In this article we can explore a real world scenario of working with Folders and Files in a Document Library.
Your customer has a collection of folders and files in a Document Library. Customer needs more convenient options to Cut / Copy / Paste Folders/Files between SharePoint Sites and Local File system. How to provide a solution?
The cost of developing custom actions for the above operations would be time consuming and collaboration with local file system would be still unresolved. Luckily we do not have to do it.
SharePoint 2010 has built in features to support Cut / Copy / Paste features. We can use the power of desktop using Windows Explorer to achieve the same.
Open with Windows Explorer
We can use the Open with Windows Explorer feature of SharePoint 2010 to perform the operations:
1. Cut / Copy / Paste of Folders
2. Cut / Copy / Paste of Files
3. Operate between SharePoint Site and Local File System
We can access the feature from the Library tab of the document library as shown below:
On using the above option, the library gets opened in the Windows Explorer.
In the above Explorer window you can do multiple selections, cut / copy / paste operations, drag and drop etc.
Following are the constraints on using this feature:
1. Client should be Windows Operating System
2. Client Browser should be Internet Explorer 32 bit
3. Client machine should be having WebClient service Started
The operating system can be Windows 7 / Vista / 2008 etc. Internet Explorer 64 bit and other browsers will be having the button disabled. Web Client service should be started for Windows Client operating systems.
Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that enables treating HTTP location as file system. WebDAV is enabled in the Internet Information Services (IIS) level of SharePoint server to provide Open with Windows Explorer functionality.
Error Situation 1: Disabled Button
An error situation can arise like the following where the button is disabled.
Ensure Windows & Browser: Ensure the Windows / Internet Explorer combination is valid according to SharePoint 2010 recommendations. Please ensure that you are using 32 bit version of Internet Explorer.
From the Start Menu launch the correct version of Internet Explorer.
You can also verify the Internet Explorer (IE) version using the About menu item inside IE. Press Alt within IE, then choose Help > About menu item as shown below.
Click the menu item and you can see the following dialog.
For IE 32bit the Version line looks like above.
For IE 64 bit (incompatible) the Version line looks like below.
I would like to repeat that IE 64-bit does not support Open in Windows Explorer feature.
Error Situation 2: Error Message
In this error situation, the button is enabled but will throw an exception dialog saying "Your client does not support opening this list with Windows Explorer".
Start WebClient Service: The WebClient service has to be started in the client operating system. This service makes Windows Explorer treat the SharePoint site as a file system.
To ensure it is started please open the Run command window and type services.msc
This command will open the Windows Services management console. (You can also star this console from Start Menu > Control Panel > System & Security (group)> Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Services and Applications > Services)
Locate the WebClient service within this window and Start it if it is not already started.
Click the Play button from the toolbar to start the Service.
You can also change the Startup Type to Automatic for starting the service on operating system start. For changing this you need to right click the Service item and choose Properties menu.
Note: If you are using a Windows Server 2008 / 2012 machine as your client (server & client same machine) then you need to add the feature "Desktop Experience" to work with this functionality.
Server Side Troubleshooting
Additionally if you have the SharePoint deployment server under your control, you can troubleshoot the WebDAV settings.
1. Open Server Manager application
2. Click on the Add Roles Services item
3. Check WebDAV Publishing item
4. Proceed with Install
5. Restart machine
In this article we have explored the flexibility on managing document libraries inside SharePoint 2010. Additionally we can map network drives to a SharePoint site using the WebDAV feature. Although
SharePoint 2010 supports almost all commonly used browsers we have to keep in mind that all the features are not supported. A browser compatibility matrix can be viewed in the References link. The Browser version should be specified in the Client deployment manual to avoid future chaos.