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How to use the "Open with Explorer" command to troubleshoot issues in SharePoint Online

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Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

INTRODUCTION
This article discusses how to use the Open with Explorer command in SharePoint Online to view, copy, and move files in a library. The article also discusses how to troubleshoot issues that you may experience when you use this command.
PROCEDURE
The Open with Explorer command opens a local instance of Windows Explorer that displays the folder structure on the server that hosts the SharePoint site. You can then work with the files in the folder. For example, you can perform the following actions:

  • Drag documents into libraries
  • Create folders
  • Move or copy documents from one library to another library within the same site collection or between site collections
  • Delete multiple documents at one time
Note If you use versioning for your SharePoint Online libraries, document version history isn't maintained if you use Windows Explorer to move files form one subsite to another subsite.

Use "Open with Explorer" in a SharePoint Online document library or OneDrive for Business

For a document library

In the SharePoint Online document library, click the Library tab on the ribbon, and then click the Open with Explorer icon in the Connect & Export group.

If you don’t have the Library tab and are using the new look and navigation experience for document libraries, click All Documents in the upper-right corner and then click View in File Explorer.

For more information about the new look and navigation experience for document libraries, go to the following Microsoft website:

For OneDrive for Business

Click the Library tab on the ribbon, and then click the Open with Explorer icon in the Connect & Export group.

If you don’t have the Library tab, click the gear icon for the Settings menu, and then click Show Ribbon.

Note If Show Ribbon isn't present in the settings menu, you must first click Return to classic OneDrive in the lower-left corner to return to classic view, and then select the Show the Ribbon option. To return to the new OneDrive view, click the OneDrive link in the Office 365 app launcher.

For more information about how to copy or move library files by using Open with Explorer, go to the following Microsoft website:

Troubleshoot "Open with Explorer" error messages

When you browse to a SharePoint Online document library, you may receive intermittent connectivity issues, or you may receive one of the following error messages:

Your client does not support opening this list with Windows Explorer

We're having a problem opening this location in File Explorer. Add this web site to your Trusted Sites list and try again.

We're having a problem opening this location in File Explorer. To open with File Explorer, you’ll need to add this site to your Trusted Sites list and select the “Keep me signed in” check box when you sign in to the SharePoint Online site. For more information, see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2629108.

We’re having trouble opening this library in File Explorer. Syncing this library will give you a better experience.

Screen shot of the

Note The Open with Explorer command doesn't work in the Microsoft Edge browser. For more information, go to the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:

For Internet Explorer 10 with Windows 7 or Windows 8, install the hotfix to resolve this problem

If you're using Internet Explorer 10 with Windows 7 or Windows 8, a hotfix has been released to resolve this issue. For more information, go to the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:

Authenticate to Office 365

Make sure that you're authenticated to Office 365. To do this, use one of the following methods. 

Method 1: Use "Keep me signed in"


  1. Sign in to the SharePoint Online site by using your Office 365 work or school account credentials. When you do this, make sure that you select the Keep me signed in check box, as shown in the following screen shot:

    Screen shot of the Office 365 check box to keep me signed in option

    Note If you didn’t previously select this setting, you might find that you're already signed in when you browse to a SharePoint Online site or the Office 365 portal. In this case, you must first sign out and then sign in again by using the Keep me signed in check box. To do this, follow these steps:

    1. On the Office 365 ribbon, click the arrow next to your user name.
    2. Click Sign out.
    3. Close all browser windows.
    4. Browse to the Office 365 portal.
    5. Select the Keep me signed in check box, enter your Office 365 work or school account credentials, and then click Sign in (if it’s necessary).

  2. Open a document library in Explorer View.

Method 2: Use a persistent cookie

The UsePersistentCookiesForExplorerView parameter for the Set-SPOTenant cmdlet that's used in the SharePoint Online management shell lets SharePoint issue a special cookie that will allow this feature to work even when Keep Me Signed In isn't selected.

