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Offline Files in Windows XP

[ Thursday, December 2, 2010 | 5 comments ]

What is Offline Files ?

Offline files is a feature in Windows operating systems to use network files even though we are not connected to the network. This is a very useful feature for laptop users who want to access network shares even when they are not connected to the network. For this you just have to select which folders you want to use in offline mode. These selected folders will be copied by Offline files to the local disk. When you disconnect your machine from the network, all the file access requests will be redirected to the local copies by Offline Files. You can find below how to use Offline Files feature in Windows XP.

What's great about it? I can manually copy the files to my laptop!

Offline Files also handles synchronization. It tries to keep the local folders up to date with the network folders. When you copy files manually, you need to sync the files periodically to ensure that the files you have on local machine are the latest. Offline files takes care of this automatically. And the whole thing is transparent from the user point of view. The files you used to access with UNC path(ex: \\server\share\file1.doc) can be accessed using the same path even in disconnected mode. So all the applications which access these network shares will continue to work without causing any issues with file paths.

It also handles synchronization from client to server. Suppose you modified files on your machine in disconnected mode. When you connect the machine to network, Offline Files copies the modified files to the network share. Offline files can also identify synchronization conflicts in scenarios like some one else modifying the same files before you sync your changes.

What versions of windows have offline files feature?

Look at the table below.

Yes - Has 'Offline Files' feature
No -Does not have 'Offline Files' feature

Windows 2000 Yes
Windows XP Home No
Windows XP Professional Yes
Vista Home No
Vista Home Premium No
Vista Ultimate Yes
Vista Business Yes

How does it work? How can one access the network files in offline mode?

The logic behind Offline Files is very simple. When we mark a folder for offline cache, Offline Files copies all the files from the network share and stores them on the local disk. When the machine is disconnected from the network, Offline Files detects it and forwards all file access requests to the local copy.


I marked a folder \\server\share for offline cache. I am connected to the network. Which one is used when I try to access \\server\share\file1.doc ? Server copy? or the local copy?

Offline Files comes into picture only when the share is offline i.e. the network share is not accessible to the client(Either the client or server is disconnected from the network). So when you are online, all the file access requests go to the server as usual.

What operations can I do in offline mode?

Add/Delete/Modify files
Add Directories

All file operations that can be done while in online mode can also be done in offline mode, the only exception being deleting a folder.

What happens when I change/add/delete files in offline mode?

The modifications will be applied on the local copies. When the machine is reconnected to the network, Offline Files synchronizes the changes with the server copies.

What are the configurable options in offline files?

Few of the configurable options are in
My computer -> Tools -> Folder options -> Offline Files

What is 'Disk space for temporary cached files' option in Offline files settings?

This is the limit for temporarily cached files. Note that this in no way limits the space occupied by the cached files.

What is the maximum limit for the size of cached files?

There is no space limit. You can mark any number of folders for offline cache as long as you have free space on the drive having the Offline Files folder.


Please see below articles to know more about Offline Files in Windows XP.


Configuring Windows XP Offline Files
  1. How to Enable offline files in Windows XP
  2. How to Disable Offline Files in Windows XP
  3. Making a network share available offline in Windows XP
  4. How to view offline files in Windows XP
  5. Offline Files folder location in Windows XP 
  6. Disable Offline Files for redirected folders in XP
  7. Offline Files: Excluded File Types
XP Offline Files Synchronization

  1. Offline Files Synchronization
  2. Disable logon/logoff synchronization in XP
  3. Stop other users offline files synchronization in XP

Managing XP Offline Files Cache

  1. Delete Offline Files Cache in Windows XP
  2. Windows XP cache size limit 
  3. Updating Cache when share moved to new server 


Issues with Offline Files Usage in Windows XP

  1. Make Available offline greyed out
  2. Enable Offline Files greyed out
  3. No Offline Files tab in Folder Options in Windows XP
  4. Recovering Offline Files in Windows XP 
Offline Files registry keys in Windows XP

