User comments about offline files


This is a catch-all post for user comments and questions about offline files, aka client-side caching. I’m turning off comments on all my previous posts in the Offline Files category, and redirecting readers here instead. Hopefully this will cut down on all the duplicate answers :) As I’ve said before, don’t email me your questions – post them here instead. Wait, no, don’t post right away – first read through the comments in the previous posts! Your question has probably been answered before…

Comments (141)

  1. msuwigwam says:

    I had to perfom a fresh install of XP Pro becuase my XP would not boot (even to safe mode). When it stoped booting, I was away from the office (network shares) that the offline folder was syncronizing to (My Documents), therefore I have modified docs in an archived "c:windowscsc" folder that never got a chance to sync.

    I read a past post explaining to use the csccmd tool with the /extract switch to make a backup copy of the CSC folder readable… however the /extract swith has a sytax of "/EXTRACT[:<\servershare[path]>] /TARGET:<path> [/RECURSE] [/ONLYMODIFIED][/STOPONERROR]"… so I am not for sure how to get that to work with a backup copy of  a CSC folder…

    I need to recover these offline files into real documents so that I can resync them to the network share. I thought you might be able to use the CSCCMD tool, but if so, I don’t know how to. Can you find me a way to get this offline file storage CSC folder back into real documents?

    I have been working with Microsoft support, but they seem pretty clueless.

    thanks!

  2. jonathanh says:

    *If* this was a normal situation, and you wanted to extract files from the CSC folder, you could say something like

    mkdir c:recoveredfiles

    csccmd /extract:\myservermyshare  /target:c:recoveredfiles  /recurse /onlymodified

    This extract copies of all the documents on \myservershare that you’ve modified while offline, and puts them into c:recoveredfiles

    But this definitely isn’t a normal situation, since you reinstalled XP. You could try copying the saved state of the CSC folder back onto windowscsc and then running csccmd as above, but I’m not sure what the chances of success are – sorry

  3. Matt Wilson says:

    Hello there, I’m a user support specialist at an upstate NY college and I have just applied some registry changes to allow users’ to synchronize their favorites in IE so they can access them from any unit on campus. Recently one of my users received an error message during logoff and I wondered if there is a registry change I can make to prohibit sync at logoff?

  4. Peter B. says:

    Help!

    No one can seem to give me an answer on this, so I am trying everywhere.  In a test environment I have a Samba server and Win2K client.  I want to make the My Documents folder available offline.  But, when I do this… everything syncs fine… I can access files fine… I just can not rename a file.  Everytime I try to rename a file, Windows tells me that the folder that I am currently in does not exist and do I want to create it.  Of course it exists, I am in it now and clicking Yes does nothing and clicking No does the same.  Can anyone point me in the right direction?

    Thanks!  -Cheers, Peter.

  5. Bart Edson says:

    I have Group Policy automatically redirect all network users’ My Documents folders to a common share on a server. The problem I’m running in to is that enabling this redirection also enables offline files. I do not want offline files enabled. Is there a different Group Policy setting that turns *disables* Offline Files, while still allowing for the redirection of the My Documents folder?

    Thanks,

    Bart

  6. burfot says:

    I am lost for ideas, so any help here will be appreciated.

    I have been using offline files, with great success, for some months now.

    Recently however, a strange thing has started; whenever I update an offline file, it "looses" it’s offline status. Ie, you can right click the file, and it’s no longer marked as available offline, or pinned. It does not matter if you open the file directly on the share, or from the "Offline files folder", the same thing happens. The updates are not lost, they do in fact get written, but it is like it’s saying "OK, your update is now written, so let’s remove the offline flag".

    Any ideas?

  7. Mike says:

    I have been using offline files for a while and all has been good.  Then my server that stored these files crashed and I have moved all files to another server without any issue.  All my systems though are still trying to connect to the server that no longer exists.  How can I stop offline files from pointing to a server that no longer exists?  I saw this question posed on this thread or one of your other threads, but I never saw the answer.  Can anyone help with this?

  8. Shawn Egan says:

    I have had a problem develop on three user’s computers over the past few weeks.  Throughout the day offline files will dtate that it doesn’t have a connection to the server and disallows access to any files.  

    If they click the syncronize button all will work fine for a minute until the process repeats itself.

    I have tried several fixes including clearing the cache and applying KB884020, but nothing has worked.

    We have been running this policy for years without issue until now.  All of the clients are XP Pro SP2 and the domain and server are windows 2000.  

    Any help would be deeply appreciated.

  9. qwer1304 says:

    Offline Files & VPN

    =============

    I have the following problem with using Offline Files & VPN. I saw this problem mentioned on the Net, but no solution.

    Configuration:

    a.Client:

    1.Win XP Pro, SP2, all latest fixes

    2.CheckPoint SecuRemote VPN

    b.Server

    3.Win 2003, all latest fixes

    I have drive U mapped to \serverusersuser.X.

    Directory U:My Documents is made available for offline access.

    My Documents is redirected to U:My Documents.

    There’s directory U:Work that is NOT available for offline access.

    At work, everything works fine and before leaving I sync the offline folder.

    At home, I login OFFLINE (using cached credentials), since VPN is not available yet. Offline files are available in cached mode.

    I fire up VPN and logon onto the FW.

    Drive U: becomes available (I can browse to U:Work), but offline folders are OFFLINE (the icon says Offline Files – Computer(s) offline).

    Trying to synchronize manually fails as follows:

    After some time, a login prompt appears.

    If I enter my login info, it fails with the message:

    "Offline Files (server name): Unable to connect to ‘share’. Multiple connections to a server or shared resource by the same user, using more than one user name, are not allowed. Disconnect all previous connections to the server or shared resource and try again."

    If I reverse the order, i.e. I logon onto VPN BEFORE Windows logon, Offline Folders are online.

    Any ideas?

  10. Mat Coomber says:

    You look like the sort of chap who can fix my problem.  I have a number

    of users who are unable to use offline file synchronization.  When you

    click on TOOLS –> FOLDER OPTIONS, the OFFLINE FILES tabs is not there.

    Your thoughts on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

  11. Hans Hinnekint says:

    Hello,

    After extensove testing, I found the best way to work with offline files is NOT to use the slow link detection.

    As this is a feature that checks the throughput to the servers from which we made files available, this has a side effect that group-shares (which are not to be taken offline) can not be accessed wehenever the systems think our connection is to slow.

    The current way we handle this is to use a batch-script that allows a user to put himself offline.

    Kind regards.

    Hans

    this is the script (it can be improved upon):

    @rem COMMENT: Work Offline with My Documents and other Offline Files

    @rem=========================================================================

    @echo off

    cls

    rem ————————————————————————-

    if not exist csccmd.exe goto :Noccssmd

    rem ————————————————————————-

    echo Enumerating cached shares on machine

    csccmd /enum | findstr /i \ > %temp%%computername%_enum.txt

    if not errorlevel 0 goto :NoEnum

    echo Done Enumerating shares

    echo.

    rem ————————————————————————-

    echo Disconnecting all cached shares

    for /f %%a in (%temp%%computername%_enum.txt) do csccmd /disconnect:%%a

    if not errorlevel 0 goto :NoDisconnect

    echo Done Disconnecting Shares

    echo.

    goto :end

    rem ————————————————————————-

    :Noccssmd

    echo csccmd Executable not found

    echo.

    Pause

    goto :Done

    rem ————————————————————————-

    :NoEnum

    echo Error Disconnecting Shares

    echo.

    goto :Done

    rem ————————————————————————-

    :NoDisconnect

    echo Error Disconnecting Shares

    echo.

    goto :Done

    rem ————————————————————————-

    :end

    echo You are Offline

    rem ————————————————————————-

    :Done

  12. Chris Marsters says:

    I have a desktop running xp on a 2003 server, the offline folders and files works fine. But I also have a laptop also running xp on the same network logged in as the same user that syncronises the whole drive from root level. The make available offline is greyed out so I cant change any thing. If I disable offline files they all go away, but as soon as I enable offline files it picks up all the folders on that drive. Other drives seem not to be affected, I am also the administrator. I have set others up and they all work fine.

    Have you seen any thing like this.

  13. Jeffrey Goldman says:

    We’ve started to see a problem where XP laptop desktop icons stored on the H drive appear when first logging on.  Sometime after a synchronization (after the computer has been used offline) the icons will disappear.  Killing explorer.exe via task manager and then launching explorer.exe will restore the icons.  I’ve seen a earlier post about a freeware utility and will try it.  Can anyone shed some light onto what is going on here?

  14. Travis Grund says:

    My comment is in regards to a following earlier comment;

    # re: Debugging Problems With Offline Files

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005 4:52 PM by Bill Schablowsky

    There is a hotfix available from Microsoft that will fix the problem with not being able to save large powerpoints while offline with Windows XP. You will need to call Microsoft and refer to the hot fix for KB870593. The case number SRX050720601405 refers to the problem and the solution.

    The hotfix and case number dont seem to exist. Has anyone else succesfully found / applied this hotfix?

  15. I have my entire My Documents folder offline on my laptop. For one subfolder, I get the error message when syncing "The system is currently running with the last known good configuration". Any idea why I get this only for ONE of many folders?

    Thanks,

    Patrick Schmid

  16. Hans Hinnekint says:

    Hello Jeffrey,

    I beieve this is due to how synchronization behaves: when offline files are being synchronized, all connections to the server are closed.

    If your Icons reside on the same physical server where your H: drive and (redirected?) Offline files are stored, the evens you describe, will occur.

  17. Brent McKnight says:

    I recently started using a machine that had apparently been set up with some folders checked as "Make Available Offline".

    Not knowing any better, I thought I don’t need to have that checked, and then all of my files within that folder disappeared.  I cannot find them on the machine at all.

    Can anyone provide any thoughts and assistance?

    Brent

  18. Suresh says:

    You mentioned "hell" associated with Roaming Profiles. Why is this? I’ve never found there to be too much problems with Roaming Profiles, apart from recently when I tried "caching" mode with Exchange + roaming profiles.

    It seems to be that Folder Re-direction is just another method of Roaming Profiles?

    Regards

  19. jonathanh says:

    Suresh – I remember it as being hellish because I was using it on several computers at the same time. In this situation it’s "last writer wins", so whichever computer I logged out of _last_ would be my default profile. And it would quite happily overwrite or delete any information in the profiles used by other computers. So I had to be _very_ careful about the order in which I logged in and out of computers, what I did with each profile, etc.

    The difference in this case is that Folder Redirection implements _shared access_ to state stored on a single server, whereas Roaming Profiles implements _exclusive access_ to state that is pushed down to the client.

  20. jonathanh says:

    Brent – Have you checked the obvious, i.e. that those files aren’t actually hosted on your machine, but are instead on a remote server?

