Using UNC Paths to access the “directory structure” in SharePoint 2003 – Requires WebClient service running on your client computer

So for the longest time I couldn’t figure out why on some computers I could use a UNC path to get to SharePoint sites’ resources, and on others I could. Now I think I finally have the answer.

The mechanism is that if you have a WSS site (and Admin privs on that site) at a URL/URI like: http://server/sites/testsite1/, you should be able to open Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer) and open its UNC path: \\server\sites\testsite1\. If you so so, in Explorer, you should be able to see the full “directory structure” (I put this in quotes because it doesn’t actually exist, but is a figment of your, SharePoint’s and SQL Server’s imaginations), including directory names like “_catalogs”, “_fpdatasources”, “_private”, the ever popular “images”, a directory for non-Document Library, non-Picture Library lists called “Lists”, a folder for each sub-site and a folder for each Document Library or Picture Library, various aspx pages, etc.

Using this UNC Path view, you can do normal file operations, but do be careful, since if you delete a file you probably can’t get it back.

Anyhow, I’d been finding that sometimes this UNC path worked in Explorer and sometimes it didn’t. It didn’t appear to be related to a particular user permissions set or domain login account, but changed computer to computer.

Here’s the error message I’d get when it didn’t work (click to see full size):

WebClient Error
Here’s the kind of folder structure I’d see when it did work (click to see full size):

UNC View
It turned out, after trial and error, that the real difference here was that one computer I was using was running the WebClient service (where the connection worked), and the other wasn’t (where the connection did not).

No, I couldn’t easily find it documented on Microsoft’s support sites.

IE7 Running Fine

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7 is out as of some time this week. It’s kinda slick. I don’t know if it’s necc’ly better than Firefox 1.5.0.7 (and I haven’t tried out Firefox’s 2.0 betas), but it seems to work pretty well and seems a bit more secure (esp. about expired/unverified SSL certs) with respect to explicitly helping users figure out whether where they’re going is where they think they’re going, and other such things.

Anyway, good start, despite already having a security vulnerability.

Works okay with SharePoint 2003 and with OWA 2003.

I’ll report more on it as I have the experience to do so.

Office 2007 Beta 2 Technical Refresh (B2TR) and the “The file is not available.” error.

After I applied the Technical Refresh updates to my Office 2007 Beta 2 installs, I started getting this error whenever I tried to open a file with an Office 2007 application (either by double-clicking within the Windows Explorer file list, or by opening the file from within the application):

The file Testing.docx is not available.

So I asked Uncles Google and Live and came up with the comments to Jensen Harris’ blog post about Office 2007 Beta 2 Technical Refresh. In it, a Phil Wright asks about this very same problem. In a comment immediately following is the answer. Apparently the Norton Antivirus Office Plugin is interfering, returning an error code on document scan, which Office then interprets as a virus detection. To fix it you can try to update Norton via Norton’s LiveUpdate (I tried, to no effect), or you can reduce your system’s overall security by disabling the Norton Office plugin. Instructions for older versions of Norton are available in Microsoft KB 329820. In Norton Internet Security 2006 (my version), I opened the Norton status window, then chose Options -> Norton Antivirus, and among the tabs found an option to disable the Office plugin.
This worked fine for me.

Office 2007 Beta 2 Reinstall Troubles

Somehow, while uninstalling and reinstalling various bits of Office 2003 and Office 2007 (license/product key management – I am now entirely converted over to my workplace’s Office 2003 Enterprise licenses – this enables me to run my workplace’s Infopath), I have managed to screw up my ability to install Office 2007 Beta 2 and Office 2007 Beta 2 TR2.

Error Screenshot
The error reads:

Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007 (Beta) encountered an error during setup.
Error 2711: An internal error has occurred. (GraphicsFiltersCDRFilesIntl_1033 )

This error happened while trying to reinstall/uninstall any of the Beta 2 Office 2007 products.