  1. ExtExclusionList registry key
  2. Disable Offline Files using registry keys
  3. FormatDatabase registry key to delete cache 
Group policy settings for managing Offline Files in XP
  1. Group policy for Slow link configuration
  2. Group policy for disabling logoff Synchronization in XP
Offline Files Tools for Windows XP
  1. How to move offline files cache to another location in Windows XP
  2. CSCCMD tool to manage offline files cache in Windows XP 

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Disable offline files using registry key

| 5 comments ]

Offline Files has got its own user interface to disable the feature. But for the people who prefer to do it by hacking the registry or for the people who want to do it programatically using batch script I am listing below the registry way of disabling offline files. Since Offline files has changed a lot in Vista and Windows 7 when compared with XP I am writing separate steps for each of these editions.


Windows XP

    • Open registry editor by executing regedit from Run window.
    • Go to the node HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MRxSmb\Parameters
    • Create a new registry value with the name CSCEnabled and of type REG_DWORD. CSCEnabled is of type REG_DWORD.
    • Set the value of this new registry value to 0.
    • Reboot the machine. Changes won't take affect until the reboot is done.

    Note that this disables Offline Files/CSC for all users on the system and users will see everything greyed out in the Offline Files tab. Snapshot is shown below.





    And the folders which were made offline available before this registry change will no longer be available offline.

    When offline files is disabled this way, even administrators can't enable offline files through Folder options -> Offline Files tab. Though administrators can select 'Enable Offline Files' check button, they get the error "Offline Files cannot be enabled. The system cannot find the path specified" while trying to apply the changes. A snapshot is shown below.


    Vista / Windows 7

    In Vista and Windows 7 offline files also has a service running in the system. Stopping this service will disable offline files feature on the system and this does not require a reboot. But when the system is rebooted offline files will be enabled again. To disable offline files feature permanently on the system do the following.

    • Open registry editor by executing Regedit from Run window.(Windows + R Shortcut)
    • Say Yes in the User Account Control confirmation window.
    • Go to the node HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\CSC
    • From the list of registry values displayed in the right side pane, change the data in the registry value Start to 4.
    • Close registry editor and reboot  the machine.

    Disable Logon Logoff Synchronization

    | 3 comments ]

    Some users complain that Client Side Cache(CSC or Offline Files) is slowing down logon and logoff as it tries to synchronize all the locally cached files with the server ones. The default synchronization does quick sync which means that only the files that have been changed locally will be synced to the server. But if you are seeing delayed logon/logoff then it could be because a Full sync is being performed which means that all the files are being synced in both the ways and if there are any new files on the server share those files also get copied to the local cache during full sync. This consumes time and will delay user's login and logoff actions. This full sync can be disabled as explained below.  It looks like Full sync during logon and logoff is supported by Windows XP but not on Vista and Windows 7.  Hence Vista and Windows 7 does not have these settings.

    • Open My Computer 
    • Click on Tools in the menu bar
    • Select Folder options
    • Click on Offline files tab
    • Unselect the check boxes "Synchronize all offline files when logging on" and "Synchronize all offline files before logging off".




    Alternatively we can also disable logon synchronization through registry keys also. The details are given below.

    For disabling logon synchronization at system level set the following registry value to 0. (If the registry value does not exist already you can create it by Right click -> New -> REG_DWORD)

    SyncAtLogon
    Type: REG_DWORD
    Path: HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\NetCache

    For disabling logon synchronization at user level set the following registry value to 0.

    SyncAtLogon
    Type: REG_DWORD
    Path: HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\NetCache


    For disabling logoff synchronization at system level set the following registry value to 0.

    SyncAtLogoff
    Type: REG_DWORD
    Path: HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\NetCache

    For disabling logon synchronization at user level set the following registry value to 0.

    SyncAtLogoff
    Type: REG_DWORD
    Path: HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\NetCache

    offlinefiles SlowLinkSpeed registry key

    | 1 comments ]

    Offline files provides a configurable setting called Slow Link policy, which, if enabled, will reduce the network traffic between client and server. Suppose you are working from home and are connected to your office network. If your network connection is very slow, the time CSC takes to synchronize the local cache with the server files will be huge. In such cases, you might want to disable the synchronization and just work with local copies. Though you can disconnect your machine from network and switch to offline mode intentionally, other applications which needs to access network will have problem. In such cases, you can configure slow link policy such that if the network speed falls below a configured value, offline files treats the share as offline and does not perform cache synchronization.

