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WSS 3 connect NTFS files and folders to a document library

Posted on 2009-12-29
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Last Modified: 2013-11-21
Does anyone know of a way to connect a document library in sharepoint to simply reflect the contents on an NTFS share on an actual file system?

I know there used to be a web part or add-on for sharepoint 2 that could do this- basically you keep all of your files on the ntfs file share and the doc library shows them and allows you to access them as if they are inside of a document library. I cannot get that to work on on WSS 3 though.

Does anyone know of anything new that can do this? Essentially I am trying to allow my staff to access thier staff folders from home without requiring a VPN, Webdav mapping, FTP etc...

The solution need not even be a sharepoint solution, I posted here because I knew of the wss v2 component that could do this. I really just need http or https file access for my users.

Thanks
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18 Comments
 
LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:zephyr_hex (Megan)
ID: 26141568
Page Viewer web part, pointed to a network share.  it will show NTFS folders and/or files.
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Author Comment

by:Chatfield_Public_Schools
ID: 26141949
Wouldnt the page viewer webpart require a VPN connection or something else to allow the folders/files to transverse the firewall to the internet?  I assume youde configure it to just point to \\server\share, essentially the same as creating a link to \\server\share. In both of those case the end user must have a VPN connection to see the server.

My issue is that I dont want a vpn connection and need some sort of http interface that can read the ntfs files and allow them to be used outside of the firewall.
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by:zephyr_hex (Megan)
ID: 26142758
if you don't want a vpn connection and want a http interface, then your problem is not what web part to use.  you need to expose sharepoint to the internet.

sharepoint provides the http access to the share via page viewer web part.
you need to open a port in your gateway firewall, and extend sharepoint to a new zone, and configure AAM.  you also need to consider which authentication method you want to use in order to secure it.
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by:zephyr_hex (Megan)
ID: 26142777
i'd recommend using SSL, too.

oh yeah..,
you may also have licensing implications to consider.
http://www.harbar.net/archive/2008/05/23/Office-SharePoint-Server-for-Internet-Sites-Licensing.aspx

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MsShadow earned 1500 total points
ID: 26145033
Doing it without a VPN will be a problem as the files are on a fileshare and not on a web interface.
As stipulated before you will need to expose your SharePoint to the internet, but probably as an extranet and not as an anonymous interface.
The licensing isn't an issue as you are using WSS, that you can use freely on an intranet/extranet/internet scenario.

The thing that strikes me as odd is that SharePoint is in fact a document management system that gives users extra power and possibilities when managing doncuments. Why don't you put the documents on the fileshare into SharePoint and get rid of the filesystem?
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by:Chatfield_Public_Schools
ID: 26151191
Thanks for the input Ms. I do agree with you that no VPN is the issue, and didnt think it could be solved with a pageviewer etc.. my sharepoint is exposed to the internet allready and you cannot view a filesystem through it. I believe youde have to crack open a bunch of ports to the internet to make it work , and Im not doing that...

We do use sharepoint extensively for our student data which isnt as important, but the teacher data is a little different story.

The issue I have with moving them to sharepoint is first off- user functionality is not as nice as a file system. Its always a little slower, uploads arent the same, etc. Sure you can do explorer view- but that involves more training and more phone calls. We have tried webdav but I had issues mapping drive letters via webdav for student folders... and didnt want to go that route quite yet. (security issues I think- another experts exchange post). Lastly- theres just something to be said for data that you can see. Its not a dbf file etc.. Many of the teachers use little access databases for software on thier laptops that save docs to their personal network drives etc- and those would start to have issues. Then theres the whole backups issue. I can use my current software to backup their files nightly and not pay 4 or 5 grand for a WSS backup solution. Currently I manually run a backup weekly on the entire site, since I dont have a prepacked backup solution.

Am I the only one that wants an https interface for file system access? Seems like someone would have invented this for windows by now.... I have it on my NAS units, but I have other issues with those...
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Expert Comment

by:zephyr_hex (Megan)
ID: 26151434
if your filesystem isn't accessible over the internet via sharepoint, it is not a ports issue.  most likely, it's an authentication issue.

how do your internet users authenticate, and do those users have NTFS permissions to the file share that's exposed via page viewer web part?
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Expert Comment

by:MsShadow
ID: 26153372
Am I the only one that wants an https interface for file system access?
It's called SharePoint :)

If you think the training of your people is an issue and the backup cost of SharePoint, everything points in the direction of VPN to be honest.
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by:Chatfield_Public_Schools
ID: 26154338
Zephyr, maybe I am not understanding you-

if my file server is \\server and my sharename is sharename, how would I create a page viewer to show those files and make themm available from home?

I assume pageview, choose the folder or file option, put in \\server\sharename and viola? Sounds simple but I have a feeling that it would only show the folder contents if I am inside the firewall.

