Windows Sharepoint Technical Hints and Tips

A technical workspace to publish the tips and hints for configuring / troubleshooting Windows Sharepoint product

All about “Explorer view” in SharePoint

All about “Explorer view” in SharePoint

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The Explorer View is an excellent feature that is integrated with  Windows SharePoint Services that allows a user to access a document library as if you were accessing a file system through a Windows Explorer window.

Being end users , everyone might feel that this is very easy to use. But there are multiple complex interactions happening with different technologies to make documents which are not present in file systems to viewable using explorer.

The main protocols that are capable of directly manipulating file data stored in SharePoint are

- WebDAV (Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning)

WebDAV is a simple extension to the HTTP protocol based on a public specification. It provides an extended vocabulary that defines how basic file functions, such as copy, move, delete, and create folder, are performed across HTTP.

- FPRPC (FrontPage Server Extensions Remote Procedure Call)

FPRPC provides WebDAV capabilities using extensions to the HTTP vocabulary, but it also has the ability to embed more complex Remote Procedure Call (RPC) communications in the data portion of the packet.

WebDAV

FPRPC

Microsoft WebDAV implementation is based on a public standard for authoring and versioning via HTTP FPRCP is a Microsoft technology that is primarily used for its value-added FrontPage capabilities
Cannot work with SSL sites Can work with SSL sites
Can map the site as a drive (mapped drive) Cannot map the site as a drive (mapped drive)
Works only with site which are running under port 80 Works with any sites

Now, lets check how a document library looks when connected with WebDAV and FPRPC

Using WebDAV:-

This is how the document library looks like when opened using WebDAV protocol and in the next picture , we can see the address as \\servername when opening the document library with windows explorer (doc library->actions->open with windows explorer)

image

image 

Using FPRPC:-

This is how the document library looks like when opened using FPRPC and in the next picture , we can see the address as http://servername when opening the document library with windows explorer (doc library->actions->open with windows explorer)

image 

image

To force explorer view to use WebDAV follow the below settings

1. Make sure you  have enabled and started the “web client” service on the client machine  (services.msc->web client)

2. Host sites only on port 80 ; If multiple sites need to be on port 80 , make use of host header with appropriate DNS settings

3. Host sites without SSL

To force explorer view to use FPRPC follow the any of the below settings

1. Stop and disable the “web client” service on the client machine  (services.msc->web client)

2. Host sites on any TCP port other than 80

3. Host sites with SSL

Important points to be remembered when troubleshooting explorer view issues

1. The Ports 137,138,139 and 445 should be opened between the client and the SharePoint server. We can verify it using telnet<space><the SharePoint server name/IP><space> 137 and it should connect properly. the same can be done for ports 138,139 and 445

2. If we trying to access an intranet site using FQDN, its good that we add the site to the Trusted Sites zone on client computers as a dot (.) in the URL will make IE consider that its Internet and accepts the security configuration for internet zone.

3. Follow the KB article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/888123 if the error is similar

4. Apply if this is applicable http://support.microsoft.com/kb/892211

5. If you restart the web client service on the client operating system , its always better to restart the O/S as there are some known issues reported. (operating system prior to longhorn)

6. Apply this if suitable http://support.microsoft.com/kb/841215/

7. Avoid using Basic authentication . Basic authentication will work fine with WebDAV but has reported issues with FPRPC. If used , force web browser to use WebDAV

8.The account BUILTIN\NetworkService  must have read and write access to “Temporary Internet Files folder” to successfully complete a drag-and-drop operation.

9. Proxies configured in LAN also can cause issues in getting access to the explorer view http://support.microsoft.com/kb/832161/

10. Errors with lengthy URLS , follow this http://support.microsoft.com/kb/329919/

Comments
  • Well broke-down between WebDAV VS. FPRPC.  This was very helpful, thanks!

