imageOne of the most common issues I hear when implementing SharePoint for new clients, or supporting an existing SharePoint environment is the dreaded login prompt.  There are multiple reasons for the password prompt, but I'll try and cover the basics here.  Personally, I haven’t had to login to our internal company SharePoint in at least 6 or 8 months!  How can you achieve this SharePoint nirvana?  Let’s walk through the common steps to avoid having to login to SharePoint, whether opening the site or when opening documents.  Here’s a quick rundown.

  1. 1.  Internet Explorer Security Zone
  2. 2.  Windows Credential Store
  3. 3.  Prompts When Opening Documents

Internet Explorer Security Zone

Generally, one of the first things you need to do is add the SharePoint site URL or domain to a more trusted security zone in your web browser (we’ll focus on IE for this post).  SharePoint uses activex controls and other features that need to be trusted to run correctly.  Here’s what you need to do. 

  1. Open Internet Explorer, and click Tools –> Internet Options.  This will vary depending on your version of IE.  In IE9, click the gear icon in the top right corner, then click Internet Options.
  2. Click the Security tab, then highlight the zone Local Intranet, then click the Sites button. 
  3. Ensure “Automatically detect intranet network” is checked.  Enter the URL of the SharePoint site.  What I suggest here is to use a wildcard entry, to ensure it covers as much as possible.  So you could enter, or what I recommend is *
  4. Click Ok on all the windows, and close the browser.  Go to SharePoint, and you will likely get prompted.  On this prompt (as seen above), click the checkbox “Remember my credentials”.

Windows Credential Store

This is typically needed when your SharePoint server isn’t in your local network environment.  Whether you knew it or not, Windows XP or Windows 7 (who uses Vista anyway) has what is called a “credential store” or vault.  It stores usernames and passwords used to connect to websites and other network computers, and online services like Live ID or Exchange.  A credential should get stored here from the above prompt when you click “Remember my credentials”. 

  1. To access the credential store, you can try this shortcut by typing the following in the Start -> Run command: “control keymgr.dll”.  If this doesn’t work, you can get there by going to Start –> Control Panel, then picking Credential Manager in the large icons view. 
  2. Under the Windows Credentials heading, look for an entry for the SharePoint URL.  If you don’t find one, enter a new one by clicking Add a New Windows Credential.
  3. Enter the information as it requests.  You can enter the direct URL as in the IE security zone, or you can also use wildcards like *  Enter your username and password just as if you were logging into SharePoint.
  4. Close IE if you had it open, then try SharePoint again.  You should not get prompted.

Getting Prompted When Opening Documents

Another common problem with SharePoint is you get prompted for login credentials when opening or editing documents from a library.  At least with Windows Vista and Windows 7, this is a known issue and lucky for us, there’s a hotfix!  See the following Microsoft KB article:

Prompt for Credentials When Accessing FQDN Sites From a Windows Vista or Windows 7 Computer

Some items of note:

  • If you have Windows Vista, you need to download and install the hotfix file, and apply the registry setting. 
  • If you have Windows 7, it already has the hotfix included, and you just need to complete the registry setting. 
  • If you are the IT admin, I would recommend creating this on your machine, and saving the key to a .reg file you can send to users, or set in your desktop image.

You will follow the steps 1-7 near the bottom of the article.  As in the above steps, you can use the wildcard like * for the entry.  Close the registry editor, and enjoy opening documents free from login prompts! 

While we’re here, I have to share one other thing that I see all the time that I haven’t seen documented. 

Problem with Explorer View Being Slow

I fought this for a long time.  Every time I would try to use Explorer View, it would work, but it would a LONG time to come up, like 30 seconds.  My coworker could open Explorer View and it would open in about 1 second.  The fix turned out to be the fix I’ve seen for other weird strange issues with SharePoint.  Here’s how to fix it.

  1. Open Internet Explorer, and click Tools –> Internet Options. This will vary depending on your version of IE. In IE9, click the gear icon in the top right corner, then click Internet Options.
  2. Click the Connections tab, then click the LAN Connections button at the bottom of the window.
  3. Check the state of the first checkbox “Automatically detect settings”.  This will likely be checked.  Uncheck it!
  4. Click ok until all windows are closed, and close IE.  Open SharePoint, and try to open a library in Explorer View.  It’s magic!