When I open SharePoint Designer, I can usually depend on using the "All Files" tab to find what i need. But I've never really understood what this thing is. I can't seem to find a similar file structure anywhere in the IIS site, or in the 14 hive.

There are other file structures as well, for instance, opening a sharepoint site in Explorer mode (path being http://servername/), or browsing to it in explorer via \\servername\davwwwroot

for more information on davwwwroot that i dont understand: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/21706142/what-is-davwwwroot

  • Do these file structures actually exist anywhere?
  • are they related?
  • Is there some key concept I am missing that's causing me to feel like i dont understand them, or are they just a tool some sharepoint developer thought would be useful?

1 Answer 1


Most of what you see in the browser or in SharePoint designer is not stored in the file structure on the SharePoint server. Rather, it is actually content, which is stored in the SharePoint content database(s). The content dbs are kept in SQL. For ease of understanding, the data stored in SQL is translated into a hierarchical tree structure when represented in SPD, or the browser or (for document libraries) in Windows Explorer.

davwwwroot is the representation of the root node when viewing SharePoint structures in Windows Explorer. It is not a physically accessible drive, it just looks like one.

Folders that are physically located on the SharePoint server hard disk are normally not accessible for writing data via SPD or the browser and require administrator access to the server.

  • so... the content databases have their own file structure, and that is what SPD exposes? Iis it kind of accurate to say I'm looking at database entries when I'm looking at All Files in SPD? I think this is exactly the answer I'm looking for thanks :) already things are making more sense...
    – Nacht
    Aug 18, 2014 at 5:15

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