  21. Fredrik says:

    Hi,

    I wounder if there is any maximum amount (total size, number of files and so on) that offline files can handle? I have a user that have about 4,5 Gb and 20 000 files that he synchronizes. Sometimes it works fine but often does he have problems with the synchronize.

    /Fredrik

  22. Vadim says:

    I wonder if this basic thing was ever discussed in debth – I could not find a clear explanation anywhere so far. I mean how exactly Offline Files work ( just from archetectural point of view)? TO be more specific here is an example what and why can be important to understand:

    Laptop user opened some network files (while connected to LAN network) from the share that is marked "Automatically …cache …documents..,etc." under the "Offline Settings" on the server. Now these files are cached locally. He then goes away and after a while connects to the network at remote location that is connected to the original server over slow link (say 256k).  Now he wants to work with those files. Here is a question:

     " when he opens this file is this file is accessed smartly from the cache or dumb from the network server?"

    With a number of settings for Offline Files the vague mentioning of the behavior in Microsoft documentation is close to useless.

    Most Microsoft records (and by non-Microsoft specialists like Mark Minasi) one way or another confirm that this file will be accessed locally after short comparison of the cached file and network file. According to them that will greatly increase access speed for these files. SYnchronization will occur on the background (???) and when you log off or force it.

    ANYBODY HERE  – WHAT IS TRUE? How indeed it works?

    In my experience it is not the case – to open a 200k Excel file (that was cached) takes about 40 sec with slow link connection as opposed to 3 sec when opened directly from local drive. That seems contradict most of the documents and shows that there really NO any performance gain because system is dumb enough to always access network when it is awailable even if there is a local cached version of the file.

    Checking or unchecking ‘Optimize for performance’ checkbox on the share "Offline settings" does not make any difference (you would think that should instruct XP not to go to the network for cached files).

    Using group policy to force the XP to consider connection as ‘slow’ does not make any difference either.

    SO WHAT IS IT?  IS THERE ANY WAY TO FORCE XP TO ALWAYS TRY TO OPEN LOCAL FILE FIRST? (Short of forcing it to go offline – that is what we do now to be able to work with files, ridiculous as it might look).

    Also, Microsoft says that with Quick Sync files are just verified to be "complete" as opposed to "fully syncronized" with Full Sync. Could Microsoft or anybody, for the matter, clarify what exaclty is ‘complete’ or ‘incomplete’ file and how it is different from syncronized file?

  23. jonathanh says:

    Fredrik – there’s no limit on the number of files in the offline cache, and no limit on the total size of a folder that’s explicitly "made available offline". However, there’s a 2GB limit on the total size of files that are temporarily cached (from a share that’s marked for automatic caching).

  24. jonathanh says:

    Vadim – I’m not aware of any published papers on exactly how offline files work.

    Your explanation of what happens when you connect over a slow link is the "expected" behavior. Yes, it’s painful. I don’t know of any Microsoft documents that say the opposite – could you give URLs?

    Search through my previous blog entries for "slow link" to find more discussion of this.

  25. Vadim says:

    Thanks, Jonathanh. I do not have a link in hand for a specific Microsoft article saying that offline files should behave different from what I experience. As I said there are just vague mentions but those are contradictory. However, here is simply a quote from onlne help for Offline Settings on Win2003 server:

    "If you select the Optimized for performance check box, all programs will be automatically cached so that they can be run locally.  This option is especially useful for file servers that host applications,  because it reduces network traffic and improves server scalability".

    Add to it a big chapter in Mark Minasi book on Server 2003 dedicated to Offline FIles where he simply states that improving network performance (because of local access to the cached file even when LAN is available) is a second major benefit of the Offline Files.

    So it was quite "unexpected" to me when I saw cached file taking ~1 min to open.

    The most interesting thing, though, is that after file is cached it does take a little bit less time (~15%) to open than when this file is not cached. ?????.  All my tests generally show that if network is available the file seems to be accessed from the server, but why then it is still a little faster???

    I can take it either way but what is really frustrating when think about it is that I spend probably about 60% of my workng time doing reverse engineering instead of having a clear technical documentation on how exactly the system works.

    Where are those IBM days when every computer came with a library describing all the details of the system, graphs and plots, etc.

  26. Sean McPartlin says:

    About:

    My comment is in regards to a following earlier comment;

    # re: Debugging Problems With Offline Files

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005 4:52 PM by Bill Schablowsky

    There is a hotfix available from Microsoft that will fix the problem with not being able to save large powerpoints while offline with Windows XP. You will need to call Microsoft and refer to the hot fix for KB870593. The case number SRX050720601405 refers to the problem and the solution.

    The hotfix and case number dont seem to exist. Has anyone else succesfully found / applied this hotfix?

    ————————————————————————

    Anyway I did have to call about this issue:

    I called Microsofts support line gave them the info.  It’s an old KB# and they had a hard time finding it.  But They gave me a case # srx060605602291

    They send me the fix.  I hope it works.

  27. M Donohue says:

    I’m currently trying to save one of my techs who has created a real mess with offline files. He’s lost *all* of our CFO’s documents – as you can imagine, this isn’t good. I won’t go into the details of how he did this, as I’m not 100% sure how he did.

    To cut to the chase, the files still exist in the C:WindowsCSC folder, if you find one you know is an .xls and rename it, you can open it. So the files are there and are intact.

    However the cscsniff.exe tool (I got from PS) shows that the CSC database is empty.

    So I have about 800 MB of files in the C:WindowsCSC folder with random numeric names and no extensions. Directories called D1, D2, etc.

    Does anyone know of a tool that can recreate the CSC database from the contents of the C:WindowsCSC folder?

    The CFO will likely have his head on a platter if we can’t recover these, and he’s a good guy. I don’t want to see him lose his job over this.

    Any help is greatly appreciated!

  28. Vadim says:

    Donohue, would not csccmd (version 1.1) with an option ‘/extract " do what you want? See article 884739 on Microsoft.  But if cscsniff does not see anything that looks bad. The databse might be corrupt.

    Overall, reading all the comments, questions and answers on Offline Files feature and after my own extensive research, testing and retesting I want to say (being a little sore at the moment on the whole thing) that Offline Files spells troubles. Same as roaming profiles.

    Yes, it works. Sometimes. In a very special, limited, ‘vanilla’ environment.  As many things in a Microsoft OS, starting with Windows 95 and ending with latest version. In most other, enterprise environment, if you want something more than just basic networking (available apparently in any other OS) you would use third party software. Offline Files is just point in case. It’s not only poor documented (otherwise what would we all do here?) it is not very thoroghly designed and is really buggy.

    I am currenlty looking for third party software to provide me with syncs (automatic and trouble free, mind you) for number of users in sattelite offices who connect to central office over relatevely slow links (125 – 400k).

    I did everything I could to make Offlline Files work for them (creating inserted logon scripts for them, using mobsync with undocumented (!) switches, csccmd, etc.) – it is would not work either because there is another known or unknown bug or it simply was not designed to work in a most useful way.

    I spent numerous hours trying to find a way to make it work (just because I am stubborn). Waste of time. I am using it now for a limited number of laptop users who can manually sync their files and aware of dangers and I’m not happy looking forward to the time when I have to move their shares or they get their drives full, etc.  And what to I do with the users who have limited space on c: drive? Moving cache to another drive is not possible by itself and even ‘cachemov’ utility is not available anymore.

    Amount of troubles and headaches with this feature I think outweight the benefits.

    ANYBODY, any pointers to a good third party software that provides a robust files sync capability?

  29. MRIS says:

    OK, here’s a simple problem I’m hoping someone can help me with.

    When our laptop users are working offline from the network, login to the laptop and try to create a new file in their My Documents, it says "unable to create file" "Access is Denied".

    If they connect the LAN cable and allow the computer to go online, they can then make new files there just fine.

    If they pull the LAN cable and allow the computer to drop to offline, they can still make new files just fine.

    If they then reboot and log back in albeit still offline, it’s back to stage 1, access is denied.

    No other problems with synchronising etc.

    Background info:

    XP SP2 clients, 2003 servers/domain

    My Documents (as well as all other folders) have been redirected to relevant sections of UNC path within a single domain based DFS namespace. eg:  \domaindfsUsers…

    Roaming profiles are used.

  30. Joseph Migliore says:

    In response to Bart Edson’s post, a little late, but:

    There is an GPO option under ‘User Configuration -> Admin. Templates -> Network -> Offline Files -> Do not automatically make redirected folders available offline’ which should fix you up.

    >>>

    I am experiencing an issue with W2K3 Server R2 DFS / Offline files / My Documents re-direction as follows:

    – I have two W2K3 Servers, version R2 installed and DFS enabled with several DFS folder targets

    – All users have their My Documents folder re-directed to \<DFSroot>Users%username%, which has folder targets and synchronization on both DFS servers

    – All laptop users have Offline Files enabled for the DFS folder target of their ‘My Documents’

    The issue I am experiencing is that, when the laptop users Offline Synchronization happens, occasionally their entire Users folder gets deleted from the DFS servers.  I do not experience this issue if I disable referrals to one of the folder targets in DFS.

    I have opened a support case with M$ and have received horrible support from them, in most cases I know more about DFS than their engineers do (ahhh!!).  Before enabling DFS to work with our existing My Docs re-direction and Offline Files, I confirmed that these three technologies are compatible.   The only place I could find this compatibility matrix was buried at the FAQ: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/techinfo/overview/dfsfaq.mspx#E6B.

    Anyone had any experience with this issue?

    Thanks

    -Joe

  31. M Donohue says:

    Vadim,

    No, unfortunately the csccmd (version 1.1) with an option ‘/extract " won’t do it. csccmd seems to rely on the database itself. And as mentioned earlier, cscsniff is convinced that the database is empty. The database is the part that is missing in this case.

    I’ve managed to recover about 60% of our CFO’s documents from his email archive, but unfortunately, the most current, largest documents appear to be corrupted in the CSC folder. So the final upshot is that 100’s of hours of work have been lost.

    I’ve even called MS and paid PS to help us. They pretty much have been useless as well.  :(

    I agree with your general statement. A word to the wise folks, offline files are a recipie for disaster as long as poor documentation and shaky design are the norm…

  32. Paul Gill says:

    Have read all the comments about Offline files both above and in all links that brough me here.  My problem is that my new laptop is ignoring the Group Policy settings.  I want to use .mdb files offline, and have taken all the steps in Group Policy to allow this.  Still I cannot synch them.  In order to error check, I changed the for files not cached to "*.doc" but still all doc files were cached and *.mdb were not.  My previous laptop, using the same User Account etc worked fine, so I know it is not a server problem.  Any clues out there as to why my Group Policy is being ignored….. Running Windows XP SP2

  33. Joe Carroll says:

    Paul:  I sat here most of the day trying to identify why a group policy wasn’t being applied to a particular machine..  

