Network and Printer Sharing always turned off after reboot

I recently ran into a problem where File and Printer Sharing always turned off after a reboot.

The reason was that I have added an environment variable via GPO which extended the System PATH variable with a string containing a Network File Share and added a custom System variable with the same string (Tools) (\\SERVER1\Tools).

Turns out this is not a good idea, as the following Microsoft KB Article points out:

On a computer that is running Windows Server 2008 R2, the Server service may not start. In this scenario, the following event is logged in the System log:

Log Name: System
Source: Service Control Manager

Date: 03/11/2009 13:54:29
Event ID: 7023
Task Category: None
Error Description: The Server service terminated with the following error:  The network path was not found.

I remember this was working perfectly with earlier versions of Windows, but maybe the Vista Kernel does not seem to like UNC paths to be added to the Path Variable anymore.

Resolution recommended by Microsoft:
“To work around this issue, delete the UNC paths from the system path variable. If the UNC paths must be added to the environment variables, use the user path environment variable.”

Applies to:

Microsoft Windows Server 2008
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2
Microsoft Windows 7
Microsoft Windows Vista

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