After this parameter is enabled, you are prompted when you click Open with Explorer in SharePoint Online by a dialog box, as shown in the following screen shot. After you click This is a private computer, the persistent cookie is stored. Therefore, you no longer have to select Keep me signed in.

Screen shot of the Is this a private computer dialog box

This method should be used only on a private computer.

Note If you receive an Internet Explorer Security message that says, "A website wants to open web content using this program on your computer," it's likely that SharePoint Online isn't added to the trusted sites zone in Internet Explorer. See the "Add your SharePoint Online sites to trusted sites" section of this article for more information about how to add SharePoint Online to your trusted sites.

For more information about how to use the parameter together with the Set-SPOTenant cmdlet, and for more information about this parameter and the persistent cookie, go to the following Microsoft website: For more information about the SharePoint Online management shell, go to the following Microsoft website:

Add your SharePoint Online sites or Open with Explorer URL to trusted sites

Make sure that the SharePoint Online or Open with Explorer URL, or URLs, have been added to your trusted sites zone in Internet Explorer. To do this, follow these steps:

Note If you click Open with Explorer and a window opens that states “Explorer is opening. Sign out here when you’re done,” use the Open with Explorer URL in the window when you follow these steps. Otherwise, use the URL for your site. If you’re using the Open with Explorer URL, you no longer need the site URL in the trusted sites zone.
  1. Start Internet Explorer.
  2. Depending on your version of Internet Explorer, take one of the following actions:
    • Click the Tools menu, and then click Internet options.
    • Click the gear icon, and then click Internet options.


    A screen shot of Internet options highlighted under the gear icon
  3. Click the Security tab, click Trusted sites, and then click Sites.

    A screen shot of the Security tab on the Internet Options page
  4. In the Add this website to the zone box, type the URL for the SharePoint Online site or the Open with Explorer URL that you want to add to the Trusted sites zone, and then click Add. For example, type https://contoso.sharepoint.comhttps://contoso-files.sharepoint.com, or https://contoso-myfiles.sharepoint.com. (In this address, contoso represents the domain that you use for your organization.) Repeat this step for any additional sites or Open with Explorer URLs that you want to add to this zone.

    A screen shot of the Trusted sites page
  5. After you have added each site to the Websites list, click Close, and then click OK.

Check the status of the WebClient service

Make sure that the latest Windows updates are applied. If all the latest updates are applied, and the issue persists, make sure that the WebClient service is running. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Follow the appropriate step for your operating system:

    • For Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, click Start, click Run, type services.msc, and then press Enter.
    • For Windows 8, click Start, type services.msc, and then press Enter.
    • For Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2012, click Start, type services.msc, and then press Enter. If the WebClient service isn't present, you must first install the Desktop Experience. For more information about how to install the Desktop Experience, go to the following Microsoft website: 
  2. In the list of services, locate the WebClient service, and then make sure that its status in the Status column is set to Started. If it isn't set to Started, double-click the WebClient service to open the WebClient Properties dialog box, click Start, and then click OK.

    Note If the Startup Type for the WebClient service is set to Disabled, the Open with Explorer button doesn't function correctly and you cannot start the service. To enable the service, within the WebClient Properties dialog box, click the drop-down option for the Startup type setting, and then select either Manual or Automatic. After you complete this step, click Apply, click Start to start the service, and then click OK.

Troubleshoot slow "Open with Explorer" performance on a Windows 8-based or Windows Server 2012-based computers

When you browse to a SharePoint Online document library, and then you click “Open with Explorer,” you may experience an issue in which the enumeration of the files and directories is slower than expected. A hotfix was released to resolve this issue. For more info, go to the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article: 
MORE INFORMATION
For more information about how to work with site library files in File Explorer, go to the following Microsoft website: For more info about working with the WebClient service, go to the following Knowledge Base articles:
Still need help? Go to the Office 365 Community website.
Properties

Article ID: 2629108 - Last Review: 04/06/2016 18:24:00 - Revision: 46.0

Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

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