  • Actually, i am using RPC to connect to SharePoint to retrive all the documents along with its metadata. It worked fine with SharePoint2007, but when i try to use FrontPage RPC method 'list versions' which is used to get all versions of a document in SharePoint 2010, it results in a message saying 'list versions not supprted'.

    Is ther any specific reason why 'list versions' method of FromPageRPC not supported in SharePoint 2010 while other methods like 'Get document' still working.

  • I am using Win 7 and can use Explorer with via WebDAV for non-80 port SharePoint document library. It's due to the version of WebClient service. See blogs.msdn.com/.../webdav-folders-no-full-functionality.aspx

  • I wasn't even aware I wanted to know this, but now that I've read it, this was AWESOME and I know will be very helpful, thanks!

  • This fixed Explorer View for me. Such an easy fix for a big issue. blog.kudosvenue.com/.../sharepoint-explorer-view-error-resolution

  • How can I monitor WebDAV folder when a file is deleted or dropped? So as soon as user drop a file then I will ask him couple of inputs to fill the required field of SP 2010 document library.

    Currently the problem is, if you have SP doc lib with some require coliumn, and you drop a file in webdav, document is still get created in SharePoint without a warning.

  • Hi,

    This is a great feature! Until someone deletes the "Forms" folder.  This breaks the whole document library in Sharepoint 2010 and renders the Views useless, I cannot even create a default view to fix the issue.

    Please recommend how to disable this Explorer view or how to fix the "Forms" directory when it is deleted, I have already tried putting the files back from a different folder but this does not fix it.

    A great feature again until you actually deploy it to a real user.

  • Hi, quick question, A user of our site has the ability to create foldes & files but not rename them. I would have expected that once you have the ability to create, you would have the ability to rename.  Is there anything in SP that could cause this to occur?

  • From the Settings>Document Library Settings page, click on Explorer View.

    This should take you to the "Edit View" with a view name of Explorer View and the web address will be "WebFldr"

    Now, go into the URL and change "ViewEdit.aspx" to "ViewNew.aspx".

    Name the View whatever you would like and click OK.

    That's it.  New view created. I got help from here: www.techyv.com/.../unable-open-sharepoint-doc-library-explorer-view

  • Thanks Roy.  In reviewing users request, I learned the following.

    User can do all file functions: add/create file names, revise file names, delete same files in Sharepoints version of Windows Explorer

    If user goes to sharepoint folder outside of the windows environment

    (example \\wpx,\project x\document library\folder)

    and tries the same steps they cannot rename the file (can create and delete)

    have you experienced this before, are there settings that can be modified, my manager thinks there is.

  • Much easier just to use this application:  www.tagle.it/sharepoint

    No need to connect to webdav at all and it allows you to drag and drop links in addition to files.

  • "All about" explorer view is anything but.  I truly wish there was a proper documentation for microsoft products.  Right now I'm trying to figure out if there is a way to prevent it or limit "explorer view", as it pertains to versioning libraries.  But there is no real documentation for it, so I am forced to read 3rd party blogs to find out very BASIC things about how our purchased product works.

  • Hi,

    I am using windows 7 64 bit with IE8 32 bit.

    The explorer view is not working properly.

    The explorer view works once only after resetting the Internet explorer.

    So, I have to reset my Internet Browser every-time if I have to work Explorer view.

    Please guide.

  • We're using SP2010 on IE 7/8/9, & are encountering the same problem, with the Windows Explorer view working once or for a few seconds each time Internet Explorer is restarted (closed & re-opened). Anybody has the solution for this?

  • I've been using WebDAV for my file migrations to SharePoint and just noticed I ran out of disk space. This folder C:\Windows\ServiceProfiles\LocalService\AppData\Local\Temp\TfsStore\Tfs_DAV held over 500,000 files. I've learned a little about this since then but am wondering if there is a reason NOT to script an auto-delete of these files. With them in this cache folder it acts as a security hole and compliance issue.

    thanks

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