After experiencing some intermittent “path not valid” and very frustrating errors trying to open different types of files from my SharePoint server I’d had enough. I had to know what was going on.
Here’s the behaviour I was seeing. I had used a certain machine to edit SharePoint files in applications such as WordPad and Paint in the past so I just jumped on it and tried to open a file from SharePoint in MS Paint and it would just keep failing with “path not valid”. I tried the same file from another machine and it worked fine. So back the first machine with the error and I tried images from other directories on the same server, they all failed with “path not valid”. I then started trying to open different file types with different applications. What I found was quite surprising (to me anyway). I was able to successfully open a .txt file from SharePoint in WordPad and from that point on my original image files that failed to open in Paint started working fine.
Now I already knew that WebDav had a few dependencies and that the WebClient service had to be running, but I had initially dismissed this as a possible cause as I knew I’d been working fine with WebDav on this machine only a couple of days prior… it turned out this was a bad assumption to make.
What I wasn’t expecting was that there are some actions you can do that will start the WebClient service if it’s not already running. As I discovered, one of those actions it to use WordPad to try and open a file on a UNC path. A bit of digging around also revealed that putting a UNC path in Windows Explorer will cause the WebClient service to start as well.
Here’s the proof:
Now trying to open the original image file (that failed) in Paint works fine.
So I learned my lesson, even though it’s something I thought I already knew. If you are making use of WebDav MAKE SURE the WebClient service is set with a startup type of “Automatic”.