of computers on the network and supplying this list to client computers upon request), can help resolve network-related errors. Restarting the service erases any inconsistencies or outdated information that might be contributing to conflicts when mapping drives.

Effectively, this resets the service to a baseline status, potentially eliminating the problems coming from its previous states.

  1. Press Windows + R to open the Run dialog.
  2. Type cmd and press Shift + Ctrl + Enter to run Command Prompt as an administrator.
  3. In the User Account Control prompt, select Yes to permit the app to make changes to your device.
  4. Execute the given command by hitting Enter:
    net stop Computer Browser
    Stopping the Computer Browser service
  5. Wait for the command to conclude, then input the following and press Enter:
    net start Computer Browser
    Starting the Computer Browser service
  6. After executing these commands, verify if the error still occurs.

2. Delete a Registry Key

Should remapping the drive or refreshing the Computer Browser service fail to address the issue, you might need to delete a specific key in the registry potentially causing the trouble. This solution has been effective for users who faced problems with particular CDs, DVDs, and virtual drives.

It is highly recommended to back up your registry. Follow our guide on how to back up the registry for a safeguarded approach.

  1. Launch the Registry Editor by entering regedit into the search bar.
    Accessing the Registry Editor
  2. Using the left pane of the Registry Editor, navigate to:
  3. Locate and right-click the MountPoints2 key within the Explorer key, choose Delete from the context menu, and confirm any following prompts.
  4. Restart your PC and check if the error message persists.

3. Remap the Drive Using Command Prompt

You can resolve the error by forcibly disconnecting any existing network drive mappings that may be causing conflicts or are in a stuck state using Command Prompt. The command `net use * /delete` clears all network drive mappings. Later on, remap the network drive with the `net use` command, inputting the accurate path and credentials.

This refreshes the connection to the network resource, permitting the system to establish a fresh mapping without the conflict that comes with duplicate drive names or outdated connections.

  1. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and choose Run as administrator.
  2. Enter the following command in the Command Prompt window and hit Enter:
    net use * /delete

  3. Once the command is successfully executed, use the next command:
    net use Z: \\server\share /user:username password

    Remember to replace username and password with your actual network credentials and verify whether the problem persists.

4. Correctly Assign Drive Letters

Problems can occur when drives lack assigned letters in Disk Management or are mapped with problematic drive letters during the networking process. It’s recommended to modify the drive letter if the one in Disk Management differs from the one used in network mapping.

  1. Make sure no files from the storage devices you intend to work on are in use. Refrain from copying or transferring files to or from the disk prior to making changes.
  2. Open Disk Management by pressing Windows Key + X and selecting Disk Management from the menu.
    Opening Disk Management
  3. In Disk Management, right-click the volume needing a drive letter adjustment and select Change Drive Letter and Paths. Pick a new letter from the alphabet.
    Modifying Drive Letter and Paths
  4. Avoid using letters A or B to prevent potential issues with older software, as those letters were traditionally reserved for floppy drives. Click Apply, accept any pop-up prompts, and close the utility. Then, verify if the error remains.

5. Enable File and Printer Sharing in Your Firewall

Errors related to shared drives may occur when File and Printer Sharing is disabled in your firewall settings. This applies whether you’re using the native Windows Defender Firewall or a third-party firewall application.

  1. Search for and open the Control Panel from the Windows search function.
  2. Adjust the Control Panel view to Large or Small icons and find the Windows Defender Firewall setting.
    Navigating to Windows Defender Firewall
  3. Select it, then choose the Allow an app or feature through Windows Firewall option on the sidebar. From the list of installed apps, press the Change settings button and provide admin permissions if requested.
  4. Locate and check the box for File and Printer Sharing, hit OK to confirm changes, and reboot your machine.
    Activating File and Printer Sharing
  5. Attempt to access the network once more after restarting to check if the error has been corrected.

6. Alter the ProtectionMode Value in the Registry

If previous methods did not resolve the problem, changing the ProtectionMode value in the registry is another viable option. Microsoft recognizes this adjustment, which might be particularly useful when non-administrators changes from earlier versions of Windows.

  1. Hit Windows Key + R, input regedit into the dialog, and press Enter.
  2. In the registry editor, proceed to the following path:
  3. Search for the ProtectionMode key.
  4. Modify the key value from 0 to 1, save your changes, and restart to see if the problem has been fixed.

Should the issue persist, manually remove the mappings with this command in an admin Command Prompt:

net use * /del /y

Note: Replace the asterisk (*) with the specific drive letter if required.

A lack of adequate space on the server’s root drive may also cause this error. If you have access to the server, release necessary space by deleting un-important files.

While there’s no fixed minimum for free space, clearing several gigabytes is advisable. Once space is freed, verify if the error continues to be a concern.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.