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Sun 02 Apr 2006

WebDAV and Windows XP - A Solution

Category : Technology

We've found a solution for setting Windows XP to access a WebDAV folder. Thanks to Stephen Cranfill and Chiang Hai Hwee who sent me the solution within two hours of each other :

--- Stephen Cranfill :

I ran across this today and it works!! http://dav.lyra.org/pipermail/dav-dev/2002-July/003772.html. One note: this doesn't seem to work if you use the standard "map network drive" command. Instead, I had to use the "add network place" wizard and it it worked. Stupid Windows!

--- Chiang Hai Hwee :

I can duplicate the problem with Windows XP Home Edition SP2. But there's a solution for this, and it also solves for SP1. And, sorry, you may have wasted your time changing the WebMon code. Here's how to get in, without the need to create the additional DOMAIN/Username:

1. Go to My Network Places, and Add Network Place. In the location, type the port after the domain, e.g. http://cutedgesystems.com:80/dav2

2. Enter the usual username and password combination, i.e. username=webdav, password=xxxx :

Note: It's a known issue that the authentication dialog will appear more than once, each time you connect, open a folder, or edit a file. Check the "Remember my password" option will cut down on this.

I've tried with cutedgesystems/dav, where we didn't create the additional Windows user, and it also works. The reason for adding the port number is to force Windows XP to use the "Microsoft Data Access Internet Publishing Provider DAV 1.1" mechanism (used by Windows 2000) instead of "Microsoft-WebDAV-MiniRedir/5.1.2600", which disables Basic Authentication.

I got the solution from http://ulihansen.kicks-ass.net/aero/webdav/. Tried the other client solutions, but seems only adding port number works. Xtremely Painful!

Now, a couple of other Windows notes :

This should also work for Windows 2000 clients, but Windows 2000 doesn't really need the port number. The WebDAV user name and password are entered the same way as for the Mac clients.

If you have SSL turned on at the server, you can enter the URL like this : https://domainName/dav (i.e., with https, you don't need to enter the port number - how inconsistent - there's not enough life times to keep all these straight.) The user name and password, plus all the subsequent WebDAV communications, will then be sent encrypted.

If you cannot access the server via https, you need to go to Internet Explorer's Tools/Internet Options menu, and under the Advaned tab, under the Security section, turn on "Use TLS 1.0".

Windows does really make you work. It's totally inconsistent and largely illogical. It doesn't try even one bit to conform to open, non-Microsoft, Internet standards - "embrace and extend" being more important than playing nice with the neighbours. It tries to be too smart, remembering URL, user name and password combinations when you don't want it to, even when they are wrong, and ends up tripping the user.

It reminds me of how corporate IT departments work - layers of managers and project leaders throwing ideas for features, often without a grasp of the issues or the trade-offs, hoping to impress the superiors or whoever is listening in to the project reviews, and passing all these to one little poorly-paid outsourced programmer to code everything but the kitchen sink.

I've released WebMon 2.1.1 - the code is unchanged - I've reverted all my planned changes since they're not needed now, but I kept the new help panel for Windows clients.

Posted at 6:31PM SGT | permalink


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