    I said that I checked three times..  however..  when I placed the machine into the correct OU with the policy enforced it started working..    I had another machine with a similiar name in that OU that was throwing me off.

  34. N says:

    Vadim, your description of the problem regarding multi-site Offline Files/Folder Redirection is perfect. I am having exactly the same problem. The thing that particularly baffles me is how the slow-link GPO setting seems to simply not work. We have relatively good connectivity between sites (full T1) but users have enormous amounts of data in their My Documents folders (some as much as 15GB) and large files as well. I have set the slow-link threshold to twice that speed, and it still fails to go offline.

    Some of this, I have inherited so I am trying to figure out how to restructure offline files and folder redirection. I am definately open to third-party software. Roughly 2/3 of my users are laptop folks who seem not to be able to live without every single byte they have ever created :-)

    Any thoughts?

  35. Vadim says:

    N.,  the slow link detection actually worked for me (after applying hot fixes and manually modifying registry on client wkns), but the problem is that then my remote office works offline in relation to other servers in the main office (that do not require and can not be used in offline mode) and it’s ‘sticky’, that is I could not disable it even when I removed registry keys that I modified to make it work. So I keep away from using it.

    So I came to the solution of having MyDocs on the central office server, forced full synchronization on logofflogon for these folders (with policy) and after couple of days (to insure that users got their local cache fully synced) gave users a ‘Turbo’ button – which is a short script that put the specific server in offline mode (the idea offered by Hans Hinnekint earlier in this blog). Users are told to use this button if they feel their files are too slow to open. For the shared files, though, in every office there is a server that keeps them, so all users have a shortcut (in ‘All users’ profile) to shared data that they are accessing on the local server. And this data are replicating transparently for the users to the main office server.

    Not an ideal solution but acceptable for now and so far works fine.

    There is a third party software that does this file syncing over WANs exactly the way it should work but the cost is close to prohibitive – ~$3500 per remote office (still requires local server). Guess what would be my choice if we have about 40 remote offices and I can get by with the free (short of headaches) solution that I just described.

    Microsoft design team representative told me that in Vista the Offline Sync solution is completely redesigned and should do approximately what I want it to do. I would not hold my breath having long experience with Microsoft products (honestly, any one ‘built in’ feature that does not require third party software to work in a real world enterprise environment?) but who knows, may be together with new bugs we’ll get some workable solution :-).

  36. Calvin says:

    Vadim, I am trying to use the CSCCMD /Disconnect to force servers offline, however I am getting inconsistant results…

    I have two servers… one works & the other doesn’t… Here’s the interesting part:

    Both servers are nearly identical, & in the same location / subnet(s). In fact they are two halves of the same cluster setup in an active – active arrangement! Each one is primary for different shares, however all shares are on the same SAN! The only difference I can see is that the servershare that doesn’t work is also running Veritas Quota Manager…

    Interesting part… Part 2:

    unpatched Win XP SP1 cilents work…

    patched Win XP SP1 Clients do not!!!

    SP1 clients upgraded to SP2 do not!!!

    Ground up SP2 clients Work!!!

    HELP!!

  37. Darren Dunham says:

    I’ve got a laptop that has been using offline files for a while.  Many months ago we moved a server.  Before I knew about csccmd, I managed to remove all the old offline content and sync to the new server.  Fine.

    Last week, the old server name started showing up in the UI (OLD_SERVER  Unavailable for reconnect).

    When I go through the "offline files" folder, all the files in there show the correct new server as the one they should sync to (and apparantly do).  Just to try it, I used csccmd /moveshare to try to move from the old server to the new one.  That didn’t seem to make any difference.

    So I don’t know how to get rid of the tray icon and the constant attempt to sync.  The actual data appears to be good, I just have this phantom reference to an old server that I can’t track down.

    I don’t even need any data associated with it, just to get rid of the sync association.  Any ideas?



    Darren

  38. Frode D says:

    Hi, I have read all I could find on the Web about Offline files, and your blog is one of the more useful :)

    The "csccmd /disconnect" option solved most of my problem. Version 1.1 of this tool works on my XP SP2 machine.

    Unfortunately one problem remain: How can you put Offline files in Online status again using batch or policy settings ?

    The computer stays offline, even when you log off, restart and log on again. Have also tried "mobsync /logoff" and "mobsync /logon" from batch and with the "synchronize ALL files" setting in "ToolsFolder optionsOffline files" enabled to ensure a full sync rather than a quick sync. While initiating a sync in disconnected mode, the syncronisation starts, but ends shortly without doing anything. As long as computer is online is all works fine.

    The only way I can get the computer online again is the manual way : If you click the icon in system tray, then you will get the question to go online again, and if answered yes then computer is put online and synchronized.

    While online "Mobsync /logon" and "mobsync /logoff" now works fine again.

    Is there a hidden switch somewhere ? and if so could anyone point me in the correct direction …

  39. Macker says:

    I am having a serious problem with a client’s Offline Files. I also posted this in the Microsoft SBS Forum (see link below). Unfortunately, the issue is still not resolved.

    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/community/newsgroups/dgbrowser/en-us/default.mspx?dg=microsoft.public.windows.server.sbs&mid=7cd5dde4-5766-4609-b03f-296481e37861

    I never believed the Offline Files horror stories I would read on forums from other system admins – until now. (Apologies for not taking "you" seriously). I may have lost a client today…

    (Please excuse the length of this post, but I want to try and give as much information as possible)

    Here is the infrastructure/scenario:

    – SBS 2003

    – My Documents Redirection enabled

    – My Documents made "Available Offline"

    – Size Limit on server set to 5GB (rather than default 1GB limit)

    – Client laptop: Dell Latitude, XP Pro SP2

    Here is a basic overview of what is happening:

    – STARTING POINT (before any problems):

    – The client’s My Documents are fully synched and available offline – no problems.

    – The client has no problems for two years – his My Documents are always available offline.

    – Everyone is happy.

    – The size of his "My Documents" before the problems started, is about 4.2GB

    – PROBLEMS:

    – One evening (6 months ago) I get a call: The client is offline, and the most of the contents of his My Documents are GONE.

    – I say "most", because about ten files (out of 2,000+) are available. They are the files he most recently worked on. They are available at the end of the tree, eg:

    My DocumentsSchool FilesSchool 2005Science ClassScienceProject1.doc

    AND

    My DocumentsSchool FilesSchool 2006Civics ClassCivicsProject1.doc

    However, in the "Science Class" or "Civics Class" folders, there should be hundreds of files, not just the ScienceProject1.doc and CivicsProject1.doc files. Additionally, there should be (lots of) files in the folders above these. eg: the "School 2006" folder should also have hundreds of files in it, as well as other folders. They are all missing.

    ATTEMPTED FIXES:

    FIRST TIME:

    The first time this happened (at 11PM at night, when he had a flight at 6AM):

    – I drove to his house, picked up his laptop, and drove to his office where the server lives.

    – I first of all looked on the server, and sure enough his "missing" files were all there under his appropriate user folder on the server.

    – Next, I hooked up the laptop, and logged onto the network as the user.

    – I DID NOT SYNCHRONIZE (YET)

    – I opened up his My Documents, and sure enough, there were his files – all WITHOUT the blue synchronization arrows next to them. The only ones that DID have the arrows, were the ones mentioned above (ScienceProject1.doc, CivicsProject1.doc, etc.)

    – I then performed a full synchronization. This took about three hours, over a 100mbps network. It appeared to have to rebuilt the offline cache from scratch.

    – Once the synchronization was complete, I did another synchronization "just to be sure." This time it ran like a normal sync, and took about a minute.

    – I then powered down the laptop, disconnected the network cable, and rebooted in offline mode. All the files were now there – everything seemed fine.

    – I returned the laptop to the client (at about 4AM).

    SECOND TIME:

    My client worked away merrily for about a week, then disaster struck again: Exact same symptoms – only about the most recent 7 to 10 files he had been

    working on, were available. Again, the tree structure above the 7 to 10 files was intact, but there was nothing else in the folders.

    This time (about 1PM in the afternoon), he was again about to leave for the weekend at 8PM.

    – I rendevouzed with him at his office.

    – I synched up the laptop as before.

    – THEN –

    – I COPIED the contents of his My Documents onto his Desktop.

    – I DELETED the contents of his My Documents

    – I did another sync (of his now empty My Documents)

    – I deleted his Offline Cache (Folder Options, on the Offline Files tab, press CTRL+SHIFT, and then click Delete Files).

    – I did another sync.

    – THEN –

    – I COPIED the (previously copied) My Documents contents, from his desktop, back to his real My Documents.

    – I performed another full sync.

    – I then did another sync (just to be sure), and rebooted.

    – Everything was still there. I synched again.

    – I shut down, rebooted in offline mode.

    – All the files were there. "This is fixed!" I thought.

    THIRD TIME:

    Everything was okay for about a month. Then lightning struck a third time. Again, the exact same problem – only a few files available.

    This time I really went overboard: It is a small office – three users only. (I have a client with FIFTY users, and have never had these problems).

    His assistant (let’s call her "Mary") has a workstation. She sometimes needs access to his files, so sometimes she logs onto her workstation as him (let’s call him "Joe"). There is also a laptop which Mary uses, and sometimes she logs on as Joe on the laptop too. I figured that perhaps there was some conflict between the three machines. I therefore decided to re-image (wipe) ALL THE MACHINES and start afresh.

    – I first of all made a systemwide backup.

    – For added backup, I then burned several DVDs with each user’s My Documents on them.

    – I deleted the contents of the User’s folders on the server.

    – I re-imaged all the machines.

    – I deleted the computer accounts of the old machines (using the proper SBS tools).

    – I joined the "newly minted" computers to the domain (using the proper SBS wizards).

    – I logged on each machine as Administrator on the domain, and added a few extra apps that were not on the image.

    – I then logged on as the respective user who would be using that machine.

    – I copied the contents of the User’s My Docs DVD to their desktop first…

    – Then I COPIED the contents of the desktop folder to their My Documents (thereby repropogating their empty/clean User folder on the server).

    – I then synched up each machine.

    – THIS ALL TOOK A-G-E-S BY THE WAY!!!

    – I then went offline with Joe’s laptop, checked the files were there, etc.

    – Everything was fine.

    – That was back in January.

    FAST FORWARD SEVEN MONTHS…

    FOURTH TIME:

    I really thought that was the end of it. There have been no problems since January. To my horror, I received a call from my client on Monday of this week (today is Wednesday, August 24, 2006). MISSING FILES AGAIN!

    Same problem – exactly.

