How do I connect to BSCW using WebDAV?

WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning, see www.webdav.org) is a standard protocol which allows users to access files on remote web servers.  BSCW implements WebDAV so that it is possible to browse, upload and download files on a BSCW server using a WebDAV compliant client tool.

WebDAV protocol support is integrated in most operating systems such as MacOS, Windows and Linux (using KDE, for example). Alternatively, special WebDAV client applications may be used which are available for different platforms and at different licensing models (for example: cadaver, DAV Explorer or Novell Netdrive Client).

Connecting to a WebDAV enabled server typically only requires provision of the network URL and user credentials (user name and password), however, the process may vary depending on the WebDAV application used. In the following we shortly describe how to connect to a WebDAV enabled BSCW server using Windows (Windows XP with SP2 or Windows Vista with SP1 is assumed).

Note: Not every BSCW server is WebDAV enabled. This depends on the BSCW version and the server configuration. If in doubt ask your BSCW administrator for help.

Requirements for using WebDAV on Windows

In order to make use of WebDAV on Windows certain requirements must be fulfilled. In particular, availablity and efficiency of WebDAV on Windows depends on the installed system components (like MS-Office) and their versions (e.g. windows/office updates and service packs). We recommend to use the latest service packs provided by Microsoft (e.g. Windows XP with SP3, Windows Vista with SP2 or Windows 7 with SP1).

Furthermore, on Windows7 (in order to reuse WebDAV resources stored on Windows 7) you have to enable the "WebClient service" (disabled by default) by setting the service Startup type to "Automatic":

To check the status, or to enable the WebClient service on a WebDAV client machine:
  1. From the Start menu, point to Administrative Tools, and click Computer Management.
  2. In the details pane, double-click Services and Applications.
  3. Double-click Services.
  4. Scroll down, right-click WebClient, and click Properties.
  5. In the Startup type list box, click Automatic.
  6. Click Apply.
  7. In the Service status section, click Start.
  8. Click OK.


Finally, please note that Windows Vista and 7 only allow WebDAV access via SSL ("https://"-connections) with a "trusted" certificate.

How to connect to BSCW using WebDAV on Windows XP

In order to connect to the BSCW server using WebDAV on Windows XP, it is recommended to use "Network Places" in Windows and then to choose "add network place", where you have to enter the full URL of your BSCW server (e.g., enter "http://mybscw.server.com/bscw/bscw.cgi")  and confirm with [Next]. You will then be prompted for your BSCW user name and password. If everything works fine you will finally see a new item in your "Network Places" in Windows where you get access to the BSCW server. Your home folder (':username') is accessible via the alias folder 'home'. You may now browse your workspaces using the Windows File Explorer, and upload or download files (using copy & paste or drag & drop).

How to connect to BSCW using WebDAV on Windows 7/Vista

In order to connect to the BSCW server using WebDAV on Windows Vista, it is recommended to open the "Computer" (icon on your desktop) then right-click (in an open space of the Window) and to select "Add a Network Location" from the context menu. In the "Add Network Location Wizard" click [Next], choose a "custom network location" and enter the URL of the BSCW server when prompted for the "location of the website". Enter the full BSCW server URL (including /bscw/bscw.cgi) in the "Internet or network address field". For example, enter "http://mybscw.server.com/bscw/bscw.cgi" and click [Next]. You will then be prompted for your BSCW user name and password. If everything works fine you will finally be prompted for a name for this location -  enter a label of your choosing (e.g. "My BSCW Server"). A new item in your "Computer" with that name should then appear (note that this operation may take some time when you connect for the first time). The item provides access to the BSCW server: your home folder (':username') is accessible via the alias folder 'home'. You may now browse your workspaces using the Windows File Explorer, and upload or download files (using copy & paste or drag & drop).

Troubleshooting 

In case the above described method does not work (e.g. password dialog keeps popping up) the following tips have proven to help in most cases on Windows:

  1. Try to connect using https — i.e. enter the full URL
    https://bscw.server.de/bscw/bscw.cgi/
  2. If your server doesn't support HTTPS, ask your BSCW administrator to enable HTTPS on the server. If that is not possible follow the hints given by Microsoft on how to enable basic authentication for WebDAV on the client computer (see below).
  3. Try to add the number sign # to the HTTP address when you enter the URL into the field of the "My Network Places" assistant, e.g. enter  http://bscw.server.de/bscw/bscw.cgi/#
    (This will force Windows XP to use the "Microsoft Data Access Internet Publishing Provider DAV 1.1" mechanism instead of "Microsoft-WebDAV-MiniRedir/5.1.2600")
  4. If the password dialog pops up again and contains a hostname in front of your username  (e.g. "server\\smith"), correct the username (i.e. remove "server"), enter your password and click [OK] (this step may need to be performed several times when connecting for the first time).
  5. If establishing a network connection to your BSCW server is still not possible, try to add the network location and enter the 'share' URL: \\\\bscw.server.de\\bscw\\bscw.cgi
  6. Make sure you’ve installed all recent updates and service packs.
  7. Make sure you’re BSCW server is running the most recent version of the BSCW software. If in doubt ask your BSCW administrator for help

Further hints for Windows users

On Windows (XP/Vista/7) you may not connect to your BSCW server as a network drive using WebDAV if the server does not support SSL. You may want to ask your BSCW administrator to enable HTTPS on the server. If that is not possible, you may want to follow the hints given by Microsoft on how to enable basic authentication for WebDAV on the client computer:
  1. Click Start , type regedit in the Start Search box, and then click regedit.exe in the Programs list.
  2. Locate and then click the following registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\\CurrentControlSet\\Services\\WebClient\\Parameters
  3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
  4. On Vista: Type BasicAuthLevel, and then press ENTER. On the Edit menu, click Modify. In the Value data box, type 2, and then click OK.
  5. On XP: Type UseBasicAuth, and then press ENTER.
    On the Edit menu, click Modify. In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.
  6. Close the registry editor. Finally, you should restart you computer.
Note: For security purposes, Windows Vista and Windows XP SP2 disable basic authentication in the Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) Redirector. Therefore either use of HTTPS (SSL connection) is required or a special configuration (on the client) has to be done as described in the MS Knowledgebase:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/841215/en-us