    At domain level we can configure slow link policy using group policy object editor. For more information please refer to the post Configure Slow link group policy.

    To enable the same at system level or user level there is no direct user interface provision. But we can do this by editing registry key. SlowLinkSpeed registry key is the one which can be edited to control slow link speed behavior for offline files. This registry key corresponds to the group policy "Configure slow link speed" in Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Network -> Offline files

    This registry value is present in the following two nodes.

    HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\NetCache
    HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\NetCache 

    Based on whether you want to configure slow link policy for the whole system or for one user you need to use the appropriate registry key from the above. We need to assign the speed level divided by 100 to this DWORD registry value SlowLinkSpeed. For example, to turn to offline mode if the network speed falls below 60 kbps we need to assign 614(60*1024/100) to SlowLinkSpeed registry value. Whenever network speed falls below the configured value, periodic synchronization will not be performed and all the file access requests will be redirected to the local cache. This is like intentionally switching to virtual offline mode even though both the server and the network are up.

    What is mobsync.exe?

    | 0 comments ]

    Mobsync.exe is a synchronization utility which is shipped along with Windows OS. This utility is responsible for synchronizing(syncing) offline files cache and any offline html pages.

    Mobsync.exe can be found in [systemdrive]:\windows\system32 folder. If the sytem drive is C: then it can be found in C:\windows\system32 folder.

    This synchronizing utility can be launched from Run window or from command prompt by executing Mobsync command.

    When launched this application would start with the window shown below.






    As you can see it shows the list of shares made offline available and also any web pages that are viewed in offline mode.  You can configure the sync mechanism of the offline files shares by clicking on the setup.







    Here we can configure whether or not to sync offline files during log on and log off. We can also enable or disable sync for particular connection types. We can also schedule synchronization at specific times by clicking on the scheduled tab in the above window.

    As per my understanding it looks like that Mobsync is involved in the offline files synchronization only during log on, log off and other scheduled times configured in Mobsync setup. When the shares are online, offline files itself takes care of the synchronization and Mobsync is not involved. Mobsync is neither a service nor it runs all the time on the system. It is invoked only during logon and logoff sync or when the user explicitly invokes it by running Mobsync from command prompt or from Run window.

    CSCCMD moveshare

    | 2 comments ]

    CSCCMD  is a client side cache utility which can be used for various Client Side Cache(CSC) management operations. Some of the operations we can perform using this tool are enabling/disabling offline files, pinning files for offline availability, listing the files/folders that are already cached, forcing a share to go offline etc. But all these operations are doable even without csccmd tool. We have UI to enable/disable offline files feature, we can also list the files in the local cache(it's using UI, not in command line though). Apart from these basic operations CSCCMD is also capable of doing some cache management operations for which there is no alternative way. Let's see one such operation.

    Let's say we have pinned a share on machine A for offline availability. Now let's say the share is moved to machine B. But our offline files cache still points to machine A and tries to synchronize local cache by trying to contact machine A which is down. This will cause synchronization failures which we can see in the sync center.

    In such a case one solution is to delete the local cache and mark the share on machine B for offline availability. This requires an additional effort and is not appropriate solution if the user has edited the files which are saved on the local cache but not yet synchronized with the server share. In such a case all the changes written to the local cache will be lost.

    CSCCMD with moveshare switch can be used to solve this problem. This tool can update the local cache to point to the share on machine B and therafter CSC will do the synchronization with the share on machine B.
    If there are any files changed locally, those also will be replicated on the share on machine B. Below is an example to update the cache with the new location of the share.


    To move share from \\machineA\shareA to \\machineB\shareB run the below command.

    csccmd.exe /moveshare:\\machineA\shareA \\machineB\shareB 

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    Recovering offline files cache using CSCCMD.EXE tool

    | 0 comments ]

    This article describes the steps for recovering offline files from the client machine when the server share is inaccessible or no longer exists.