    I thought there may be some "salvation," as he said he had been "moving a lot of files around." My guess was that he had just moved some files around while in the office, and then forgot to synchronize at the end. He had

    basically moved older folders into a new "Past Years" folder in his My Documents. Nothing wrong with that – you should be able to do that! I guessed he hadn’t synchronized.

    So, back over to his house, and back down to the office…

    – Hooked up the laptop

    – Logged onto the network as Joe.

    – Synched files – took a good while (half-hour on his new 1000 mbps network)

    – Synched again (just to be sure)

    – Shut down.

    – Rebooted in offline mode.

    – All the files were there.

    – Returned the laptop to him.

    FIFTH TIME (TODAY):

    – I get a call from Joe at 6AM. I am asleep. He is at the airport in San Francisco. (We are based in San Francisco).

    – HIS FILES ARE GONE AGAIN!

    – He is flying (via Chicago) to a small town in the East Coast for business.

    – He needs his files.

    – I may lose Joe as a client as a result of this.

    SUMMARY / ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS (POSSIBLE OTHER REASONS):

    This is clearly unacceptable. This is business "make or break" stuff.

    I have a single rule for myself and my employees: I don’t care if you go out and get drunk every night. I don’t care if you prefer to work naked at your desk. I don’t care if you masturbate for an hour each day in the bathroom at

    work. I don’t care if you lose your temper and take a hammer and chisel to a computer (as long as it’s backed up). I really don’t care what you do, as long as…

    *** YOU NEVER EVER EVER E-V-E-R LOSE A CLIENT’S DATA – NEVER. ***

    You will be fired immediately. We can work on your personal problems. We can replace broken equipment. We can get you in a recovery program. We can buy new computers. WE CANNOT BUY NEW DATA. Therefore it must never happen.

    POSSIBILITIES:

    1) The one common thread in all of this, is that this ALWAYS seems to happen when Joe is AWAY from the office: He has all of his files offline and working

    fine. Then, suddenly, they disappear. There is no VPN involved. He is not connecting to the network remotely (except for Outlook via RPC over HTTPS).

    2) THIS MAY BE IMPORTANT: There was a time, that Mary had direct access to Joe’s User folder on the server. He would ocassionally need her to go in and modify a file. However, when I reimaged all the machines (see "Third Time"), I explictly removed her permissions from his folder and restored the folder to it’s default state – and replaced permissions with the proper ones. Maybe that has something to do with it, but I don’t see how? It has been working for seven months without a hitch.

    CAN ANYBODY HELP ME?!!! Thank you.

  40. Tasos says:

    Hi Jonathan.

    We have a problem with activesync where if a remote user modifies a file offline, then reboots the PC and connects their WLAN the PC tries to sync automatically even though they haven’t yet connected VPN.  Slow Link Detection is working well now i have got the patch (KB900387) from Microsoft.  If the user doesn’t modify an offline file then it doesn’t try to sync when connecting WLAN and offline files works well.

    Thanks, Tas.

  41. tcolocas says:

    Sorry, not activesync.  I meant mobsync.

    Tas.

  42. Gareth Barrows says:

    I have a potential problem with offline file synchronisation. In a pilot that I have carried out I have redirected ‘My Documents’ to %homeshare% so that users get straight into their home directories via My Documents. I have then made this available offline by using the ‘administratively assign offline files’ policy setting (I know redirected folders are made available offline by default but thought I would configre the policy just to make sure). I have set it to synch at logoff and logon so that ‘My Documents’ is always the same whether users are on or off the network.
    The pilot has been successful thus far and not thrown up any major problems.
    HOWEVER, we use roaming profiles and the profiles are contained in the user’s home directory. Microsoft have recommended that offline file synchronisation is not enabled on shares that contain user profiles!
    Is it possible to have one folder within the home directory made available offline? (ie not the profile and other data in the home directory?)
    I have tried to do this using the ‘administratively assign offline files’ policy but found that the entire contents of the home directory was still being synched. Tried enabling the ‘do not automatically make redirected folders available offline’ policy but this did not help. Also tried doing a complete CSC reset.
    Anyone have any ideas to get round this? How much trouble is it going to cause me if i do have users synching their home directories that contain their profiles?

  43. fin says:

    Hey there…

    Im a support engineer and have an offline files issue. tbh, im not that familiar with offline files use, so im a bit of a noob to it all really, but here goes:

    This specific user can not use offline files. She can connect to the network share and save to it successfully when online. She can also save to the local PC successfully. When the offline folder attempts to sync it scans the files, then lists them and says "Error – Access is Denied". Its unclear however whether the issue is server or client based. Checked user profile, any group policy that might be enforced, and ownership and rights on her user share. All seems okay. I then deleted her user profile from the machine, tried again, no result.

    Tried the following:

    Gave user local and domain admin rights, sync still failed

    Created a new user based on generic template for the site, still failed.

    The only two known users who can sync onsite happen to be admins, although one of them is only a power user, not domain admin.

    I guess what i really want to know is, is there a log file somewhere that will tell me where the access is denied: is it local, file share or NTFS related?

  44. Warren says:

    Is there anyway to get around your pc loosing its ability to print to network printers that are shared on a network files server when that share goes offline?

  45. dterborg says:

    We have Folder Redirection and Ofline Files in our organization, via Group Policy.  I like the setup, but one issue really bothers me: if a network connection goes down, a user must manually reconnect to the server by double-clicking the System Tray icon when it goes back up.  Isn’t there a way to set Offline files to "automagically" go back online when the server is detected as available again?  My users don’t know what to do when their network connection drops, and I’d rather make it easier if I could than make a "click here, do this" document" (my second choice in case I can’t do the first).

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

  46. Ian Jukes says:

    Is there a way to use Offline Files while attached to a VPN,

    My colleague needs quick access to network files, the VPN is too slow to load files, work on and save back.. so she used to copy files locally to work on and then forget to copy back.

    Offline files would be good,, but needs to still be connected to the VPN at the same time for other applications.

  47. Scott says:

    Hi,

    I’ve just disabled offline files on my laptop and I am still receiving the mobsync.exe program on logon telling me there are no item to synchronise.

    I don’t want this to come up. Can anyone explain to m e why it is still be ing called and how I stop it from happening?

    Thanks in advance

    Scott

  48. David Jade says:

    I have a client who is having the ‘powerpoint hangs when saving large files’ in offline mode when the My Documents folder is redirected. The two comments here from others are about the only references I can find to this problem. The last comment references case # srx060605602291.

    Has anyone successfully gotten past this issue? Were you able to get a fix that works from Microsoft PSS?

    thanks,

    david

  49. Charles says:

    I am having this same problem.  Any ideas?

    rtpmedic@gmail.com

    >>

    # re: User comments about offline files

    Monday, August 28, 2006 8:22 AM by fin

    Hey there…

    Im a support engineer and have an offline files issue. tbh, im not that familiar with offline files use, so im a bit of a noob to it all really, but here goes:

    This specific user can not use offline files. She can connect to the network share and save to it successfully when online. She can also save to the local PC successfully. When the offline folder attempts to sync it scans the files, then lists them and says "Error – Access is Denied". Its unclear however whether the issue is server or client based. Checked user profile, any group policy that might be enforced, and ownership and rights on her user share. All seems okay.

  50. Offline files extraction using csccmd.exe says:

    This is in reply to a few people who have posted regarding recovering files from the CSC database.

    Briefly, you can only do it if you have the ORIGINAL contents of the CSC folder. That it is, D1 through to D8 subfolders PLUS 00000001 and 00000002 (and 00000003 if it was there initially).

    I have been dealing with a problem where the CSC synchronised itself, but I was able to recover everything from the CSC folder prior to this happening except for 00000001 and 00000002. The upshot of this is that the csccmd.exe tool will work only if you have both 00000001 and 00000002.

    I’ve done extensive testing and have come to the conclusion that csccmd.exe will not work without the original 0000001 and 0000002 files. I have also tried to recreate the intial offline file scenario, then copying over D1 through to D8 on top the new folders, but to no avail.

    00000001 and 00000002 must contain a lits of files that were/are present in the CSC cache. Even if you copy the files in the cache back in to C:WindowsCSC they will just be ignored by tools such as csccmd.exe.

  51. Mr. IT says:

    Is there a way to FORCE a synchronization via command line?  I have googled and searched and asked – in fact I stumbled across this BLOG in my ongoing quest – to no avail.

    Thanks in advance Gang!

    /fwa

  52. Johannes says:

    Offline files works rather well except for conflict resolution. If a user selects "Keep both", the files renamed "filename (username v1)" are all empty. This happens to different users on different machines. The users have access to those folders.

    Has anyone previously experienced this problem?

  53. Rakesh Latchana says:

    I try to make files offline and get the error message ""The system is currently running with the last known good configuration"

    This was previously reported by Patrick Schmid on April 28, 2006 but I did not see an answer. I don’t know whether there is any limitations in the number of files one could have offline and whether this is impacting on me.

    I tried removing some files and i am able to put those files back offline but some files i just can’t put offline.

  54. Rakesh Latchana says:

    I reinitialised the cache based on the following instructions, http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;EN-US;230738

    and it solved my problem

  55. Carl from Switzerland says:

    Great Blog,

    After spending most of the evening in Google I seem to come to the conclusion that if a user turns of folder syncronisation on his client laptop then all the data that was around in his "my documents" is lost. (that is a fact in this case the folder is empty).

    This gives me a no hope story.

    http://ask.metafilter.com/mefi/20612

    But this blog gives me hope.

    What I can’t truly work out is if the data is in windowscsc and thus can be retived with the csccmd (version 1.1) /EXTRACT option. Or does the data base get over written with null content.

    I was of the opinion that a automatic back up is made (was told of some pop up message that had words to the effect of offline folders and ost).

    If such a backup is around were is it located and is the above tool the solution.

  56. David Trounce says:

    Re: the comment above posted Wednesday, September 13, 2006 12:34 PM by David Jade

    "I have a client who is having the ‘powerpoint hangs when saving large files’ in offline mode when the My Documents folder is redirected. The two comments here from others are about the only references I can find to this problem. The last comment references case # srx060605602291.

    Has anyone successfully gotten past this issue? Were you able to get a fix that works from Microsoft PSS?

    thanks,

    david"

    I have been having this problem intermittently for the past two years, and have still not found a fix. It happens with a different powerpoint file every two months or so, and I use powerpoint when offline with large files extensively – probably saving tens of different large powerpoint files while offline each week. I have been looking for references to this problem during that time and this is the first one I have seen.

    It only seems to happen for a very few powerpoint files – all large – but most large powerpoint files I save do not have this problem. When a file starts to have this problem it causes repeated crashes of powerpoint even after cold reboots, which each then cause an complete freeze the whole Windows XP OS.

