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Offline Files Service

Thursday, December 2, 2010 Leave a Comment

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.

8 comments »

  • Anonymous said:  

    Great article, thanks. Do you know if there is a way to re-map offline files,equivalent to the csccmd /moveshare command that was available in XP? Any help would be appreciated.

  • Techblogger said:  

    In windows 7 we can use wmi apis to rename the cache. see the link below for more info.

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb309187%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

  • Anonymous said:  

    Hi, great blog.
    Is there a way to have offline files in win 7 prompt for manual sync at logon and logoff ?

  • Anonymous said:  

    hi. great blog, and very informative. i have a scenario that i could really use help with. i use CAD software and have files on my laptop and my office computer, but do not have a SBS server just a small peer to peer network (3 computers). If i work at home, can i use W7 offline files to sync over an RDC connection either automatically or manually? And would it ONLY the files that have been changed as the data transfer could be huge? thanks in advance for your help, Stu

  • Techblogger said:  

    Offline files uses Windows file sharing i.e SMB. To make offline files sync should be able to access a folder of the remote computer(folders like \\remotepc\share). This is possible if your laptop and office computer are connected to same network(Even peer to peer will work). Connecting through VPN should also be fine. If this is not the case then offline files won't sync. RDC connection can be established even if they are not in the same network. But the same is not true for offline files. As said above both the computers should be in the same network (either the normal LAN or VPN).

    And another thing, offline files does not have any coordination with RDC. Both are independent features.

  • Anonymous said:  

    Great blog, thanks! I recently come across an offline file service issue with one of the staff's Win 7 Pro laptop. Every time the laptop reboots, the offline file service will start and then stop within 10 seconds. And the start type will change from Automatic to Manual by itself. I try to change it back to Automatic and start the service. It then repeat the same issue after reboot. Not sure what causes the problem? Please help.

  • hubertkv said:  

    Also for windows 7 Home Premium?

  • Anonymous said:  

    Windows 7 Home editions do not have CSC.

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