Windows 2000 had Active Directory folders.

In Windows 2000 you could create a shortcut to an Active Directory resource, and turn it into an Windows Explorer view.  One of my (now long gone) predecessors worked out it would make life easier for end users.

“Oh, you just want to see the security groups you have delegation rights too?  No problems.  I’ll create you a shortcut.”

The AD Folder shortcut would look like this on a Windows 2000 system:
This is an Active Directory folder

The user reported that since a Windows XP upgrade, the icon looked like this:
This is an Broken Active Directory folder
(and the shortcut no longer worked.)

You can tell the Windows 2000 shortcut looks like a Folder shortcut.  The Windows XP shortcut, just looks broken.

So I fired up a Windows 2000 system, and had a look at the shortcut properties:
AD Link Shortcut properties

The clue here is ntds:// .  NTDS is an abbreviation for NT Directory Services.  NTDS is what we know as Active Directory today.  So we now know that Windows 2000 can handle a ntds:// shortcut link target, but Windows XP can’t.
(the target location in the screen shot?  ntds://contoso.com/Accounts/User Groups/Files)

What has changed?

Well using Process Monitor, I saw that on the Windows 2000 PC, dsfolder.dll was being called straight after I clicked on the folder.

A short Google search on “dsfolder.dll” yields this Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
The Directory icon in Entire Network in My Network Places is missing

So copying dsfolder.dll from Windows 2000 and regsvr32’ing on Windows XP, fixed the problem.

Hooray!

68 mins was the time spent investigating the problem and finding the fix.
30 seconds spent applying it.

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