    When it does happen, as noted above, powerpoint freezes close to the end of the save progress bar. However, it does not just crash powerpoint. It then becomes impossible to force powerpoint to close – it ignores ‘end task’ – and all other applications (Excel, IE, Firefox, Windows Explorer) quickly become ‘not responding’ and also then ignore ‘end task’. When this powerpoint freeze happens I quickly try to save unsaved work in other applications as quickly as possible before the whole machine becomes unresponsive. After the freeze the machine becomes impossible to shut down; I have to hold down the power button to switch it off.

    Powerpoint is the only application I know that can take down Windows XP in this way. I didn’t think this should be possible, so I’m guessing a bug in offline files that powerpoint triggers.

    Windows XP SP2, all latest updates

    PowerPoint 2003 SP2, all latest updates

    My Documents redirected to a server share, with entire shell folder taken offline

    Only occurs intermittently during saving of some large PowerPoint files (>5MB)

    Saving to a subfolder of My Documents while offline

    Does not occur when saving the same files to a local (non offline) drive, e.g. C:

    trounce at gmail dot com

  57. John says:

    There is a way to kill old server name references with offline files.

    1. disable offine files.

    2. reboot.

    3. in folder options, view protected OS files.

    4. go to c:windowscsc

    5. start opening the system files with notepad (they’ll be named 00000001, 00000002, and so on with no file type).

    6. scroll through the gibberish until you see a plain English text entry for the dead server.  Keep looking through the system files until you find the one that does.

    7. close notepad and delete that file.

    8. re-enable offline files.

    9. re-hide the protected OS files if you want.

    10. force a synch and you’ll see just the reference to the active server.  Dead server reference is gone.

  58. Michael says:

    I am in the process of introducing DFS into an environment. They currently have a file server which all of the remote users have their "My Doc" redirected to using offline files.

    Is there a way to:

    1. move the files at the server level

    2. use CSCCMD /MOVESHARE: at the client level

    so that the end users do not have to resync their "My Docs" all over again to the DFS root?

  59. David Trounce says:

    Re: references to the KB870593 hotfix and srx060605602291, and my post on Sept 29 (above)

    I finally called Microsoft support, and they said that this hotfix was included in Windows XP SP2. Since I am still having the ‘powerpoint hangs when saving large files’ crash as mentioned above with SP2, either

    a) the hotfix does not resolve all the issues, or

    b) there is another issue with identical symptoms.

    Does anyone have any more information, and/or another hotfix or KB article that might refer to this?

  60. David Trounce says:

    By the way, the crash also happens with Winzip 9.0 SR1 all the time, when trying to create a new zip file on an offline folder (no problems when creating it on the C or D drive), and also sometimes with Access 2003 SP2.

    It seems to be something about the type of file access these apps use when saving data that causes the offline files crash

  61. Frode D says:

    Hi, I’m having two WinXP SP2 computers with redirected My documents folder and neccessary access to both share and file system. The My documents folder is redirected to the home share, eg. \homeserverusers%username%.

    Creating files locally or on the redirected folder works fine, but if I try to make any of the files in the redirected folder available offline (for this user on this computer), all files generates the "access denied" message I’ve seen several other now refer to. Same \homeserver, but different share works, but I find no problem with the users folder

    This is not a computer issue since the same computer can make files available offline from another file server, and it’s not a security issue to my knowledge since all user home folders have same security settings. Reinitializing the offline files cache has no effect.

    Any ideas? Is there another way to reinitilize the offline file cache.

  62. Darrell says:

    We have a windows server 2003 domain. I have a user w/ a xp pro laptop who

    frequently works out of the office. He works on documents in My Documents,

    which is redirected to a share on the server. Offline Files and

    synchronization is configured. He uses a VPN to connect to his email, and

    also to access a network drive which is mapped to the company data drive.

    When I first set this up, there was a problem when he connected the VPN. His

    computer went "online" and tried to work off the server for his "My

    Documents" folder. This was unacceptable, because it made everything terribly

    slow, so I configured the slow link group policy to disable syncronization

    when he’s on the VPN. That worked nicely.

    The problem: Now when he is offsite and connected via VPN, the computer

    stays "Offline" and he cannot access the company data drive (J), unless he

    goes online, but then that slows everything down to a crawl. I have tried

    various configurations and cannot seem to get around this problem. I know

    that if I would make the J: drive available offline he could access this, but

    this is not possible since the J: drive is huge.

    So the problem as simply stated as possible is this: When the computer is

    offline the J: drive cannot be accessed. When the computer is online it is

    unacceptably slow.

    I think this is a Microsoft design flaw. I was on chat for an hour w/ a

    msft person, and he could not help me. What should I do? Ditch offline

    files altogether?

  63. Mark Feiter says:

    Hello Darell,

    the whole server is being used offline, so you can’t access any other shares from this server. There is one quick’n’dirty solution though: map the other drives offline via net use <ip-address of server> instead of net use <dns-name of server> that works !

    regards,

    Mark

  64. Chris Brown says:

    Having trouble killing the "old" server.  Used the csccmd tool with sucess on one laptop to move the shares, but on the second laptop, the old server keep popping up as offline.  There are still printers on this old server and since XP thinks this server is offline, cannot print to those printers.  Will try Friday Sept 29 post from John to see if that works.  

    Any other ideas?

  65. Bob says:

    Found on web…

    Introduction to Offline Files

    Client Side Caching (CSC) is the internal name for the project that implements the offline files functionality.

    CSC creates and maintains local copies of remote files and folders, namely those stored on a file server. While online, applications use the remote, or server, copy. When the connection between the client and server is broken, CSC takes over and redirects operations to the local copy transparently, allowing the applications to continue to operate. When the connection is reestablished, CSC pushes back any changes that may have occurred while disconnected, thus bringing the local cached copies into equivalence with the server copy.

    Client Side Caching (CSC) is implemented as part of the file system, and can be applied to any share accessible over SMB. Hence any application that uses these files can get the benefits of CSC. Outlook’s offline folders are specific to the Outlook application and has nothing to do with Offline Files.

    Offline Files local Cache

    The offline files folder, which by default is "%windir%CSC", contains the actual files which hold the contents of files and folders made offline. In general, users should not need to view the contents of this folder, which is not intended for direct access. When viewed directly, the cache appears as a number of folders containing files with names that either begin with "8" or "0". The files beginning with "8" contain the data for cached files, the files beginning with "0" contain the data for cached folders.

    A more user friendly way of accessing your cache files is via the "View Files" button on the "Offline Files" tab of the folder options dialog for "My Computer". This provides all the files with their component names. Note that this view is supplementary to the primary mode of accessing offline files, which is via their remote name.

    Server Connection

    Default Slowlink detection:

    CSC estimates the network bandwidth available to the client when it first connects to a server. If this bandwidth is below a threshhold, CSC will stay offline against that server.

    Note that this behavior controls reconnecting to servers, it will not break an existing connection if the bandwidth drops below the threshold.

    It’s possible to change the slow link speed CSC uses to determine whether to reconnect to a server. The current setting is 64KB, but you can change that by setting the registry key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionNetCacheSlowLinkSpeed

    However, note that this value affects only the auto-reconnection behavior of Offline Files. It doesn’t affect the initial state. Therefore, even if you set this value to very high so that all connections are considered “slow”, CSC will still put those connections into “online” mode when the connection is first made. The auto-reconnection behavior is applicable only once a server has transitioned to offline and then become available again.

    Also note that the value we compare the policy to is the speed reported by the transport which is not necessarily an effective throughput value. Therefore, if you have a 10Mb NIC but somewhere between you and your server is a 56K dialup line, we see the connection as 10Mb.

    For more information, see the following Knowledge Base article: 263097 " Transition of Offline Files to Online Only Occurs Over Fast Link".

    New Slowlink behavior:

    We are providing a QFE (hotfix) for XP SP1 that enhances the slow link policy behavior of CSC. The details of the feature are given below.

    For more information, see the following Knowledge Base article: 811525 Configure Slow Link Speed Group Policy Does Not Force Offline Files".

    What is the feature?

    CSC will automatically go offline against a server that is connected on a slow link. Also, the connection speed that CSC detects will be the actual throughput of the connection to the server.

    Why we did this?

    CSC has a policy setting for slow link speed. If the user enables this policy and sets a slow link speed then, once CSC goes offline against a server, it would not automatically go back online if the network speed was below the slow link setting. But the problem here is that this setting would come into play only after the user has gone offline against the server. Somehow the user would have to trigger going offline. For this the user could use "csccmd /disconnect" to force CSC to go offline. This is a bit confusing for customers. They expect that once they set the policy, CSC should never be online against a server that is connected on slow link. They do not expect to run "csccmd /disconnect" every time to make this policy kick in.

    Also, the connection speed that CSC detects today is the speed of the network card on the client. Therefore, if the client has a 10Mb NIC but somewhere between the client and the server is a 56K dialup line, CSC would still detect the connection to be 10Mbps. This behavior is incorrect. CSC should detect the actual speed of the connection to the server.

    Also, many customers have requested this feature.

    How does the feature work?

    1. The hotfix and SP1 or SP2 need to be installed.

    2. The user needs to set the slowlink policy.

    3. The user also needs to create a new registry key:

    HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionNetCache

    DWORD Name : GoOfflineOnSlowLink

    Data: 1

    4. Reboot the machine to apply the new settings.

    5. When the user logs in, if the connection to a server is below the slow link setting, CSC will automatically transition offline against that server.

    How to sync?

    The user can click on the CSC icon in the system tray to synchronize his data. If the server is offline because of slow link setting (that means there is a connection available to the server, but it is slow), his changes will get synchronized but he will continue to stay offline against that server. This means that the user can work offline against a slow link server but sync his changes whenever he wants.

    How to go back online against the server that is offline due to slow link?

    If the link speed to the server goes above the slow link setting, then the user can go back online by doing a manual sync (the usual case) or the server will go back online automatically if

    a) Client did not modify any files on the server while offline.

    b) There are no open handles to the server

    If the connection speed to the server is still below the slow link setting but the user wants to go online, then the user needs to change the slow link setting and reboot the machine.

    How to apply changes to slow link setting?

    To disable this new feature set the registry key

    HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionNetCache

    DWORD Name : GoOfflineOnSlowLink

    Data: 0

    To continue to use this feature but change the value of slow link speed – change the value of slow link speed using policy and reboot the machine.

    Any change of settings to this feature requires a reboot.