We do integrated windows auth. I havent set this up, but yes, they would have ntfs permissions to the share im pointing them to,
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Author Comment

by:Chatfield_Public_Schools
ID: 26154394
I did try adding a page viewer, very cool in some respects- but it will only show the folders if I have my vpn connected. When vpn not connected it shows internet explorer cannot display this page... (just in that web part location)  So unless there is another auth method that will allow this, then it isnt going to work.

If its an auth method or something that can fix it, please let me know what it is, I can create another zone using another url etc... just let me know which way it needs to be set to work as I need it.

Thanks

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by:Chatfield_Public_Schools
ID: 26154410
One other thing I was tossing around also was the possibility of routing my docs to their network drive and then setting up offline files... then they dont need any connections at all.

I had such horrible nightmares with offline files on xp, does anyone know if it is fool proof on vista and 7? My users are all vista now, going to 7 soon. I dont want to go that route if there is major issues with it still. I am concerned that syncing may be an issue since most of them go wireless 100% of the time. I do have a robust cisco wireless, but dont want to break it with something offline files.
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Expert Comment

by:MsShadow
ID: 26169667
The only other option I see is to create an IIS website, and put all the files in there, and share that as a network drive to your teachers.
c:\inetpub\wwwroot\yoursite

I have no affiliation with offline files on vista, and I don't think this is the appropriate group to ask it in :)
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:zephyr_hex (Megan)
ID: 26174162
ugh.  this is all kinds of confused.  you said you don't want to use vpn, but then you are using vpn ?

my suggested solution does not require vpn.  it does however require configuration.  which means you need to not use your vpn or the configuration already established in sharepoint for your vpn... and configure sharepoint to be extended to a NEW zone, use AAM and SSL, and choose your authentication method.  a common type of authentication for this scenario is FORMS... but you need to choose authentication based on your requirements.
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Author Comment

by:Chatfield_Public_Schools
ID: 26174236
Ok- since I'm the admin I have a vpn, I just dont want to roll it out to all of my users. So in the above scenario I talked about the vpn- because I do personally have it.

I will setup a new zone and configure a dns entry etc so I can get to that zone from the internet, and give it a shot as you mentioned. Thanks
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Author Comment

by:Chatfield_Public_Schools
ID: 26527051
I would like to re-open this thread to post my results and get more feedback. Thanks
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by:Chatfield_Public_Schools
ID: 26527059
I would like to reopen this question for further review and feedback from others
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Author Comment

by:Chatfield_Public_Schools
ID: 26527229
Zephyr-

I have done as you suggested but am having some issues and wondering if we are on the same page.

Since I am trying to make my NTFS files available over https, you suggested that I extend the zone, configure an AAM and setup forms auth. I have done this as per many different resources, and am having an issue-   since all of my files are NTFS protected- I need to use LDAP authentication via forms, and from what I am seeing I dont know if its possible via Sharepoint services. I do not have MOSS.

So I did as you sugegsted above and setup the authentication providor as forms, but it says I need to edit my web.config file. Here is what I think should go into my web.cong, but I have tried several locations in the file and I can not get it to even show me a login box- it always gets me past the cert error notice, but then goes to an http not found error.

<membership defaultProvider="LdapMembershipProvider">
  <providers>
    <add
      name="LdapMembership"
      type="Microsoft.Office.Server.Security.LDAPMembershipProvider, Microsoft.Office.Server, Version=12.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71E9BCE111E9429C"
      server="server.domain.local"
      port="389"
      useSSL="false"
      userDNAttribute="distinguishedName"
      userNameAttribute="sAMAccountName"
      userContainer="CN=Users,DC=Domain,DC=local"
      userObjectClass="person"
      userFilter="(|(ObjectCategory=group)(ObjectClass=person))"
      scope="Subtree"
      otherRequiredUserAttributes="sn,givenname,cn"
      />
  </providers>
</membership>

I also setup a role provider entry with similar info.

 I entered both sets of info into the web.config file of both the new zone web.config and also central admin site. Then did IISreset, still no prompt page for login.  

My question is- I have read elsewhere that the LDAP connection with forms isnt available on wss3 since the info above show microsoft.offfice.server ldap membership providor, and that is not part of wss3.

So how is a person going to use ldap with forms in wss3 if thats not even an option, or did you have a different idea?

I cannot access my ntfs files using sql auth because that would create a new list os users that wont have ntfs access to those files.

Or- if my file above looks good, at exactly which point in the web.config does it go so that it will give me the login page and not just page not found?

Thanks
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LVL 2

Author Closing Comment

by:Chatfield_Public_Schools
ID: 31670969
This wasnt really what  I wanted to do, after having maany issues with MS support when a sharepoint update goes awry...  several times now this has happened without explanation, I dont like the ide of having less control of backups, no shadow copies etc, thus- I will award points- but not an A for the grade. Thanks for all your help.
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