Troubleshoot "Open with Explorer" issues in SharePoint Online

Introduction

This article discusses how to troubleshoot issues that you may experience when you use the “Open with Explorer” command in SharePoint Online.

Note

The Open with Explorer command doesn't work in the Microsoft Edge browser.

For more information about how to copy or move library files by using "Open with Explorer," go to Copy or move library files by using Open with Explorer.

Symptoms

When you browse to a SharePoint Online document library, you may receive intermittent connectivity issues, and 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 https://support.microsoft.com/kb/2629108.

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

    We're having trouble opening this library in File Explorer error message

Resolution

Use the following troubleshooting procedures to resolve common issues that occur when you use the "Open with Explorer" command.

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"

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.

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 having the *Keep me signed in check box selected. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. On the Office 365 ribbon, select the arrow next to your user name.
  2. Select 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 select Sign in (if it is necessary).
  6. Open a document library in Explorer view.

You can use the UsePersistentCookiesForExplorerView parameter for the Set-SPOTenant cmdlet that's used in the SharePoint Online Management Shell. This lets SharePoint issue a special cookie that will allow the Authenticate to Office 365 feature to work even if Keep Me Signed In isn't selected.

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

Important

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 the UsePersistentCookiesForExplorerView parameter and the persistent cookie, go to Set-SPOTenant.

For more information about the SharePoint Online Management Shell, go to What is the SharePoint Online Management Shell?

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

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

  1. Start Internet Explorer.

  2. Depending on your version of Internet Explorer, do one of the following:

    • Select the Tools menu, and then select Internet options.
    • Select the gear icon, and then select Internet options.

    Go to Internet options

  3. Select the Security tab, select Trusted sites, and then select Sites.

    Go to Sites in Trusted sites

  4. In the Add this website to the zone box, enter the URL for the website that you want to add to the Trusted sites zone, and then select Add. The URL will be for one of the following websites:

    • SharePoint Online
    • OneDrive for Business
    • Open with Explorer (uses a -files or -myfiles format)

    For example, enter https://<contoso>.sharepoint.com and https://<contoso>-files.sharepoint.com for a site. Or, enter https://<contoso>-myfiles.sharepoint.com and https://<contoso>-my.sharepoint.com for a OneDrive for Business library.

    Note

    In this example, contoso represents the domain that you use for your organization.

    Repeat this step for any additional sites that you want to add to this zone.

    To make sure that "Open with Explorer" works correctly, you must include the SharePoint site URL or the OneDrive for Business URL in addition to the "-files" (for a site) URL or the "-myfiles" (for a OneDrive for Business library) URL.

    adding Trusted sites

  5. After you add each site to the Websites list, select Close, and then select OK.

Check the status of the WebClient service

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

  1. Follow the appropriate steps for your operating system:

    • For Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7, click Start, click Run, enter services.msc, and then press Enter.
    • For Windows 8, select Start, enter services.msc, and then press Enter.
    • For Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2012, select Start, enter 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 Install Desktop Experience.
  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 the status isn't set to Started, double-click the WebClient service to open the WebClientProperties dialog box, select Start, and then select 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, go to the WebClient Properties dialog box, select the list option for the Startup type setting, and then select either Manual or Automatic. Next, select Apply, select Start to start the service, and then select OK.

Apply hotfix for Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 or Windows 7

If you're running Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 or Windows 7, a hotfix has been released to resolve this issue. For more information, go to Error when you open a SharePoint Document Library in Windows Explorer or map a network drive to the library after you install Internet Explorer 10.

More information

For more information about how to work with site library files in File Explorer, see Ways to work with site library files in File Explorer.

For more information about how to work with the WebClient service, see the following Knowledge Base articles:

Still need help? Go to the Microsoft Community.