Allowing ASP.NET access to local file system - within IE browser

Posted on 2008-10-16
Last Modified: 2013-12-08
I want to be able to have my client ASP.NET session autodownload a file (word doc) from the server, save it to the local hard disk and then invoke Word (which I know is on hte local PC) to display the file.
Is this possible within ASP.NET/IE?
What security levels do I need to setup for IE on the client workstations?
The situation is that we are exploring the redevelopment of our customer mgt system from a locally installed exe to ASP.NET. But we must be able to setup the ASP.NET to bypass the usual prompts ("do you trust this site" etc) to make the standard functions we have run without intervention.
Note: this will initially be on a intranet, but I would like to be able to expose it to the www as well (after appropriate login accdess of course) if that makes any difference.
Question by:TMJC
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Expert Comment

ID: 22737140

It's generally not good to create a site that access the local systems drives.

To do this you will need to run client side scripts in the web page to access the users local drive. The browser is not going to let the web page subvert its security without the users permission. Either by a pop-up alert or by configuring IE to allow the scripts to run.

You could configure the scripts to run automatically for sites on your local intranet. To do this you would need to modify IE's security settings via a Domain Group Policy or on each pc. This is not a good practice though, and it won't work if you migrate to the internet.

All that said, I can't help but think there is a better way to do what you are attempting. Have you considered putting the files on a shared file server? Or if you have a Domain with user home directories in a shared location you could use the home directory instead of the local drive.

Author Comment

ID: 22737264
Thanks for the reply.
why store on the local drive?
- we copy the Word doc file from the server to the local HDD to make Word open/save/close faster. Some of our links are pretty poor and Word does not handle remote files being editted too well. Once the Word doc is saved locally we want to upload it back to the server  -again, without  direct user intervention - currently via a macro that fires in the Word "close" trigger
- we also create a log on the local HDD for trouble shooting purposes. The log files for many users would overwhelm the server - there may be 50 users and each may generate 10 Mb per day in log file recordings.
- we also have the capacity (in the present app) to record voice files and then upload them to typists for transcription. To retain this functionality, we need to be able to invoke the voice recorder s/w (not dissimilar to invoking Word, as above) and save the voice file to the HDD. The recording s/w just won't work when we try to use a network share.

If I can get the users to add the web site to the "trusted" web sites list, would that work?

I worry that we are being too ambitious in moving from an exe to an ASP.NET model.


Expert Comment

ID: 22737388

The users would have to add the site to their trusted lists and then configure their IE security settings to allow scripts without prompting them, not sure it would work.

A browser plugin (BHO) may do the job or a Java applet (never thought I would say that). This would give you the client access  you needed with little user intervention, just when they installed the plugin or applet.

Browser Helper Object

Accepted Solution

TMJC earned 0 total points
ID: 22737422
many thanks - you've sent me off to explore BHO (in VB.NET for me!)
Thanks again

Expert Comment

ID: 22813691
Is it fair to accept your own post as a solution?

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