Map a drive to a SharePoint library from Windows Server 2008

If you didn’t know, SharePoint libraries can be treated like folders and files you’d use on your local computer. To do so, browse to the library in Internet Explorer (not supported in other browsers), you can click Open with Explorer in the ribbon. This button, from a Windows XP/Vista/7 machine in most cases will open up that library in Windows Explorer. Very convenient for performing bulk operations on a group of documents. Unfortunately, it doesn’t allow you to modify metadata.

What if you need to access this drive via a Windows 2008 server? In my scenario, we were using a library as a file transfer swap location. The problem is that when we tried to open this library in Windows Explorer we got an error “Your client does not support opening this list with Windows Explorer.”

This feature works on user’s computers because of the web client service, Office 2007/2010, and other user-friendly features in Windows that support this kind of thing. These options are not immediately available on Windows Server.

That’s fine with me, I want to map a drive to it via a login script anyway, so I run

net use h: MyPassword /User:UserName

which returned an error

System error 53 has occurred.  The network path was not found.

I thought of installing Office 2010 to get the connectivity features but thought there must be an easier way. And there is!

I added the Desktop Experience feature (go to Server Manager > Features > Add Features, then select Desktop Experience). The server had to reboot before it would work. However, I didn’t have to fire up any other services or features. After a quick reboot, I could run my net use statement and now have a mapped drive!

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