    If the user who made the shares offline can access the machine then recovering the files is pretty easy. Open Explorer from the user's login account, click on Tools in the menu bar, click on Folder options and then offline files tab. Now click on 'View Offline files' tab. It opens Offline Files folder, select all the files, open some other folder on the local drive and paste the files there.

    If the above method does not work then we have this offline files managing tool called CSCCMD.EXE. Using this tool we can restore the files by just running a single command from command line. Let's see how to do it.

    Let's say you want to recover the files to C:\docs directory then we can do this by running the below command

    csccmd.exe /extract /target:c:\docs /recurse 

    If you want to recover files that belong to a particular server and share you can specify that too using /extract switch.

    csccmd.exe /extract:\\server\share /target:c:\docs /recurse


    If you want to extract only the files that are modified locally then you can add /onlymodified switch to the command.


    csccmd.exe /extrace:\\server\share  /target:c:\docs /recurse /onlymodified


    If the offline files metadata or index files get corrupted then csccmd.exe may not work. In that case the only option left out is to recover the files manually as described in How to recover offline files when the cache is corrupted


    Note:

    1. /extract option is not available with CSCCMD.EXE 1.0. It's available only in the latest version i.e CSCCMD.EXE 1.1 . This can be downloaded from http://www.jacksontechnical.com/pubfiles/csccmd_v1.1.zip 
    2. This tools works on XP and Server 2003 only. This is not supported for Vista and Windows 7 operating systems.

    C:\Windows\CSC folder

    | 1 comments ]

    What is C:\Windows\CSC folder? What does it store?

    C:\Windows\CSC folder is the one where Windows keeps the cache of the files and folders for which offline files feature is enabled. Offline feature is present in Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Windows 7 OS editions.

    Windows treats this folder as system file and does not display them in default configuration. To see this folder you need to open Explorer -> Tools -> Folder Options -> View and then select the check button 'Show hidden files/folders' and unselect the one 'Hide protected operating system files'.
     The structure of the folder varies based on the operating system. In Windows XP, CSC folder contains folders named d1, d2, d3, d4, d5, d6, d7 andd8 and also four files namely 0x00000001, 0x00000002 and 0x00000003 and csc1.tmp

    These directories contain the copies of the files of the network share which is offline enabled and the four files store the metadata information about the cached files.

    This CSC folder can be moved to some other location by editing the registry key DatabaseLocation under the following node.
    HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\NetCache


    In Windows Vista and Windows 7 C:\Windows\CSC folder has a different directory structure.


    C:\Windows\CSC has occupied lot of space on my disk and is causing low free space issue. Can I clean up this folder?


    You can delete the files but you need to check first whether any users of the system have any files on the PC which have local changes that are not yet synchronized with the server copies. If not, then you can delete the cache using the methods mentioned in How to delete offline files cache in Windows XP.


    For Vista and Windows 7 see the below post.
    How to delete offline files cache in Vista or Windows 7



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    Offline Files Service

    | 9 comments ]

    In Vista and Widows 7 Offline Files feature works with the help of a service name called 'Offline Files'. This service is introduced in Windows Vista; Windows XP does not have any such service associated with Offline Files.


    What is offline files service? What does it do?

    In my understanding offline files service manages the local cache, invokes periodic synchronization of the cache with server shares and interacts with the offline files driver(CSC.SYS) and other components of offline files to provide offline functionality to the users. Offline files feature provides users access to access network files even if the computer is not connected to the network. It allows them to read/edit files as if they are connected to the server share. Any changes done in offline mode will be automatically synchronized with the server share when the user connects the machine back to the network. If offline files service is not running then offline files feature will not be working on the system. The name identifier for this service is CscService.

    Do I need offline files service? Can I disable offline files service to gain performance? 

    If you are a home user and if your computer is not part of any LAN you can safely disable this service without any second thought. Yes there could be a small performance gain as you will be deleting one process that runs all the time on your system.


    Even if your PC is in LAN, if you are not accessing any network shares then this feature is not useful for you. You can disable offline files service.

    Your PC is in LAN and you access network shares but you will not get into a situation where you need to access the shares in offline mode. In this case also you can go ahead and disable offline files service.