Asking Uncles Google and Live, I found an interesting pointer.

I’ll quote these sources entirely, since the cached article may or may not work in the long term:

  1. From Sue Mosher – Outlook MVP:
    She quotes an article I couldn’t get to come up, but here’s the quote from her in full:
    New information from the Readme at http://officebeta.iponet.net/en-us/products/FX101517941033.aspx#1:Setup fails with Error 2711. An internal error has occurred. (FeatureName)This is usually caused by having a previous or newer version of an Office12 product installed on the machine. Ensure all builds of Office12 products that do not match the build numebr of the product being installed are removed from the machine then attempt the install again.In some cases it has been found that if a newer build has been run over an older build, that after removal of the older builds there is still data remaining in the registry and the MsoCache from the older build. If this is the case follow these steps to clear out the information:1. Open regedit
    2. Browse to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Office\Delivery\SourceEngine\Downloads
    3. Remove any key that ends in 0FF1CE}
    4. Open C:\MsoCache\All Users
    5. Delete any folder that ends in 0FF1CE}-C
  2. Not finding this information particularly helpful, and reading onward, finding that others didn’t necessarily find it helpful, I moved on, and found this:
    From LelandBartlett:Hi,I had the same error: Error 2711 GraphicsFiltersCDRFilesIntl_1033 when i tried to reinstall office 2007 Beta 2. I did all the recommendations above, plus maybe even more, but still no luck. I have this shareware program; CCLeanup, it has a tool section which is similar to Windows Add/Remove programs; however, even though I removed office 2007, there were 4 programs relating to office 2007 which did not show up in the windows add/remove programs. Three were related to language proofing (3 seperate languages), the other was a MUI for office 2007 beta. I noticed OneNote had it’s own install of a MUI. I ran the uninstall tool with CCLeanup, got rid of each of the four, just rand MS Office 2007 Professional Plus Beta 2 install, it now went in fine.

The tool’s name turns out to be CCleaner, and I checked around with various spyware/malware lists to make reasonably sure it really is free and ad-free (the Wikipedia article on Spyware is a good starting place if you’re doing your own research about programs that might be or you suspect might be adware/spyware). It looks good.

Also? It worked. Do as LelandBartlett says and you should be able to reinstall Office 2007 Beta 2 should you need to. Uninstall everything you can the conventional way, then use CCleaner to uninstall the last 4 components that Microsoft apparently forgot about.

What is wrong with you Microsoft Only people? – Checksum utilities for verifying large files

So today I am downloading the 2007 Office Beta 2 installs (and whoever heard of paying $1.50 for 5 download tries? I sort of understand, but if it were really just covering bandwidth fees, I should think it would be a lot lower). I note that the download listings/product key e-mails do not come with checksums for these large files.

The files are all in the 75 MiB – 250 MiB range. In UNIX-land, people would as part of the normal posting process just provide checksums. But in Windows-land apparently this is not done. Why not?

Checksums are extremely useful for making sure that the bits you expected to transfer over the network are the ones you got. You can see that this would be useful for both file content verification in the sense of “did I lose any bits along the way that would corrupt my install and can I know it before trying to install and have it fail?” But it’s also useful in the sense of making sure that the bits you want me to download are the same ones I want to get, and assuring that no 3rd party attackers did a man-in-the-middle attack, substituting trojan horses and other nasty things into the install instead. Okay, granted, private key encryption technology would be better than a simple checksum, but a checksum would still be better than nothing, which is what I get when I pay $1.50 to download the damned things.

With that in mind, let me introduce you to NullRiver’s winMd5Sum. This is a free and easy to use utility that allows you to create MD5 checksums on files and also to compare pre-generated checksums to the ones you generate on your end to check the download. Go use it. You’ll like it. While you’re at it, tell your download hosts (Microsoft too, please) that you’d like it if they’d start using it or some similar process to help you verify your large file downloads.

