I came across this issue today after migrating an application to a new Windows 2008 R2 server.  Where previously they were able to browse to a Sharepoint site using windows explorer, on this new server, it returned an error.

e.g. \\mysharepointurl.com\s\site1\Shared Documents\

 Sharepoint folder browsing using_windows_explorer

The developers asked me to check ports/firewalls etc. I was not convinced as it all worked from the old server (same domain, same rack etc) using the same user account. So unless sharepoint could be restricted by server IP (something that you can do in IIS) – I could not understand how from one server you could browse to the share and from another server not.

Microsoft’s new approach to Windows, IIS (and other software) is really great. Everything is locked down and/or installed to a bare minimum and server administrators add features or open things up as and when required. This issue falls into this category.

In order to browse Sharepoint folders you have to install the ‘Desktop Experience’ feature.

Windows Features Desktop Experience

Be aware, this will prompt a server reboot. Thanks for reading.