SharePoint Document Library Opening as Web Folder - SharePoint Development & Administration + InfoPath

Saturday, August 20, 2011

SharePoint Document Library Opening as Web Folder

Today I needed to work with a document library in SharePoint by opening it via it’s UNC path using Windows Explorer.  The issue that I faced, was that the library would be opened in Explorer as a Web Folder using the URL of the library ( via http/https ) and not using the UNC as I required.

I needed to work with files in bulk, including opening and saving using their native client software/application.  When I attempted to load a selection of files, instead of the files opening in the client, each file would be opened in a new browser tab/window before prompting to open or save the file.  Not useful to me at all..

The solution was simple in my case, was simply to adjust the network provider order for the connection that was being used so that the “Microsoft Windows Network” provider takes precedence over the “Web Client Network” provider.

Adjust the Network Provider order:

Network Provider Order on Windows 7:
  1. Start -> type “view network connections”
    1. OR: Start -> Control Panel -> Network and Sharing -> Change Adapter Settings (Left column)

Network Provider Order on Windows XP:
  1. Start -> Settings -> Network Connections

  1. Select the network connection you with to modify (likely the one active and connected)
  2. Press F10, or ALT to show the menu if required.
  3. From the “Advanced” dropdown, open the “Advanced Settings” dialog.
  4. Select the “Provider Order” tab.
  5. Adjust the order as required.  (“Web Client Network” should be below the Microsoft Windows Network to help prevent a library from always opening as a Web Folder.)
  6. Restart your computer

After adjusting the provider order, you will most likely need to restart before the changes will be active.  After making the adjustment myself, I was no longer able to access the library at all using Windows Explorer (not even using Web Folders), until I restarted.

After restarting, I was able to access the same Document Library via it’s UNC path “\\server\site\library\” and work with the contents as I required.
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