Microsoft SharePoint 2007 or greater has included an option allowing you to open Document Libraries with Windows Explorer. This feature allows the user to open and interact with files and folders in SharePoint with Windows Explorer, just as they have done in the past with local and network files and folders. It’s not uncommon for this feature to be grayed out, or give an error when a user first tries to use it.

Below are some simple steps to ensure the system is set up to successfully use this feature, as well as troubleshooting steps in the event it give an error.

Prerequisites

  • Windows XP SP3 or greater with User Account Control (UAC) disabled or set to low
  • Internet Explorer 7.0 or greater (Open with Explorer will not work with any browser but Internet Explorer)
  • WebClient Service must be started (Desktop Experience feature enabled for Windows 7 or 2008)

Usage

  1. Ensure you are logged out of SharePoint completely
  2. In Internet Explorer, navigate to your SharePoint site
  3. Log in, ensuring you select the ‘Keep me signed in’ checkbox (This is required to allow Internet Explorer to pass the session credentials to Windows Explorer)
  4. Navigate to your Document Library
  5. Under the  tab, select  and you will see the ribbon of actions for the Library (if you navigate to a Library or Folder from within a WebPart, you will have to select an item in the Document Library for the Library Tools tab to appear)
  6. Click 
  7. Windows Explorer should open up displaying the contents of the Document Library (it may take a few moments to open)

Troubleshooting

There are two very common issues when attempting to use the Open with Explorer feature. The first is the easiest to solve.

Grayed Out Open with Explorer Button

To solve this, make sure you are using Internet Explorer. It’s as simple as that.

 

The more common and difficult issue encountered when attempting to ‘Open with Explorer’ is the following:

“Your client does not support opening this list with Windows Explorer”

This error can be received for many reasons, and sometimes no reason at all. Below are several troubleshooting steps which can be taken in an attempt to resolve this issue. After completing the steps in teach fix, retry the  button.

1.      Try Again

In some instances, when you click the  action will give an error on the first attempt, but will work the second time. Simply try clicking the  button again and confirm whether it opens or not.

2.      Restart WebClient Service

a)       Click Start > Run

b)       Enter ‘services.msc’

c)       Find the WebCient service and select Restart

3.      Check Internet Explorer Version

Windows XP – 2008R2: Make sure you are using Internet Explorer version 7.0 through 9.0, in 32-bit mode. The 64-bit mode will not work with the  feature.

Windows 7: Internet Explorer 10 is not yet compatible with the  feature. You will need to revert to Internet Explorer 9.

Windows 8: Internet Explorer 10 is compatible, so you should not have an issue with this OS and browser version combination.

4.      Add to Trusted Sites

a)       Open Internet Explorer and click ‘Tools’ or  to get to ‘Internet options’

b)       Select the ‘Security’ tab

c)        Click on ‘Trusted Sites’

d)       Ensure  is unchecked

e)       Click ‘Sites’

f)        Add the below sites:

  1. https://*.sharepoint.com
  2. https://*.microsoftonline.com

5.      Lower UAC Setting

The User Account Control must be set to the lowest setting in order for  to function. Instructions for modifying the UAC are available here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc709691(v=ws.10).aspx#BKMK_S3

6.      Set Internet Explorer to Automatic Logon

a)       Open Internet Explorer and click ‘Tools’ or  to get to ‘Internet options’

b)       Select the ‘Security’ tab

c)        Click on 

d)       Scroll to the bottom, and change the ‘User Authentication – Logon’ setting to: