Clicking on a Link to a Document in a Document Library does not Prompt for Check-Out

As our organization slowly upgrades from one Office version to another, some users found that behavior in SharePoint changes. On document libraries for which Check-Out is required, some users find that clicking on a link to a document opens the document in the client application as expected, but they are not prompted to choose Read Only or Check-Out and Edit. Moreover, the document that opens is a copy of the original, so when the user attempts to save, the user is prompted to save the document locally. Meanwhile, the original document in SharePoint may have been edited by another user, since the check-out process of locking the document for editing did not occur.  

This problem appears to be caused by either incorrect security settings for the IE Zone in which SharePoint is placed or a faulty (missing or corrupt) copy of the Windows SharePoint Services Support file which guides SharePoint’s behavior regarding interaction with Office files.

The following steps resolved the issue.

  • Verify that the URL for SharePoint is in the Intranet or Trusted Sites zone in IE. Do not place the site URL in both places. (While IE guards against having a single URL in both places, it may be possible if one URL uses a wildcard: https://myIntranet.mycompany.net and https://*.mycompany.net)
  • Verify that the Windows SharePoint Services Support file is installed and set to run from the client machine. Control Panel> Programs and Features> Select (but don’t double-click…this will start the uninstall process) Microsoft Office [Version]>Use the Change option at the top of the list and Add or Remove Features> Continue to check what features are installed.  If the Windows SharePoint Services Support file is not set to run from computer, change it to do so and complete the Add process.
  • If the file is present, it may be corrupt or may be a file version from a prior Office version.  Run a repair of Office.  Control Panel> Programs and Features> Select (but don’t double-click…this will start the uninstall process) Microsoft Office [Version]>Use the Repair option at the top of the list. The repair operation requires a restart.

This issue is similar to the “A Windows SharePoint Services-compatible application could not be found” error (addressed here), but these later version of Office, IE, and the OS resulted in a change in opening behavior rather than an actual error message.  Problems with the Windows SharePoint Services Support file are especially common in a mixed Office version environment, such as when a client is running Office 2007, but has later versions of individual Office programs like Visio 2010, Access 2010, or SharePoint Designer 2010 also installed on the same machine.

Thank you to the following forum and blog discussions used in troubleshooting:

http://ddkonline.blogspot.com/2007/07/issues-with-sharepoint-2007-checkout.html

http://weblogs.asp.net/jan/archive/2006/05/10/446000.aspx

http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/hu/sharepointecm/thread/56f17e89-04b1-4820-985b-01846351558a

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/833714

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About Joy Lavigne (Adkins)

SharePoint Administrator for a mid-sized organization. Frequent speaker at SharePoint Saturday events. Teller of terribly corny jokes. View all posts by Joy Lavigne (Adkins)

3 responses to “Clicking on a Link to a Document in a Document Library does not Prompt for Check-Out

  • Larry W. Virden

    Hi! we are seeing a variation of the above. We are running SP 2007, and the users have Office 2010 installed. We have a few users who have reported clicking on a doc in a library which is set to require check out to edit, getting a window open that displays the doc, leaving the button about check out alone, exiting the program, and discovering later that the document was now checked out to them – with out their ever requesting a check out. Have you heard of other occurrances of something like this?

    • Joy Adkins

      Not sure that I have seen that exact behavior. When clicking a link to a document in the document library, do they receive any prompt at all, such as the prompt:

      You are about to open [file name]. How would you like to open this document?
      * Read-only
      * Edit

      If they get that prompt and open with the Edit option, the document will be checked out to them. It should however, automatically check back in when they close the document, whether they save changes or not.

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