    If your Documents folder is redirected to some network location then offline files feature is enabled for that folder by default. In this case it's advised to keep offline files service enabled on the system.


    If you are a home user but you have another desktop/laotop and you store files on both the systems. Then you can keep offline files enabled and use this service to do auto synchronization of files and folders between the two machines. Read the post Synchronize files between computers to know how to do this.


    What things get affected if offline files service is not running?

    As said above you will not be able to access network shares in offline mode.


    How to disable this service?

    Open Service Management Console by running Services.msc from Run command and then search through the list of services displayed to find offline files service. Right click on offline files service entry and click on Properties.  Select startup type as Disabled. Click OK and close the window.

    Disabling offline files feature on the system will also disable offline files service. See the post Disabling offline files in Windows 7.

    We can control offline files service from command line also.

    To disable offline files service from command line the command is:

    sc config CscService start= disabled

    To stop offline files service from command line

    sc stop CscService

    (or)

    net stop CscService

    To start offline files service from command line

    sc start CscService

    (or)

    net start CscService

    To enable offline files service from command line

    sc config CscService start= auto

    If offline files is disabled, and if you want to start the service first thing you need to do is changing the start type to enabled or manual and then start the service.

    sc config CscService start= auto


    (or)


    sc config CscService start= manual

    After this start offline files service with 'net start CscService' or 'sc start CscService' commands.

    If you have any questions about offline files service please post below in the comments section. I try to respond as quickly as possible to your queries.

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    FormatDatabase registry key

    | 1 comments ]

    We can delete existing Offline files(CSC) cache by modifying FormatDatabase registry value and rebooting the machine. Steps are given below.


    Windows XP/Server 2003

    • create a registry value 'FormatDatabase' of type REG_DWORD under the node \HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\NetCache.
    • Set its value to 1.
    • Reboot the machine
    From command line, you can set FormatDatabase to 1 by running the below command.

    REG ADD HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\NetCache /v FormatDatabase /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

    Note that FormatDatabase registry value is under HKLM node hence modifying it requires administrator privileges.


    Vista / Windows 7

    • create a registry value 'FormatDatabase' of type REG_DWORD(32 bit) under the node HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Csc\Parameters .
    • Set its value to 1.
    • Reboot the machine
    The above registry change can be done from command line by running the below command.

    REG ADD HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Csc\Parameters /v FormatDatabase /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f


    In Windows 7 or Vista the above command should be run from an elevated administrator command prompt.

    Note that cache will not be deleted with every reboot of the machine as the FormatDatabase value will be deleted from the registry after the first reboot.

    This method deletes everything form the cache and when the system is up and user logs in, if there are any files or folders marked for offline availability, these will be synchronized and cache will be initialized. For example, if My Documents is redirected to a network share, even after setting FormatDatabase to 1 and rebooting the machine you will still see that cache is filled up with the files from My Documents folder.

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    Disable offline files for redirected folders

    | 1 comments ]

    Windows enables users to redirect some of the user folders like My Documents, My pictures, My applications etc to network shares. Offline files is, by default, enabled for redirected folders. We do not need to explicitly mark them for offline availability. So when you redirect your My Documents folder to some network share and even if the server goes down you still would be able to access the files.

    We can disable this default behavior by editing group policy. Steps for XP are given below. For Windows 7, check out this Disabling offline files for redirected folders in Windows 7

    Open domain group policy object editor.  If you want to configure the local computer's group policy, you can open it by running gpedit.msc from Run.  The changes we do in gpedit.msc apply only on that particular machine where as the changes done in domain group policy object editor apply to all the member machines of the domain.

    • Expand User Configuration node.
    • Similarly expand Administrative templates and Network and then Offline Files
    • Now on the right side pane you can see a list of group policies.
    • Double click on the last policy setting i.e "Do not automatically make redirected folders available offline". Select the "Enabled" check box.
    • Click on "Apply" and then "OK" 

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    Offline Files registry keys in Windows XP

    | 0 comments ]

    DatabaseLocation

    DatabaseLocation is offline files related registry parameter and it exists under the following node.

    HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\NetCache

    This key contains the path of the folder where information about offline files is stored. Note that with the default settings you will not see the above key in the registry. By default offline filesdata is stored in C:\WINDOWS\CSC. If some one wants to change this, then they can create this key and assign it the path of the new location. As this is system wide setting only administrators can set this registry key.


    FormatDatabase

    See FormatDatabase registry key

    EncryptCache

    Encrypt registry key controls the encryption of offline files cache. If it set, cached files will be encrypted. It resides under the following nodes in the registry database.

    HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\NetCache

    HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\NetCache

    The first one is a machine based setting whereas the second one is a user based setting.

    AlwaysPinSubFolders

    We can find this key under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\NetCache and also in HKCU\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\NetCache.

    If this key is set, when a folder is pinned for offline availability all its subfolders are also pinned for offline availability.

    Delete or Reinitialize offline files cache in Windows XP

    | 4 comments ]

    On Windows XP/2003 machines we can delete or reinitialize offline files/CSC cache in any of the following ways.

    Through User Interface :

    • Open My computer from start menu
    • Click on Tools
    • Click on Folder Options
    • Select Offline Files tab
    • Press CTRL+Shift and click on Delete Files.  




    By changing the registry: 

    • Add a new value named FormatDatabase of type REG_DWORD under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\NetCache.
    • Assign 1 to this new registry value.
    From command line, you can do it as below.

    REG ADD HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\NetCache /v FormatDatabase /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

    Cache will not be reset with every reboot of the machine as the FormatDatabase value will be deleted from the registry after the first reboot.


    Note that in both the methods we need to reboot the machine to clear the cache.

    Offline Files Access denied error

    | 2 comments ]

    Though offline files is a very useful feature there are many scenarios where the feature does not work as expected. One such issue is discussed below.

    When you try to mark a file/folder for offline availability(i.e right click the folder and click on 'Make available offline') you may get an error message 'Errors occurred while windows was synchronizing your data' like below. If you click on the details section you will see a detailed error message.


    Here you can read the error that says "Offline Files unable to make available offline on . Access is denied.'

    Offline Files typically generates this error message when the user does not have sufficient permissions for the content on the remote share. There are lots of complaints from users that even though they have read permissions on the share they still get this error. Microsoft says that this issue occurs when the users do not have read permissions to the root folder of the share on which the file/folder resides. The solution to this issue is to grant read permissions to the root folder too. See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/275461 for more information on this.

    I have see this problem occurring most commonly in scenarios where the remote share is not a native windows smb share. For example if the remote server is a linux machine and the share is created using Samba then this issue may occur.


    Other scenarios where offline files gives access denied error:

    You may get access denied error when you are trying to synchronize a drive which is mapped to a Home share of the user and is made available offline. For this issue you can install the fix available at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/837917.   This hotfix applies to XP and XP SP1 versions.
    The other scenario where you may get access denied error is described below.

    Offline Files or CSC tries to synchronize offline files as long as the system is on, not just when the user is logged in. Suppose user A has marked some files for offline cache and logged off. Now user B logs in to the system. Offline Files still tries to synchronize user A's offline files and prompts user B for credentials. If user B does not supply the credentials or even if the supplied credentials does not have access to the share, Offline Files will generate access denied error.

    Fix for this problem is available in this hotfix http://support.microsoft.com/kb/811660. This fix is applicable to XP without any service packs installed. Upgrading to any of the service packs would also install the fix automatically.  If your computer is running on SP1/SP2/SP3 then you already have the fix.

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    Administratively assigned offline files

    | 0 comments ]

    We know that in order to use a network folder in offline mode, we need to mark that folder for offline cache by right clicking and then selecting "Make available offline". But we can have few special folders which does not require this step and are still available offline. These files/folders are called administratively assigned offline files/folders or admin pinned files. The list of these special folders can be configured using group policy as mentioned below.


    • Open domain Group policy object editor. (see Opening GPO editor in Server 2003 )
    • Go to User Configuration -> Administrative templates -> Network -> Offline files
      Now on the right side pane you can see a list of settings.
    • Double click on the setting "Administratively assigned offline files" and Select the "Enabled" check box.



