We use SharePoint Foundation 2010
for our intranet, and we wanted to make more use of Document Libraries. We added sample documents to try it out. While PDF files opened fine in the
browser, we found that opening Word or Excel files prompted us to enter a username and a password. Even when we entered valid credentials, the dialog kept
reappearing, and we had to press Escape to cancel the prompt. It would
appear once more; if we cancelled it again, the document opened.

Searching for a solution soon
showed that we weren’t alone, although nobody’s scenario seemed to quite match
ours. Some people, for example, were opening documents from a server on the
Internet, or their SharePoint was configured over multiple servers. Ours was a
single, internal server.

I posted a question in the very
helpful Spiceworks community, where the first suggestion was to check SharePoint’s Alternate
Access Mappings. All seemed well, although adding one of my URLs to Internet
Explorer’s Intranet Zone Sites list seemed to reduce the number of credentials
requests from two to one.

Many articles suggested adding a
registry key: 


The problem this is trying to
solve is when Windows decides that your server is on the Internet, despite you
adding it to the IE Intranet Zone Sites list, and therefore asks for
credentials. The idea is that you add your SharePoint server name to this key,
restart the WebClient service, and all is well. But that didn’t work for us.

By design

Continuing my research, I tried
using the Trusted Sites Zone instead of Intranet without any luck.

Prompted by this article, I tried this: “Go to Control Panel >> User Accounts >>
Manage Your Credentials and remove any credentials stored”. No better.

Prompted by the same post, I then
tried this: “Try disabling ‘Sharepoint OpenDocuments Class’ add-on in IE”. You
guessed it — no difference.

I even found a post suggesting this behaviour was “by design and cannot be avoided”. I couldn’t accept that.

To make matters worse, I’d been
working on my own PC with Microsoft Office 2007. When I attempted to
demonstrate the issue on a colleague’s PC with Office 2010, documents didn’t open at all. However, after a bit of tinkering, I did get some files to open. I had
to click through the usual credentials prompts, plus an extra pop-up
saying the file couldn’t be opened.


Eventually I found a tip on Stack
that seemed to help. I added these lines into the web.config file found
on the SharePoint server at C:\inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories\80:

<add verb="OPTIONS" allowed="false" />
<add verb="PROPFIND" allowed="false" />

The credentials
prompts stopped when opening Word or Excel files on my PC. Progress! Unfortunately, on PCs running
Office 2010, the prompts were still there.

By now I’d been chasing this down
for three months. I gritted my teeth and did more research, which led me
to suspect a connection with Kerberos authentication.
I brought my idea, and the story so far, back to the Spiceworks community.

Finally, a configuration change
in SharePoint Central Administration solved the problem. As I posted at the

“The solution (for me) was to
change the Authentication Provider for the SharePoint web application to use
NTLM instead of Kerberos. This gave me two benefits:

  • No more
    unwanted credentials prompts when opening MS Office docs from the doc library
    (Office 2007 or Office 2010).
  • The setting of
    Integrated Windows Authentication (IWA) in IE now makes no difference whether
    enabled or disabled — the user gets logged in and can open the documents either

So what was the root cause? We
have another SharePoint installation, also configured with Kerberos, which
doesn’t suffer the same problem. My guess, therefore, is that Kerberos was
never set up properly for some reason. (I seem to recall changing
my mind about a few things during the initial setup project, and I may have
done something out of sequence.) As one of the contributors on the Spiceworks
community put it, “You need to set up a bunch of stuff for it to work. Just
turning it on will not cause it to work.”


Being asked for credentials when
opening Word or Excel files from a Document Library is a common frustration for
SharePoint users. In this case, it seems the Kerberos authentication protocol
was misconfigured, and changing to NTLM cured the problem.