End of Microsoft support for its WebClient service on Windows 10 and 11

Hello Nextcloud community,
Microsoft has announced that it will no longer support the WebClient service in future updates of Windows 10 and Windows 11.
As a result, it will soon no longer be possible to use WebDAV network drives with Microsoft Windows.

Do you think it would be worth turning to solutions like Dokan and its dokany agent?
Are there any known usage limits, as there are with WebClient (255 character limit, etc.)?
Best regards.

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Unfortunately true :cry:


Microsoft has probably realized that the free WebDAV allows competitors easy access from the Microsoft client to clouds and that it is also not necessary for the proprietary Windows 365. Deprecated? Probably only from Microsoft’s point of view and their license model for Microsoft 365. I think Microsoft earns money primarily from users who are unable to install third-party software. The elimination of WebDAV is of course strategically important as all other clouds directly integrated into the file explorer without third-party software are eliminated for these users.

Nextcloud users will then probably always have to use the Nextcloud client or, better still, another operating system.


Fun fact: The first iteration of the Virtual Files feature of the Nextcloud Desktop Clinet was actually based on Dokan, but now they are using the natvie Cloud Files API (Cloud Sync Engine) in Windows. :slight_smile:

…or third party clients based on Dokan or similiar libaries.

I’m glad you mentioned it so I didn’t have to. :wink:


They ask for feedback. But you need to use a feedback app on your system…

Thanks you devnull, but it doesn’t tell me which tool i can use to access files directly from Windows system file explorer.

I’m not looking for a local synchronization tool, but for a direct use of Nextcloud files remotely.

What would be interesting is to have client software like Nextcloud Desktop that could either work in “file synchronization” mode or in remote file access mode.

And what are the arguments against Nextcloud Desktop? If WebDAV is discontinued, you will probably have to use WebDAV alternatives or Nextcloud Desktop.

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I see three options:

  1. You could use the official Nextcloud Client in Virtual Files mode

  2. You can use third party tools like for example: https://mountainduck.io/.

  3. You can develop something yourself using, for example, the GitHub - dokan-dev/dokany: User mode file system library for windows with FUSE Wrapper libraries you mentioned in your opening post.

A fourth option would be to open a feature request to implement this feature in the official Nextcloud client. However, I think the chances that any of the core developers are starting to work on this are pretty low, and even if you or someone else did the work, I personally doubt they would actually implement it.

Of course, I could be completely wrong about how that fourth option would turn out, so don’t hesitate to submit a request if it’s important to you… Issues · nextcloud/desktop · GitHub

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We use group folders.
Some groups have very large contents, such as groups that are common to a majority of users, exceeding the storage capacities of the workstation.
The majority of users do not need access to all the documents in these common folders, but only to a few files scattered throughout the tree.
Nextcloud Desktop would require synchronizing all the contents of these common folders at least once.
As bb77 suggested, I’m currently testing the new “Virtual Files” feature, which works as a sort of on-demand sync.
I understand that Nextcloud Desktop is still required to browse all folders accessible by a user, including common areas.
Even if there is no copy of the folder locally, it takes a long time before you can use the Nextcloud folder.
Retrieving the list of 335,000 files and folders is a long time for each user ;-(


Yes, but this should be a one-time issue for the initial sync of the file list. And since the Windows WebDAV client will remain in Windows for the foreseeable future, you can plan the migration accordingly.

As far as I know, you can configure the client not to sync the group folders, which is if I’m not mistaken the default, so the users can choose which folders to view/sync if they don’t need all of them. This should reduce the initial loading time of the file list.

And you also get some advantages over WebDAV drives, such as the fact that the files you download (the ones with the green checkmark) are also available offline, which is useful on mobile devices such as laptops :slight_smile:

Thanks @bb77
I understand that, in this case, there is some sort of local cache of the files used.
How long is the information stored in this cache and is it possible to configure it?
Is there an expiry date for the information?
I’d like to prevent files from being accessed locally for months or more…

The client has a function to free up storage space. However, I’m not sure how configurable this function is and whether it can be enforced from the Nextcloud server, but I doubt that the latter is possible.

But maybe you can script something via Powershell and enforce it via Group policy or since it uses the Microsoft Cloud Files API you should also be able to control it via MS Storage Sense, which most likely also can be enforced via Group Policy.

However I’m not a Windows expert, so I can’t help out with details on how to do this, but I found this thread, which might help to point you in the right direction.

There is a feature within Windows that automatically clean up temp folders etc. and cloud syncs, like OneDrive or Nextckoud VirtualFiles. You can adjust that to a specific time period within the windows settings (needs win10 or 11) or set it to never.

The good point about is, that you don’t need to install anything and you can then easily use it when the webinterface is not very practical (e.g. several files and folders).

Nextcloud Desktop App is a sync client and thus occupies space on the locsl device while WebDav grants direct access to the remote filesystem.
I am using WebDav to access my Nextcloud data for a long tome now, having the cloud storage integrated into explorer is best way to access files imo.

When i read this news this week it gave me a major pita…

Storage is cheap these days. And with the Virtual Files / Microsoft Cloud Files API, only the files you are actually using are downloaded to your device, and you can control how long they are stored and how much space you want to allocate to them.

I know, but i still prefere direct access. Same with keepass databases, i access my db with keepass2 clients using webdav and the same db from android using keepass2android. I am not sure if this will still work after webdav is removed from windows.

This will still work as keepas uses there own WebDAV API. WebDav in Windows is only usable by Windows itself, as far as I know. I never seen a program using WebDav implementation by Windows.
Btw, even Microsoft Office apps and OneDrive uses WevDav (or used for a long time :upside_down_face:).

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I think for file access i will switch to smb in combination with the inotify app, but i have to see if this is ok with my ammount of data on the cloud

btw, as far as i understood, MS will currently only disable the WebClient service and it has to be enabled by the user manually

but this however is also only a temporary solution, as it will disappear at some point for sure.