    • Click on "Show..."
    • Add the folders here
    • click OK and Apply
    • Close the window

    We can follow these steps to create admin assigned files at a system level also by configuring the group policy of that particular system (which can be opened by gpedit.msc)

    The list of administratively assigned offline folders is stored in the registry database under the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\NetCache\AssignedOfflineFolders. 

     

      Enable Offline files in Windows 7

      | 12 comments ]

      If you have upgraded from XP to Windows7 you will see lot of changes in offline files feature. It works more robustly when compared to XP.  Below are the steps to enable offline files in Win7.


      • Open Control Panel from Start button.
      • Open Sync center (If you don't see sync center select 'Small Icons' in the View by options in the right upper part of Control Panel window.)



      • Now click on 'Manage offline files' . This will open offline files window where you can configure the operation of offline files.


      • Click on 'Enable Offline Files' button.
      • Restart the system to make offline files active.
      There is a short cut to open Offline Files wizard from Run window. Just run the 'Control C:\windows\system32\cscui.dll' from Run window.

      After enabling offline files you can start marking network shares for offline availability. Just right click the file or folder and click on the option 'Always available offline'. In Windows XP this options is present as 'Make Available offline' but in Windows 7 it's renamed to 'Always available offline'


        Offline files user questions

        [ Saturday, October 23, 2010 | 82 comments ]

        If you have any question for which you have not found satisfying answer in this blog please post it below in the comments box. You can expect a prompt answer from me. Thanks for visiting the blog.

        Disable offline files from command line

        [ Saturday, October 9, 2010 | 0 comments ]

        Windows OS provides GUI to enable or disable offline files feature. For those who want to disable offline files from a batch script, below is a tip how to do this.

        Windows XP/Server 2003

        In Windows XP offline files can be disabled from command line using the below command.

        csccmd.exe /disable

        Csccmd.exe 1.0 version can be downloaded as part of Windows Resource Kit tools which is available at

        http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=9D467A69-57FF-4AE7-96EE-B18C4790CFFD&displaylang=en


        Csccmd 1.1 version which has many options than 1.0 version can be downloaded from the below location.
        Csccmd 1.0 version supports /disable switch.

        http://www.jacksontechnical.com/pubfiles/csccmd_v1.1.zip

        Windows Vista/ Windows 7

        In Windows Vista and Windows 7 we can disable offline files feature by stopping and disabling offline files service. This can be done using SC command as mentioned below.

        To stop offline files service you can run the below command.

        sc stop CscService

        Stopping the offline files service will disable offline files feature for the current session. But once the system reboots offline files will be back to on state. To disable it permanently you need to disable csc service.

        To disable offline files service run the below command from command line:

        sc config CscService start= disabled

        Enable offline files from command line

        | 0 comments ]

        Windows OS provides GUI to enable or disable offline files feature. For those who want to enable offline files from a batch script, below is a tip how to do this.

        Windows XP/Server 2003

        In Windows XP offline files can be enabled from command line using the below command.

        csccmd.exe /enable

        To know where to download this csccmd.exe from read Download csccmd.exe


        Windows Vista/ Windows 7

        In Windows Vista and Windows 7 we can enable offline files feature by enabling offline files service. This can be done using SC command as mentioned below.

        sc config CscService start= auto

        You need to reboot the machine to start using offline files feature.

        Relevant Posts

        Manage XP offline files using csccmd tool
        Move Offline files Cache using cachemov.exe tool


        csccmd.exe download

        [ Thursday, October 7, 2010 | 0 comments ]

        Csccmd.exe tool version 1.1 is not released to the public and can only be obtained by contacting Microsoft product support services. See http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;884739 for more information on this.

        This tool is also available at the below location.

        http://www.jacksontechnical.com/pubfiles/csccmd_v1.1.zip

        However CSCCMD 1.0 was released to public as part of windows server 2003 resource kit tools. It can be downloaded from the below location.

        http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=9D467A69-57FF-4AE7-96EE-B18C4790CFFD&displaylang=en

        For more information on this offline files managing tool read the below article.

