Offline Files Service
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
net stop CscService
To start offline files service from command line
sc start CscService
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
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.