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What is webclient service?

Windows OS supports access to webdav shares using webclient service. Webdav is a network protocol that support both read and write access on web directories. See the references at the end of this post to know more on Webdav. This web client service is available on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 and Server 2003 editions. When this service is stopped users will not be able to access webdav shares. No other services are dependent on webclient service, so you can safely disable it if you are not using any webdav shares.

You can disable webclient service in the following way.

  1. Open service configuration console by
    • Click Start button
    • Select Run
    • Type services.msc and press enter
  2. Go to webclient entry in the list of services displayed in the right side pane.
  3. Double click on webclient service.
  4. Select the startup type to disabled.
  5. Press OK and close service configuration console.

In Windows Server 2003 webclient service is disabled by default, where as in Windows XP, Vista and Windows7 it is enabled.

On Windows XP and Windows 2003 operating systems webclient does not support HTTPS operations. This means that users would not be able to access any webdav share that is configured to be accessible via HTTPS only. Support for HTTPS operations is provided in Windows Vista and Windows 7.

On my Windows server 2008 system web client service is missing. Why so?

In Server 2008 edition, default setup does not have web client service. You need to install Desktop experience package to add web client service.

Do home editions support Web client service/webdav feature?

Yes, XP, Vista and Windows 7 home editions do support Web client service and webdav shares.

Do we need Web client service to access share point files in explorer view?

Share point explorer view uses either Web client or WebFolders to support explorer view of the documents. If webclient service is not running on the system, then it would try to use WebFolders. WebFolders is installed by default in Windows XP and Vista but not on server editions. Also Windows 7 does not seem to be having webfolders support. So if you are using XP/Vista, you still can see Sharepoint documents in explorer even if webclient service is not running since these editions have Webfolders which provide the same functionality. On Server editions you need to install Webfolders. 

How to enable Web client feature in Internet explorer?
To be accurate, the webdav feature embedded with IE is called Web Folders, not web client. In Windows XP and Vista this is installed by default. In IE, click on File and Open, if you see ‘open as webfolder‘ then you have the feature enabled. If it’s not installed, you can download it from the below location and install.

Relevant links:

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Enrique Govea April 5, 2010, 9:29 pm

    I changed the default Log On information for this service and I cannot get it back. Can you help me? I am using Windowx 7

  • Anonymous March 10, 2011, 5:26 am

    Enabling the WebClient service on Windows 2003 server allowed me to reach Sharepoint. Thanks for the Win2k8 advice, I'll keep that in mind when we upgrade.

  • Michael Marshall August 29, 2011, 2:49 pm

    Mine keeps saying “Stopping” I cant get it to Start.

  • David November 9, 2011, 6:18 pm

    Thanks for these short overview about the WebDAV Feature on the Windows OS.

    It was really helpful to me to get an first overview how it looks on the Windows OS family.

    Many thanks


  • Mengmeng February 24, 2012, 11:49 am

    I was downloading a file when this message appeared:

    Download Failed
    Unable to read data from the transport connection: The connection was closed.
    An error occurred when attempting to download firmware data.
    An exception occurred during a WebClient request.
    Do you want to download the current file again? Yes or No

    What does this mean?
    Please help!
    Thanks 🙂

    • admin March 3, 2012, 5:14 am

      I don’t think ‘webclient’ in this message refers to the webclient we are talking about in this post.
      You may try downloading the file again.

  • Kishore June 26, 2012, 4:12 pm

    Is it possible to know which web directories are accessed by Web client?

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