    Automatic Reconnection:

    CSC has a user-level agent that probes disconnected servers periodically. Every 10 minutes, the agent determines a list of servers from which it has cached files, and to which the client is currently disconnected. It then attempts to reconnect to the server using normal file system operations. The probe also happens when the client gains its first network connection (such as connecting an ethernet cable to a laptop). If the transport (networking layer) thinks the available bandwidth is less than the slow-link threshold, CSC will continue to hold the server in disconnected state until a synchronization occurs (either manually or on logon/logoff).

    Exclusion List

    The exclusion list controls whether or not CSC automatically caches and synchronizes certain types of file. The list is a list of file extensions corresponding to types of files that CSC should not attempt to synchronize.

    The default list consists of .SLM, .MDB, .LDB, .MDW, .MDE, .PST, and anything beginning with .DB. The defaults can be overridden with the group policy "

    -Computer Config

    –Admin Templates

    —Network

    —-Offline Files

    —–Files not cached".

    The list may also be changed with cscutil.exe /exclusionlist

    NOTE: Microsoft DOES NOT recommend you to change these settings since it may result in file corruptions. For example database and pst files may be corrupt. Instead use Outlooks Cache features to store the Mailboxes offline.

    Exclusion Error Suppression

    The Offline Files feature does not allow caching of certain file types. This is done to prevent corruption of file sets and to avoid conflicts with competing synchronization technologies. When you try to cache one of these files, the following error message will appear for each file:

    Files of this type cannot be made available offline

    This message is useful to users who are unfamiliar with the synchronization process, however, when users understand that certain file types cannot be cached, the message becomes an annoyance because it prevents the synchronization progress dialog from closing automatically at the end of synchronization.

    There is a hotfix that changes the behavior of Offline Files error reporting:

    For more information, see the following Knowledge Base article: 811660 "Files Added to Offline Files Folder by One Person are Synchronized When".

    This update introduces a new registry key that prevents subsets of these files from generating this specific synchronization error. To apply this update you must edit the registry and enter the appropriate file specification for the following registry keys:

    HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionNetCacheHKCUSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionNetCacheDWORD Name: ExclusionErrorSuppressionList

    Data : see details below

    This key may contain 0 or more values with the name of each value containing a . At run-time, the lists under these two registry keys are merged into a single list, and one list does not take precedence over the other. An empty key and a missing key are treated the same: they produce a list of zero items.

    File Specifications

    The values added to the new ExclusionErrorSuppressionList keys are referred to as . The file specifications are UNC path strings that may incorporate a wildcard character (asterisk) to indicate ?match any? at that particular position in the specification.

    Each specification uses the following format: \\

    Environment variables, for example <%username% >, can be included in a specification, and are expanded at run-time to the equivalent text value.

    Each part may be substituted with the wildcard character. One notable exception is the placement of a wildcard character inside a folder specification.

    For example, the following specification is not valid:

    \corpsvrstaff%username%documents*personal*.doc

    This specification embeds a wildcard character between two folder names %username% and *personal*. This specification is rejected as not valid.

    Note not valid specifications are not identified and are not logged anywhere in the system.

    Not valid specifications are ignored at run-time.

    Examples of the file specifications are:

    – Specification

    – Error suppressed for these files

    – foo.dbf Equivalent to: \***foo.dbf

    -Any file of the name foo.dbf in any directory, on any share, from any server.

    – *.dbf Equivalent to: \****.dbf

    – Any file with the extension DBF in any directory, on any share, from any server.

    – \corpsrvstaff%username%*foo.dbf

    – The file foo.dbf under any user’s home directory as defined by the environment variable %username%.

    – \corpsvrstaff*.dbf Equivalent to: \corpsvrstaff**.dbf

    – Any file with the extension DBF in any directory on the “staff” share from the server \corpsvr

    System Behavior

    When a file that is on the exclusion list is encountered during synchronization, the file’s complete path is tested against the list of file specifications read from the registry. If the path matches any one of the specifications, the error message

    files of this type cannot be made available offline

    does not appear in the synchronization progress dialog. No indication of this suppression is recorded in the system.

    Quick vs Full Sync

    To understand quick vs. full sync you must also understand the concepts of "auto-caching" and "sparsely-cached" files. Auto-cached files are those files that are cached automatically when opened on a server configured to support "automatic caching". Initially, only those blocks of data read by the client application are cached, producing a "sparse" file in the cache. Sparsely-cached files are available to the client only when the associated network share is connected (a.k.a. "online"). In order to make a sparse file available while offline, it must first be "filled" while online. Filling of a sparse file ensures the complete file is in the cache. Most sparse files are automatically filled in the background by the "CSC Agent" so sparse files are rarely an issue. However, since sparse files are unavailable while offline, it is necessary that they be filled prior to disconnecting from the network.

    When synchronizing at logoff, a "quick" sync simply fills any sparse files in the cache. A "full" sync at logoff does much more. Along with filling any sparse files, a full sync synchronizes any server-side changes to the client as well as pinning any unpinned files found within pinned folders on the network. This scanning of pinned network folders can require a lot of time. Thus, a "full" sync at logoff ensures that the cache is complete (everything that should be cached is cached), and all cached content is up to date when you begin working offline.

    When synchronizing at logon, the concept of "quick" means something a little different. By default, CSC works "online" so that any sparse files in the cache (if there are any) are automatically available. Therefore, there is no need to fill sparse files at logon. This CSC behavior of automatically working online makes all network files immediately available. Therefore, in theory, the only synchronization we should care about at logon is merging local changes (made while offline) back to the server. We should not care about synchronizing server-side changes until the next logoff. In Win2000, this "merge to server" synchronization was the only type of logon sync we offered. We later learned from customers that their typical expectation of any synchronization is to have everything synchronized. Therefore, we introduced the "full sync at logon" option. When this option is unchecked, we simply merge offline changes to the server (the original Win2000 behavior). When this option is checked, we also synchronize any server-side changes to the client as well as pin any unpinned files found within pinned folders on the network. We still believe this latter behavior is unnecessary but it is provided by customer request.

    Here is a table summarizing the behaviors.

    Quick Logon

    – Merge offline changes to server

    Full Logon

    – Merge offline changes to server

    – Sync server-side changes to client

    – Pin unpinned files found in pinned folders*

    Quick Logoff

    – Fill sparse files

    Full Logoff

    – Fill sparse files

    – Sync server-side changes to client

    – Pin unpinned files found in pinned folders*

    * The default behavior is to pin only new files found inside pinned folders. However, if the "Always pin subfolders" policy is enabled, new folders found inside pinned folders are pinned recursively. In addition, the search for new files is performed only when operating over a "fast" link.

    As you can see, a "quick" sync is much faster in most cases.

    Note that when you initiate a synchronization manually (right-click and select "Synchronize"), CSC does a full sync, which includes both pushing to the server and pulling from it. If the server connection is a slow-link, CSC will not search for new files to pin (the "Pin unpinned files found in pinned folders").

    Offline files with DFS

    On Windows XP clients, you can make a DFS-named share available offline. However, on Windows 2000, CSC and DFS do not interoperate. Any shares which have a DFS pathname should disable client-side caching.

    For more information, see the following Knowledge Base article: Q262845 " Support for DFS-Based Shares for Offline Files".

    Note this only applies to Windows 2000 clients, Windows XP clients talking to Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 servers should work fine.

    Autocached and Temporarily cached Files

    A server can mark a share to allow different kinds of offline behavior. No cache means CSC should not keep local copies of files on the client. Manual caching means CSC will only preserve copies of files that have been pinned, that is made available offline via GPO or the UI. CSC may also keep files created on the client in the cache for a short period of time. Marking a share for autocaching tells CSC to keep local copies of every file the client accesses in that share, no user or GPO action is required. Auto-caching for programs extends this to allow CSC to use the local cached copy, even if CSC is connected to the server. This further reduces the load generated on the server and network by the client.

    Files cached in autocache shares will be marked as temporarily cached in the CSC cache view. If the amount of cached files exceeds the CSC cache limit, CSC will evict files from the cache in a least recently used fashion (kick out the files that haven’t been accessed recently first).

    CSC has 2 notions of caching: manual and automatic. Manual caching occurs when a user selects a file or folder to be made available offline, by right clicking on an object from Explorer and selecting the option "Make available offline". Temporary caching occurs whenever a client accesses a share marked for automatic caching. These files are cached on use, but may be removed from the cache by CSC. One reason it may remove temporarily cached items is due to lack of space in the cache.

    When under manual caching mode, CSC will temporarily cache files on a client that were created on that client. This allows CSC to preserve some metadata in the case where the application is replacing a file with a new file. This scenario often happens during file save. For example, Word opens a file that is pinned in a directory that is not pinned. When the user hits "save", word writes out a new file, deletes the old file, and renames the new file over the old file. It is important that CSC preserve the attributes of the old file in the new file, since as far as the user is concerned the two files are really one and the same. To allow this to happen, CSC keeps any newly created file around for 10 seconds in anticipation of this sort of swapping happening. If the 10 seconds elapse without this rename happening, CSC will evict the file from its cache. The end result should be transparent, except when people are closely monitoring CSC through the "Offline Files" folder view.

    Note that the cache size setting under the "Offline Files" tab of the folder options for "My Computer" only applies to temporarily cached files, CSC does not limit the size of manually cached files beyond the capacity of the partition on which the CSC folder is located.

    Automatic Pinning of Files and Administrative Pinning

    There are three ways a file can become pinned:

    • the user has pinned the file explicitly,

    • an administrator has specified that the file should be pinned,

    • or some ancestor of the file (a directory whose path is a prefix of the file’s path) is pinned recursively.

    Automatic pinning refers to this third category, and is done by CSC itself as part of a full synchronization (see the section on quick vs. full synchronization).

    When a folder is pinned, CSC will automatically pin its children that are files, but will not pin subfolders. If pinning with inheritance is specified (the default for the "Make Available Offline" shell context command), CSC will pin all children recursively (e.g., go into all subfolders and pin them too). CSC will not recurse through shell shortcut links. During a full sync, CSC will look for new file children and pin them as well.

    Group Policy pinning runs when the user logs in, and every 90 minutes after that. It recurses through a tree looking for new things to pin (effectively doing a full sync in the process). The main difference between normal and administrative pinning is that administrative pinning cannot be undone by the user. Visually, this is manifested by greying out the "Make Available Offline" option in the shell’s menu.

    Common Problems

    Note that this explanation is applicable to Windows XP. These behaviors may change in a future release.

    Per-User Cache

    First let me get one thing out of the way. CSC uses a per-machine cache; many people believe that it should use a per-user cache. That is not possible, now or in the future. The cache is a mirror of the network file system. Since there is only one network file system, there is only one CSC cache per computer. The CSC cache is essentially a file system.

    Access-Based Selection for Synchronization

    Given this situation, we do take steps in the user experience to make the cache appear to be per-user. Synchronization is one of these areas. The decision to synchronize a file is based upon access rights to that file; access rights that are computed on the server when the file is first accessed. If the file’s security information grants access to the user or to "everyone", the file will be synchronized.

