Understanding and troubleshooting the SharePoint Files tool in Groove 2007

 So, I'll confess -- SharePoint is not one of my specialties, especially in the current version of Groove. Recently, on one of the Groove newsgroups, someone was reporting that most of the documents in one of his libraries were not synchronizing down to the Groove Files tool. I asked him a few questions to try to narrow down the problem, but none produced any clues. However, he posted a few days later with something I never would have expected -- they had applied some MOSS patches, and since then, all but a few of the files were synchronizing. How can that happen? A pointer from a Groove Support Escalation Engineer pointed me in the right direction, and after some investigation, here's what I found:

Groove Virtual Office used some pretty complex mechanisms to attempt to synchronize with SharePoint. Microsoft Office Groove 2007 uses WebDAV (Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning) to  synchronize with a SharePoint library.  This is the same mechanism that Windows uses to view the library through Explorer View as a remote folder. It is not the same as viewing the library from a Web browser.

So if the Groove SharePoint Files tool is not synchronizing a particular file or library, try this simple test:

  1. Open Windows Explorer.
  2. In the address box, enter the UNC path to the resource, and then press ENTER. For example, if the URL for the site is http://sharepoint.adventure-works.com/Training/Shared%20Documents/Forms/AllItems.aspx, enter \\sharepoint.adventure-works.com\Training\Shared Documents\Forms.

The folder should open in Windows Explorer. If it does not, Groove will not be able to establish a connection to the SharePoint site. Anything you cannot open or write to here, you will not be able to open or write to by using the Groove SharePoint Files tool.

If you find you cannot access your resource in Windows Explorer, the next step is to figure out why. There are a few situations where it may be a bug in WebDAV, so make sure you have all the SharePoint patches applied. Another problem may be that the server uses Basic authentication, which WebDAV has disabled by default. The more secure solution to that problem, of course, is to change the authentication method on the server. If you would rather enable Basic authentication in WebDAV (or just want a more in-depth explanation)  see "You cannot connect to a document library in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 or Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 by using Windows shell commands or by using Explorer View" at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/841215. Please read the More Information section carefully, to understand the risks of enabling Basic authentication in WebDAV.