        Manage XP offline files using csccmd tool

        Windows7 Home premium Offline files

        | 2 comments ]




        If you are not seeing 'Manage offline files' window in Windows 7 Home edition it's because of the fact that Windows 7 does not support offline files feature. Offline files feature is supported in only the following Windows 7 editions.

        • Windows 7 Ultimate
        • Windows 7 Enterprise
        • Windows 7 Professional.

        The following Windows 7 editions does not support offline files.
        • Windows 7 Home
        • Windows 7 Home Premium
        • Windows 7 Starter

        Disable offline files in windows 7

        | 2 comments ]

        In Windows 7, Offline Files can be disabled as per the below steps.

        • Open Control Panel from Start button.
        • Open Sync center (If you don't see sync center select 'Small Icons' in the View by options in the right upper part of Control Panel window.)



        • Now click on 'Manage offline files' . This will open offline files window where you can configure the operation of offline files.


        • Click on 'Disable Offline Files' button.
        • Restart the system to make the change effective.

        Make network share available offline in Windows 7 and Vista

        [ Wednesday, October 6, 2010 | 0 comments ]


        Offline files feature allows to access network shares even in offline mode i.e even if the machine is not connected to the network. To use this feature first thing we need to do is enabling offline files feature. This can be done as explained in the post How to enable offline files in Vista. and How to enable offline files in Windows 7.

        Once offline files is enabled, we need to mark the share for offline availability. This can be done as explained below.
        1. Open the network share and right click on the share.
        2. Click on 'Always Available Offline'
        Now the whole share will copied to the local offline files folder. Once the share is copied to the local machine, then onwards the share will be available for offline access. We can even edit the files in offline mode. When we connect the machine back to the network all the changes saved locally will be automatically replicated on the server copies too.
        The above applies to Windows Vista and Windows 7. The steps are same for Windows XP too, but the option name to be selected in the step 2 above is "Make available offline". It is renamed as 'Always available offline' in Windows Vista  and Windows 7.

        After we make the network share available offline, we can see green sync icon on the folder. See Offline files sync icon for details on this.


        offline files incorrect function error

        [ Tuesday, October 5, 2010 | 0 comments ]

        When we try to mark a large sized network folder for offline availability Offline files/CSC may give an error saying "Incorrect functioin: Unable to make available offline".  This happens intermittently and the problem may disappear when we try to offline the share again. Microsoft confirmed that it is a bug in offline files and also released a hotfix to resolve this problem. For downloading the fix and for other details see the KB article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/944898/en-us

        Note that you also need to reinitialize the cache after installing the above fix. To know how to do this see the post How to reinitialize/delete offline files cache.

        Note that this article applies to Windows XP/Server 2003 only.

        Disable Client Side Cache

        [ Sunday, October 3, 2010 | 0 comments ]

        Client Side Cache or CSC is just another term for the Offline Files feature in Windows operating systems. It's most widely known as offline files only. But the cache location is named CSC. And this can be located in C:\Windows\CSC.


        We can disable Client Side Cache using the in-build graphical user interface(GUI) or through registry hacks also. Both UI and registry methods are different in Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003 and Vista/Windows 7.

        Based on your OS edition you can refer one of the below articles to disable Client Side Cache.

        Disable Offline Files or Client Side Cache in Windows XP
        Disable Offline Files or Client Side Cache in Windows Vista
        Disable Offline Files or Client Side Cache in Windows 7.

        If you want to disable Client Side Cache with registry hacks then please read How to disable offline files using registry keys


        If you want to disable Client Side Cache for a domain then refer How to disable offline files for all domain users

        Disable offline files in Windows XP

        | 0 comments ]

        In Windows XP we can disable offline files/Client side cache in the following way.
         (Initial steps are pretty much the same as Enabling offline files)

        • Open My computer from start menu
        • Click on Tools from the menu bar. 
        • Now select Folder options and then click on Offline Files tab in the Folder options window
        • Now unselect the check button 'Enable Offline files' and close the windows. 

        To disable offline files using registry hack you can refer the article Disabling offline Files using registry keys