    One problem in the implementation is that directory permissions are not cached. Therefore, our access-based algorithms are limited by the lack of any access information on directories. This can force us to enumerate the contents of directories looking for content that may be accessible to the current user when the directory is actually inaccessible to the user.

    Common Customer Concerns

    There are generally three places in the UI that people complain about regarding shared computers and "synchronizing the files of others".

    1. The shares listed in the Sync Manager "choice" dialog – "Why do I see all these shares? I don’t use files on those shares".

    2. The file paths displayed in the Sync Manager progress dialog during synchronization – "Why do I see paths for files I don’t use or files that belong to another user?".

    3. Why do I receive a request for network credentials on a share I don’t use?

    For #1, it is easier to say why a share is NOT listed in the dialog. Given the set of all shares cached in the CSC database, a share is not listed in the Sync Manager UI…

    • If there is nothing cached on the share that is accessible to the current user.

    • If the only things cached for the current user are unpinned directory entries.

    • If a share is marked "no caching" AND there are no local offline changes to merge to the share.

    • If the share is marked "manual caching" AND there are no files (accessible to the current user) pinned on that share AND there are no local offline changes that require merging to the share.

    Also see the section below on "Link Targets"

    For #2, the most common cause is when the cache contains files granting access to "everyone" on the network. Since the user is a member of "everyone", the file is synchronized. Many users believe that if they have not explicitly pinned or opened a file it should not be synchronized. With the current architecture of CSC, we have no way of knowing this. If a user has access to a file, that file is synchronized.

    For #3, the most common cause is that CSC doesn’t cache directory permissions. When a user performs a "full" synchronization, one of the primary functions is to pin any unpinned files that exist inside pinned folders. Since CSC does not cache directory permissions, we are unable to determine if a pinned directory should be examined for unpinned files. Therefore, every directory pinned in the local CSC cache is enumerated on the network as we look for unpinned files that are accessible to the user. When CSC tries to enumerate that directory on the network, if the user does not have sufficient access, the user’s credentials are requested.

    Link Targets

    Another common reason for users to see the names of unexpected shares in Sync Manager is that when a LNK (shortcut) file is pinned, we automatically pin the target if the target is a file. If the target is a folder, only the LNK file is pinned. Since shortcuts often point to remote places on a network, this can be a cause of concern for users. Also, Office stores the list of "favorite" documents as LNK files in the Application Data directory. When customers redirect the Application Data directory to a network location and cache its contents with CSC, those link targets are also cached which often results in user concern for the number of unexpected shares seen during synchronization.

    Solution

    This article includes a updated cscui.dll which includes new registry settings to control the above behavior.

    For more information, see the following Knowledge Base article: 811660 " Files Added to Offline Files Folder by One Person are Synchronized When ".

    Purge Files for Non-Primary Users at Logoff

    When a person briefly logs onto a computer that is not their ordinary workplace computer, and they cache files from the network (either auto-cached or pinned), those files remain in the cache on that computer until they are removed.

    The feature changes included in this hotfix introduce a new registry key used to designate users of a computer as either or .

    HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionNetCachePrimaryUsersDWORD Name:

    Data : nothing

    HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionNetCacheDWORD Name : PurgeNonPrimaryUserFilesAtLogoff

    Data : 1

    With this change files that are cached for a non-primary user can be easily removed from the cache when they logoff. This key contains zero or more values and each value name designates a user account that is to be considered primary by the Offline Files system. Each value name may take one of two forms:

    1. A user account name. For example,

    mydomainusername.

    2. A user account security ID (SID) in text form. For example,

    S-1-5-21-397955417-626881126-188441444-2201386

    The value and value type for each registry entry is ignored and only the value name is used.

    At run-time, the current user’s SID is obtained from the user’s security token.

    If the registry entry is provided as a SID string, that string is converted to a binary SID and compared with the current user’s SID.

    If the registry entry is provided as an account name, the security authority is queried for that account’s SID (Win32 API LookupAccountName). The SID is then compared with the current user’s SID.

    If a match is found in the list of primary users read from the registry, the current user is considered a primary user. If no registry entries exist or no match is found, the user is considered a non-primary user and that user’s offline files will be removed from the cache when he logs off.

    Note: Not valid entries in this registry key are ignored. No system log entry is provided to identify not valid entries.

    This list of primary users affects only the Offline Files system; no other component of Windows uses this list. Any other use of this list outside the Offline Files feature is unsupported.

    Warning! The addition of this registry key must be coordinated with the existing PurgeAtLogoff system policy. This policy is activated in Group Policy through the following path:

    "Computer ConfigAdmin TemplatesNetworkOffline FilesAt logoff, delete local copy of user’s offline files".

    If this policy is enabled, the PurgeNonPrimaryUserFilesAtLogoff value is ignored, and files for non-primary users will not be removed.

    1. You must use the AdminPinForPrimaryUsersOnly registry setting (see the section Prevent Admin-pinning of Files for Non-primary Users below) in conjunction with this setting.

    Without the AdminPinForPrimaryUsersOnly registry setting, if Admin pinning is in progress when the non-primary user logs off, there is a race condition where admin pinning continues to process after files have been removed from the cache. The result is that following logoff there may be files cached for the non-primary user. The solution is to disable admin-pinning for non-primary users using the AdminPinForPrimaryUsersOnly registry key.

    2. Because our selection of files for deletion is based on user access to those files and because Client Side Caching (CSC) does not cache security information for folder entries in Windows 2000 and Windows XP, an empty folder entry that has been pinned by another user may be remove from the cache. However, if the cached folder contains any cached subdirectories or files, it will not be removed.

    3. Auto-caching occurs when any process on the computer opens a file on a remote share marked for auto-caching. As a result, files that are deleted may be replaced before the logoff sequence is completed. If this is a problem, you may want to disable auto-caching on shares hosting these redirected shell special folders, for example “My Pictures”, “My Music”, and “My Videos”.

    4. If this Registry key is enabled when a non-primary user is logged on, if the non-primary user has made offline changes to any cached files, those modified files are not removed from the cache during the deletion process. This is done to preserve any potentially-valuable offline content. As a result, some files cached by the non-primary user may remain on the local computer following logoff.

    Prevent Admin-pinning of Files for Non-primary Users

    Users who have been assigned offline files for administrative purposes, will cache content on every computer they log on to and may result in unwanted content cached on other peoples computers.

    To prevent this, this update introduces a modification to the processing of so that it does not override the primary user list outlined earlier in this article. If the current user is not on the primary users list, per-user admin pinning will not occur for that user on the current computer.

    To prevent per-user admin-pinning for non-primary users, follow these steps to add the required registry entry:

    HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionNetCacheDWORD Name : AdminPinForPrimaryUsersOnly

    Data : 1

    Office Documents Are Synchronized to an Offline Share Automatically

    When you save an Office document, the document may automatically be set for of

  66. RobFisher says:

    To the guy that posted this…

    —————————————————————————-

    # re: User comments about offline files

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006 3:53 AM by qwer1304

    Offline Files & VPN

    =============

    I have the following problem with using Offline Files & VPN. I saw this problem mentioned on the Net, but no solution.

    Configuration:

    a.Client:

    1.Win XP Pro, SP2, all latest fixes

    2.CheckPoint SecuRemote VPN

    b.Server

    3.Win 2003, all latest fixes

    I have drive U mapped to \serverusersuser.X.

    Directory U:My Documents is made available for offline access.

    My Documents is redirected to U:My Documents.

    There’s directory U:Work that is NOT available for offline access.

    At work, everything works fine and before leaving I sync the offline folder.

    At home, I login OFFLINE (using cached credentials), since VPN is not available yet. Offline files are available in cached mode.

    I fire up VPN and logon onto the FW.

    Drive U: becomes available (I can browse to U:Work), but offline folders are OFFLINE (the icon says Offline Files – Computer(s) offline).

    Trying to synchronize manually fails as follows:

    After some time, a login prompt appears.

    If I enter my login info, it fails with the message:

    "Offline Files (server name): Unable to connect to ‘share’. Multiple connections to a server or shared resource by the same user, using more than one user name, are not allowed. Disconnect all previous connections to the server or shared resource and try again."

    If I reverse the order, i.e. I logon onto VPN BEFORE Windows logon, Offline Folders are online.

    Any ideas?

    ————————————————————————–

    This happens because you are not authenticated to the server correctly.  If you lock the computer, and log back on, assuming you require authentication to the server to unlock set in a group policy, you will authenticate, get a new ticket, and be allowed to establish a true connection to the server, allowing you to go online with your files.

  67. Bjorn says:

    I have a laptop that logs into the network at where i work too sync autocad files too the local storage. The issue that we have (minor cosmetic issue) is when he is Online too the server and opens a directory that is NOT checked for Offline file / sync . He will have that folder and the data within cached on his laptop when he is OFFLINE

    For example, the drive is U:

    in the U: Drive there are 4 folders.

    A, b, C, D

    Folder A and b are marked "Make available offline", C and D are NOT marked in that manner.

    If the user, on the laptop while ONLINE, opens either C or D folder, he will have a cache of that folder when he goes OFFLINE.

    We’d like to get rid of that behavior.

    Thanks

  68. Christian S,yth says:

    I have had a disaster – stupid, I know, but any help would be appreciated!

    I am away from home and office and downloaded all Xmas photos from 2 cameras and numerous cards onto my laptop – into 2 new offline folders that I created to ensure they got synchronised when I was next in the office.

    When I next connected to VPN my laptop tried to synchronise, but I am on a slow connection so I stopped the synchronisation and went to the 2 new folders to make them unavailable offline.

    As a result I seem to have lost all the photographs and they are not even in the CSC folder as far as I can see. Is there any way of retrieving them – I have tried making the folders available again offline, but there is no sign of the photos.

    Please help – Xmas is ruined, particularly as when I uploaded the pictures from the cameras, I deleted all pictures off the devices!

    Told you it was stupid…..

  69. Alan says:

    I read through all the comments … took a while but couldn’t determine the real fix to what I’m experiencing.  Set up Group Policy on AD OU containing all users of small company with Folder Redirection of My Documents .   WinXP laptops have Offline Files turned on with both "Synchronize …. when logging on OR off" boxes unchecked.  Slow Link Detection Group Policy is "Not Enabled".  Have VPN on laptops and have trained users when not connected at office to log on using cached domain username/password credentials.  Placed Synchronize icon on their desktop and trained them to connect to network using VPN first and then synchronize manually when "connected" remotely.  The problem is that when they are remote and logon with domain cached credentials, file sync kicks in immediately on log on and log off, even with those options turned off in Folder Options on the WinXP laptop and no Slow Link Detection policy is enabled.  This causes an file sync error because they are not yet connected and on log off when not connected and it is a nuisance to have to cancel these rouge file syncs on every remote log on and log off.  Can anyone give some insight and a clear solution to why this is happening and how to fix it?

