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Autoversioning and WebDAV on Windows XP

From: Toby Johnson <toby_at_etjohnson.us>
Date: 2004-06-09 17:20:30 CEST

While attempting to set up a WebDAV share for Win2k/XP users at work, I
noticed this discouraging blurb in the Subversion book:

"If the computer is a member of an NT Domain, then it seems to be unable
to connect to the WebDAV share. It repeatedly asks for a name and
password, even when the Apache server isn't issuing an authentication
challenge! Some have speculated that this might happen because
WebFolders is specifically designed to operate against Microsoft's
SharePoint DAV server. If the machine isn't part of an NT Domain, then
the share is mounted without a problem. This mystery is not yet solved."

I was unable to find much more on this after extensive Googling and
mailing list reading. The problem seems to stem from Windows XP assuming
it knows better than you do (imagine that!) while trying to set up a Web
Folder. It automatically converts the shortcut to use a UNC path (i.e.
to an SMB share) instead of an HTTP location.

I emailed my brother about this, who is a Microsoft MVP and knows some
pretty bright people there, about this. He asked around and got this

"Sorry to take so long to get back to you on this. I looked at it ages ago,
but wanted to do some comparisons which I didn't have time to do.

"I think the SMB stuff can be disabled by turning off "autmatically search
for folders and printers" (or whatever it's called). There is also some HTTP
WebDAV traffic which is resulting in authentication errors. I will pass this
onto some other people in the MS Dev team who worked on WebDAV, and see what
shakes loose."

(By "HTTP WebDAV traffic" he's referring to an ethereal capture log I
sent him after experiencing this problem).

His suggestion about the "automatically search for shared folders"
option doesn't seem to work; that setting has always been turned off on
my computer. But in the meantime, after playing around some, I found out
that a Win2K Server machine we have (which is also on our Domain) can
create the Web Folder (Microsoft's term for WebDAV) share correctly,
while I never could connect from my XP machine. Copying the actual .lnk
file (Windows shortcut) of the Web Folder from the Win2K Server machine
to the XP machine worked, however: I was able to consistently connect to
the WebDAV share and use Autoversioning to read/write files from XP.

I then did some digging around on the .lnk file format, and found a link
on this page http://www.wotsit.org/search.asp?page=23&s=ALLFILES which
has a PDF describing reverse-engineered info regarding .lnk files. Since
I have access to the Win2K machine to create the shares on, I didn't go
much further, but I suppose that if this problem is really vexing anyone
with only XP machines, they may be able to manually create the .lnk file
to work correctly.

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Received on Wed Jun 9 17:22:10 2004

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