Connecting to SharePoint with My Network Places (WinXP)

SharePoint supports connections the use the WebDAV protocol, which provides read and write capabilities over HTTP. In Windows Vista, you can actually map a drive letter to a SharePoint document library. In Windows XP, you can create a “Network Place,” opening the document library as a Windows Explorer window, which lets you drag and drop files to and from the SharePoint library much like a network drive.

First, you need to know the URL of the document library to which you want to create a connection. Below, I’ve highlighted the part of the URL that you need to use. You need to include the whole URL up to and including the name of the library, and excluding the word “forms” and everything after that.

Document library URL highlighted


Once you’ve got the URL, open the My Network Places [1 below] facility in Windows XP, which may appear under My Computer or on your Desktop. Select the Add Network Place [2 below], either from the Task sidebar or the icon in the My Network Places window. In the Add Network Place wizard, select the “Choose another network location” option [3 below].

The Add Network Place wizard


When prompted to enter the address of the network place, paste or type in the URL of the SharePoint document library.

Enter the URL of the document library.


You will be asked to log into the site, using your netid and password. Because I used the site URL, I have entered my username with the Campus domain prefix. You could also use the sharepointlite or partnerpoint site URLs; they all point to the same content, but use different authentication methods, as as Greg documented here.

Logging in to sharepoint


Next, you are prompted to give your new Network Place a name. This name is arbitrary, and should be meaningful to you. Here’s what I named mine:

Name your Network Place


And then you can open the new connection (and maybe authenticate again). The window looks much like a local folder, and you can open the files, change them, and save them in much the same way. I didn’t have MS Office installed on the VM I used to document this procedure, so the icons aren’t as pretty or meaningful below as they will be on your system.

Document library open in explorer


Here’s the Network Place, ready for me to connect.

My Network Places

Documentation suggests that you should also be able to map a drive to a SharePoint document library with Windows XP, by virtue of the WebClient service. However, I have been unsuccessful in getting this to work.

Sr. System Administrator at the University of Vermont

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