For posterity, I’m going to post the MD5 checksums I’ve got so far for my Office 2007 Beta 2 downloads (from Microsoft via the License Technology Group) [This assumes that each binary isn’t especially constructed for each product key – I guess we’ll see]:

  • Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007 – OFS32-EN.IMG – 14,796,544 bytes – MD5: 4ba65c890b6c86158666b41c3652d2bb
  • Microsoft Office Groove 2007 – OG-EN.EXE – 220,111,048 bytes – MD5: ba497c8610ae774b4f3af92755e83bf7 [Works fine]
  • Microsoft Office OneNote 2007 – OON-EN.EXE – 231,814,328 bytes – MD5: 95750f6b8c48c602b39c4b1271913398 [Works fine]
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager – BCM-EN.EXE – 252,769,672 bytes – MD5: 9cb44475cfbbbebb7c84eced9ef6e437 [Works fine]
  • Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007 – OPPLUS-EN.EXE – 461,881,224 bytes – MD5: 7fc65a38b6bd9dce0563afea2c5b9a93 [Works fine]
  • Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007 – OPP-EN.EXE – 210,237,736 bytes – MD5: 50c1f917637de95c9aa72114e6385acb [Works fine]
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 – SPD-EN.EXE – 236,994,544 bytes – MD5: 94fe6551b52ef1d38556d76677966073 [Works fine]
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 – Enterprise – SPS32-EN.IMG – 308,555,776 bytes – MD5: 0db4750dd73faca499fc5df95c7f63b3
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Search – OSS-EN.IMG – 231,387,136 bytes – MD5: c1c2b5ed9c0a31c48fb59afe3fb29919
  • Microsoft Office Visio Professional 2007 – OVP-EN.EXE – 293,966,312 bytes – MD5: 4259e1f323509e8392143e20416490f5 [Works fine]
  • Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services [v3] – SharePoint_setup.exe – 78,849,224 bytes – MD5: 51cd9f824bb5b6bfc90b96f0de956a1b

This is the complete list of the downloads I paid for.

Also, FYI, here is the link for the Beta 2 Technical Refresh download.

Here’s the file info for that download:

  • Microsoft Office 2007 Beta Two Technical Refresh – office2007b2tr-kb000000-fullfile-en-us.exe – 518,733,856 bytes – MD5: 9ad077c27fb279516b8636e43c3e0463 [Works fine]

I haven’t verified that all of these files work, but I have verified that the total file size is the same as was originally reported when I initiated the download, which is as close as you can get without MD5 or other checksum tools. I’ll note by striking the item out if for some reason the download is corrupt. Also, when I say [Works fine], I mean that it installed fine with all options installed to run on the drive. I won’t say that the actual programs installed worked fine, as they are in Beta.

Making Office document open in Office App instead of in an Office ActiveX Control in IE

I just wrote up this little Frequently Asked Question at work:

Assumptions:
  • You have Microsoft Office 2003 installed.
  • You are working with Windows XP Professional as your Operating System.
This is a setting that needs to be made/verified in your Windows settings.
To set the documents to open in their appropriate application:
  1. Open My Computer on your Desktop.
  2. Choose the Tools menu item, then choose Folder Options….
  3. In the Folder Options popup window, choose the File Types tab.
  4. In the Registered File Types list box, choose the file extensions for the application file types you’re interested in verifying/changing (i.e. DOC for Word, XLS for Excel, PPT for PowerPoint, etc.). Once the proper file type is selected, click the Advanced button.
  5. In the Edit File Type pop-up window, uncheck the Browse in same window checkbox.
  6. Click the OK button in the Edit file Type pop-up window.
  7. Click the Close button in the Folder Options pop-up window.

You’re done!

So the flip side is that if you want the document to open up in IE, you check the Browse in same window checkbox.

Sometimes this setting does/does not work. I’m still working on that bit, but also waiting to hear from the users a bit more about the versions of Office/OS they’re working with.