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The DataConnection object may fail to return a GeoDataset object when specifying a valid path and file name using Universal Naming Convention (UNC) to connect to shapefiles and tables.
UNC allows you to identify a path without specifying a drive letter, for example, \\Computer\Files\Paths\file.doc.
This problem occurs when the name of the computer or folders is greater than eight characters. This has been observed on Novell networks.