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Using Esri ArcGIS Pro 2 Software in the Student and Virtual Labs

How to access the CSBS Virtual Lab (skip if using a computer in a CSBS student lab):

ArcGIS VDI Desktop Access


ArcGIS Pro 2 is NOT compatible with UNC folder redirection

There is a known bug within ArcGIS when using UNC paths. To work-around this bug, use Drive Paths only. This problem is specific to ArcGIS only.

A UNC path starts with two backslashes (\\). In our labs you have an N: drive. This drive is mapped to a server, specifically a UNC path of “\\\home\unid”. Likewise your “My Documents” is redirected to a UNC path of “\\\home\unid\Documents”. When a new project is started in ArcGIS Pro, it presents a default UNC path of “\\\home\unid\Documents\ArcGIS\Projects”.

 A Drive Path starts with a drive letter. For example, “N:\Documents” is not a UNC path, even though N: is mapped to a UNC path. When creating a project, instead of accepting the default of the UNC path, enter a drive path like “N:\Documents\ArcGIS\Projects”. The result is that ArcGIS Pro performs faster and/or without hanging. 

Please follow the detailed steps below to work around this bug in ArcGIS Pro 2.


Setting the correct project working environment:

There are two methods by which you can work around the UNC path bug.  

  1. Create a new ArcGIS Pro project and specify the drive path instead of the UNC path every time.
  2. Change the default project folder from UNC to drive path. New projects will default to that location and you only have to apply the fix once.

Method 1:

    1. Open ArcGis Pro 2 (if you encounter issues with licensing, instructions here)
    2. Select the appropriate template, in this example we simply used 'Map'.

    3.  Remove '\\\home\unid' from the Location path, and replace with 'N:\', as shown below
      1. Remove the highlighted portion


      1. Replace with 'N:\'



Method 2:

The method above will require the same steps taken for each new project.  If you prefer, you can set this option inside of ArcGIS Pro 2's settings and should not have to make any further changes when creating new projects.

    1. When opening ArcGIS Pro for the first time you may be presented with a licensing prompt, follow the instructions here to get past that step.  
    2. On the opening screen, select 'Settings'.


    3. Then, Click on 'Options'.


    4. Select 'General' on the left hand side, then click on the 'Create Projects' dropdown.  You can type the location of your folder directly into the text field below (N:\Documents\ArcGIS\Projects), or navigate to the folder using the Browse button to the right.  


    5. If you clicked browse in step 4 rather than typing the path, then see the browse window below. As pictured, you will select the N drive on the left hand side of the Computer section and navigate to the desired folder on the right. You may want to create the default 'Projects' folder if it does not exist already, or select whatever folder you would like in your N: drive to store these projects.

    6. Now when you create new projects, your project files and folders will default to this location. 



Opening Existing ArcGIS Pro Projects: 

When opening existing ArcGIS Pro projects you will also need to pay close attention to the folder path to verify you are opening from the correct location.

  •  Correct: Browse to the “Projects” folder within your N: drive by selecting N: from the left hand side. The way windows displays this can be confusing. However if you click the location bar at the top of the window you will be able to see if you are using the correct path.


  • Incorrect: If you click the “Documents” link on the left hand side of the file open window it will find your project, again if you click the location bar at the top of the window you will see that it is using the wrong path and will cause your project to run slowly.


NOTE: Any time you add data/layers or additional files to your ArcGIS Pro project you will need to pay close attention to the path to verify that it is using “N:” and not the UNC path \\servername\

You can always verify where your project and layers are stored by right clicking on any of them from the Catalog within ArcGIS Pro and selecting properties. As long as the path is “N:” and does not start with “\\csbs-xxx” ArcGIS should work properly. If any of your files points to the wrong path you will need to remove and re-add that layer using the correct path or ArcGIS will run poorly.



Last Updated: 1/14/22