Worse, if you run as admin in windows 8, for some odd reason the drives you create with net use as admin can then only be accessed when logged in as admin
windows 8 seems to have changed a lot of the way mapped network drives are configured
That's what session isolation does. Running as Admin (or an admin users acct) loads and modifies that users profile only. And drive mappings are of course profile specific, not system global. But you really shouldn't need admin rights to map a drive. Typically use of a login (not start up) script would be the easiest way out. Have the script first delete the mappings and then create them in a non-persistent fashion so any issues that arise can be resolved by simply rebooting.
Another thing to consider is do you really need
5 separate mapped drives?? IIRC and assuming you do have a server server DFS does work in a workgroup and is an excellent way of bringing discontiguous storage locations into a single target.
...This was only a simple workgroup, not a Domain setup. I never did find out what was IN the ULTIMATE version that was not in the Regular Version but it sure as heck worked that way.
I always laugh before cringing when I hear this. While workgroups are "simple" to setup, they are a complete and total nightmare to maintain because everything has to be done again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again... (infinity) ...Even for the most tiny and trivial changes. Which is why they are typically not done. Actually nothing is ever done after this "simple" configuration is tossed out of the box until something goes horribly and catastrophically wrong.
Less than 10% if all the workgroup networks I've encountered in the field had properly working NetBIOS name resolution.
While I'm at it, tell me this. Do you know of any way to set a router such that all traffic originating on port 445 is re routed to another port so that people whose ISP's block 445 can connect their VPN and map to a servers sshared folders? The SMB protocols require port 445 which many ISP's block. Supposedly to give you better "security" yet the same ISP does not bother to be so "protective" if you have a business account. Then the port is NOT blocked. What it mostly does is prevent people from working at home on their Home internet unless they pay extra to get Business Internet (or rather pay extra to Unblock those ports)
If this is a gateway to gateway VPN there should be static routes that send all LAN protocols through the tunnel. If this is a client to gateway VPN - you have my sincerest sympathy - it should be a gateway to gateway VPN.