Monthly Archives: November 2014

Fix SharePoint Performance Issue with ‘Open in Explorer’ & opening non-Office File Types

I was recently working with documents stored in SharePoint (Office 365 to be exact) and was seeing poor performance when trying to open file types with applications other than Office. At first I just put it down to a slow connection to Office 365, but I quickly realised that accessing files from Office 365 via alternate means (CSOM, Web Services) was much faster. I also found that the ‘Open with Explorer’ function (available on the Library ribbon as shown below) was slow to open.

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In both scenarios I saw the performance issue (1) Opening non-Office files from SharePoint, and (2) Using the Open in Explorer function, the underlying technology that is performing the communication is WebDAV. WebDAV is the layer that makes it possible for applications that were not designed to work with SharePoint to.. well.. work with SharePoint I guess! WebDAV is actually a standard and isn’t SharePoint specific but I won’t go into that here. Suffice to say I’d isolated my issue down to being a performance issue related to WebDAV.

Now I knew what I was troubleshooting, the answer was readily available. Here’s the official KB of a known issue with WebDAV and the auto-detect settings option in Internet Explorer http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2445570

This was the fix for me:

In Internet Explorer, open Internet Options

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Select Connections | LAN Settings

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Uncheck ‘Automatically detect settings’

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That’s it. After making this change I could go back to SharePoint and the SharePoint Library ‘Open in Explorer’ action was 4x faster than it had been. I was also getting much faster opening times of my non-Office files.

How to install/enable the WebClient (WebDAV) Service on Windows Server 2012 to open/edit SharePoint files

Are you having trouble opening/editing files stored in SharePoint, especially non Office files on Windows Server 2012?

By default the WebClient service is not installed on Windows Server 2012. Without this service running, opening/editing of non-Office files stored in SharePoint is very restricted.

To enable the WebClient service in Windows 2012 follow these steps:

Start Server Manager | Manage | Add Roles and Features

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Select Installation Type of Role based or feature based installation

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Choose the server to install the feature on (in my case I’m running server manager locally on the server I want to install the WebClient service on)

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Just click Next to skip over Server Roles (it’s a feature we want to enable not a role)

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Expand the User Interfaces and Infrastructure feature. By default this feature is partially installed. We need the Desktop Experience component of this feature. The WebClient is bundled with this component. According to Microsoft it is only possible to install the WebClient by enabling the entire Desktop experience and WebClient is not available on it’s own (https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/e4ac654f-6d75-431d-baff-2f9dd511980a/installing-webclient-service-without-desktop-experience?forum=winserverTS)

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Check Desktop Experience and you will be prompted to also install the pre-requisite Ink and Handwriting Services. Click Add Features.

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This change required a server restart for me (and the feature installation continued after the restart) so check the option to have the server automatically restart if required.

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Click Install and your server should restart and the feature installation will complete once the server comes back up.

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Now check the Windows Services and ensure WebClient is present and running

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Further Resources/Reading

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/e4ac654f-6d75-431d-baff-2f9dd511980a/installing-webclient-service-without-desktop-experience?forum=winserverTS

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/33ad6fc9-8d8b-40b9-b9a3-a253f9ae37d1/webclient-service-on-windows-server-2012-webdav-client?forum=winserver8gen

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