Microsoft was one of the original backers of the WebDAV specification, and first started shipping a client in Windows 98, known as “Web Folders”. This client was also shipped in Windows NT4 and 2000.
The original Web Folders client was an extension to Explorer, the main GUI program used to browse filesystems. It works well enough. In Windows 98, the feature might need to be explicitly installed if Web Folders aren't already visible inside “My Computer”. In Windows 2000, simply add a new “network place”, enter the URL, and the WebDAV share will pop up for browsing.
With the release of Windows XP, Microsoft started shipping
a new implementation of Web Folders, known as the “WebDAV
mini-redirector”. The new implementation is a
filesystem-level client, allowing WebDAV shares to be mounted
as drive letters. Unfortunately, this implementation is
incredibly buggy. The client usually tries to convert http
http://host/repos) into UNC share
\\host\repos); it also often
tries to use Windows Domain authentication to respond to
basic-auth HTTP challenges, sending usernames as
HOST\username. These interoperability
problems are severe and documented in numerous places around
the web, to the frustration of many users. Even Greg Stein,
the original author of Apache's WebDAV module, bluntly
states XP Web Folders simply can't operate against an Apache
Windows Vista's implementation of Web Folders seems to be almost the same as XP's, and so it has the same sort of problems (at the time of writing).
However, there seem to be workarounds for both XP and Vista that allow Web Folders to work against Apache. Users have mostly reported success with these techniques, so we'll relay them here.
On Windows XP, you have two options. First, search
Microsoft's website for patch KB90730, “Software
Update for Web Folders”. This may fix all your
problems. If it doesn't, it seems that the original pre-XP
Web Folders implementation is still buried within the
system. You can unearth it by going to “Network
Places” and add a new network place. When prompted,
enter the URL of the repository, but include a
port number in the URL. For
http://host/repos would be
Respond to any authentication prompts with your Subversion
On Windows Vista, the same patch KB90730 may clear
everything up. But there may still be other issue. Some
users have reported that Vista considers
http: connections insecure, and thus
will always fail any authentication challenges from Apache
unless the connection happens
https:. If you're unable to connect
to the Subversion repository via SSL, you can tweak the
system registry to turn off this behavior. Just set the
from 1 to 2. A final warning: be sure to set up the Web
Folder to point to the repository's root directory
/), rather than some subdirectory
/trunk. Vista Web Folders only
seems to work against repository roots.
In general, while these workarounds may function for you, you might get a better overall experience using a third-party WebDAV client like WebDrive or NetDrive.