  70. Greg D says:

    I’m having a problem with encrypting offline files.

    Whenever we turn on encryption, any file that is then made available offline receives the error "access denied."

    I’ve applied a couple of hotfixes from Microsoft, including the one mentioned on this website (810859), along with registering CSCUI.DLL (REGSVR32 /S CSCUI.DLL) and I’ve also making the user a local administrator and nothing.

    I’ve been on the phone with MS support for two days, nothing.  

    I’ve tried deleting the cached files, re-created the Group Policy, and re-applying network permissions.  Again nothing.

    Offline files works without encryption on our network.  This "access denied" error only occurs when turning on "Encrypt the Offline Files Cache."

    Background:  We are running a Windows 2000 server with SP4.  Our clients are using XP Pro with SP2.  We are also running a clustered network with two domain controllers (both win 2k w sp4).  

    Does anyone have any ideas?

  71. Patrick D says:

    We changed servers and then I found Offline Files on our laptops kept trying to connect to the old server. After a lot of work I found out how to press Ctrl+Shift while clicking "Delete Files" to reinitialize the cache.

    The problem is that Offline Files doesn’t work at all now… it just throws "Access Denied" for every file on the user’s share. I have checked and the user whose computer it is running on does have the permissions for those files, since it is their home directory (redirected to a network share) that they are trying to cache for offline use.

  72. Curtis says:

    In Vista Business edition, right-clicking on one network drive or folder does not give me the "Always available offline" option. It’s just not in the context menu at all.

    It doesn’t make any difference if I map the folder as a drive or not. I’ve previously used Offline Files on the same machine under Windows XP and it worked beautifully. The "Always available offline" option *does* appear for another file server, just not the one I want.

    What heuristics determine whether or not the option gets shown, and is there any way to manually make a specified UNC path available offline?

  73. Stefan P says:

    Greg D,

    Did you manage to solve the problem with access denied?

    We have the same problem you have.

    Would be nice to here what MS support had to say.

  74. Brian says:

    I have a user that just moved from the office to work at home.  The server at the office is Server 2003, not using group policy.  She is using Xp Pro sp2.  So now 95% of the time she is offline, and can’t move or rename files and folders in her redirected MyDocuments while offline.  She can open them, modify, and save them.   She has the needed permissions – Full Control and is the owner of the folder and files.  While online, connected to the office network, no problems at all.  I have around 60 users set up the same way that experiance no problems at all. Anyone know what is going on?

  75. Brian says:

    I was hoping for some help that hasn’t been covered here.  I have read this blog twice and haven’t seen it meantioned.  Someone please help.

    Details: Server – Server2003,  Client – Xp pro  Sp2.  Not using Group Policy for folder redirection.  All machines are fully patched and current.

    I have a user that can not move her files or folder when offline (redirected mydocuments – \servershare).  The files can be opened and modified offline but can not be moved while offline.  She is loosing track of her file organization, which her folder is around 1.6gb with around 6633 files.  She is only at the office once a month and then she can move or organize her folder while online.  But this is a new occurance of about a month.  She has used redirected mydocs folder for a year before without any problems.  

    I can not find any documentation or help as of yet to fix this problem.  Is this a limitation of offline files or is it a bug?  Please someone help me.  Thank you.

  76. cjh210359 says:

    Does anyone know of any software that can monitor the level of activity relating to offline files? For example:

    > How much data and how many files are being synchronised because it has been worked on off line? Individually and across the board.

    > How much data and how many files are being replicated, whether or not they are being worked on off line? Individually and across the board.

    > How frequently are files being worked on offline?

    > What is the nature of offline files being changed and thus being synchronised at the point of LAN re-connection? i.e. what type of file?

    Thanks

  77. Nick says:

    I came here because "Offline Files" was enabled by default in my fresh install of Vista Business.  We became aware of it when it started reporting sync failures with "access denied".

    Considering that there is such a narrow range of situations where the implementation of offline files is both useful and reliable, I think Vista should ship with this "feature" disabled by default.

    Much of the UI has been reorganised in Vista, so some of the details above no longer apply.  Here’s what I did to turn offline files off, get rid of the nagging error messages, and recover more than 40Gb of wasted disk space.

    1. Disable offline files using the control panel.  (Choose "classic view" to see the Offline Files controls.)

    2. Reboot.

    3. Login as an administrator account.

    4. Use the Windows Explorer to go to  c:windowscsc and open it.

    5. You don’t have access, but Vista will elevate your rights and allow you to take ownership.  Remember to click the little box that applies the same changes to child folders and documents.

    6. Now you can delete the csc folder and all its contents.

    That’s it.  Don’t bother with the FormatDatabase registry value mentioned above, it is ignored.  And ignore all the options in the offline file viewer to "delete offline copies" – I don’t know what they actually do, but they certainly don’t delete the offline copies of the files.

    Nick (feeling pretty grumpy after wasting hours on this – again.)

  78. todd says:

    As someone who "didn’t get it" for years with offline files, I have to emphatically disagree with Nick above.  Offline files have broad application for anyone that uses two computers or more, where one or more might be a notebook and travel.  It shouldn’t make files available offline as a default without notice, though (and i assume it doesn’t).  As a small business owner, this offline files feature is a godsend.  The reason i’ve been scouring around for info is to help maintain my database of csc files.  Running sales and marketing, as well as doing our own videos, ads, and brochures  for a small company of only 5 people, sharing files with those people in the office and my photo/video workstation at home, i could spend days each week organizing and maintaining files.  Again, offliine files is a godsend for me/us.  The tough thing is i don’t want all "shared" files available offline – it takes too long to sync and takes too much space for any notebook I can carry.  It would be nice if i had access to the database of offline files so that if a drive crashes, or if i change notebook drives or computers, i could regain my exact resources more easily.  It seems like that could/should be a part of some administrative tool set.  Or perhaps just a part of the backup utility.  I’d say that is Windows biggest weakness for users with a lot of software – how to stay running without becoming mired in the maintenance.

  79. Andy says:

    I work for a school district. We set up our My Documents folder to replicate to our server for all of our students. This worked fine till we noticed that user data was being copied from one user profile to another to another to another and on and on. Obviously we dont have 1 pc per student.

    Senario:

    1. Each computer could have dozens of students  logging into it.

    2. Each student has thier own account, which creates many local profiles.

    3. At logoff, the computer syncronizes the My Documents folder for that user… and any other user that has ever logged into that computer -> onto the current users home drive.

    Absolutely unacceptable!!!! To remedy this, I disabled offline folder synchronization in GP. However, some machines stopped synchronizing – others have not. I need each and every PC in the district to stop syncing data (student and teacher) while pointing thier My Documents folder to thier homeshare (drive "Z"). I do not need nor do I want syncing. How do I disable it permanently? The GPO is forced and enabled to disallow syncing , but the PC’s seem to have thier own minds.

  80. smvb says:

    I found this very interesting, especially for those who need to find version 1.1 of CSCCMD:

    http://www.mountsutro.org/index.php/2006/07/16/381/

  81. Andrew says:

    Hi Andy,

    With regards to forcing the polciy to all PCs, make sure all other polcies are being applied (i.e. all computer config policies, not user config policies) a good idea is to make sure your winXP firewall is disabled, this has known issues when forcing a computer config policy, to do this navigate to:

    Computer Configuration>Administrative Templates>network>Network Connections>Windows Firewall>Domain Profile

    Set the "windows Firewall: Protect all network connections" to disabled.

    Restart the computers in question and see if this helps.

  82. Jon Scriven says:

    Hi,

    I have found thi just too flaky to use, so I am looking for recommendations for good corporate-level file synchronisation software.

    I look after a number of machines at regional offices.

    Machines are Windows XP SP2 and remote servers are Windows 2000/2003 Server.

    The offices are not large enough to warrant their own file server.

    Have persevered with Microsoft offline files, but have founc it to be incredibly flaky and lacking in several areas (this is how I found this blog, trying to troubleshoot problems with it).

    Can anyone recommend something that meets the following requirements:-

    1. Windows based and allows for synchronisation of either multiple folders or preferably whole mapped network drives.

    2. Has to be intelligent and able to disassemble/reassemble the files in such a way as to not saturate the link (some of the files are big but the pipe is pretty small).

    3. Has to be automated (set it and forget it or scriptable)

    4. Has to have some sort of error checking/verification reporting so we know if it is working properly.

    Have tried using Microsoft file synchronisation/offline files, also would not be keen on using Robocopy or Xcopy.

    Something with a nice user friendly GUI would be good!

    Does anyone have any ideas?

    Jon

  83. Eric says:

    Greetings all:

    I have a user that is using Offline Files with Windows XP SP2.  The sync works fine, the only problem is that roughly every five minutes, the computer goes "offline" and must be manually synchronized to gain access to network resources.  I have tried lowering the slow link speed setting to no avail.  This action was a wild guess as to the cause of the problem however.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction to stop the disconnections every five minutes?

    Thanks.

  84. Mujeeb says:

    Dear Sir,

    I had SBS 2003, with Exchange server 2003, I installed well, and its working fine…

    I have 75 users, but my liecense only 5 users, i orderd already balance cal , still i not recieved, may be i can recive next week.

    My problem is , when I restart my Server2003, Exchange server is wrking well , but after 5 or 6 hours its stopping auotomatically, I tried ,and My C drive 35.6 , D drive 75, I made RAID 10 Configuration, and there is nothing else , only exchange……I have symantec cor ed, before I am using redirectioon, now I stopped, and I remove aleardy almost permission for all,  I dont know what is the reason,  

    Please give me any solution…..

    My Email :  sallumuji@gmail.com

                     sallumuji@pdhhf.ae

  85. jyp says:

    Is there any solution to find files with the Windows search feature within redirected folders (such as Desktop or My documents) when network is disconnected althought CSC is enabled ?

  86. I have a small WinServ2003 R2 network with 2 DCs and an Exchange server (member). The domain is Win2003 native and I am using DFS to assemble shares on 2 servers into one singe share point for the company. All users are mapped to this share on their z: drive.  

    A couple of users have laptops and work out of the office. For these users I have configured offline files for a couple of folders within the domain-based DFS share (the z: drive). The problem for these users is that when they are away from the office and click on the drive z in windows explorer, it gives them an error saying that the drive is not available. When they click on the computer icon in the system tray and choose status, it reads that the computer is still online.

    What I have found also is that if I choose settings from that computer icon and then view files and then open one of those files (it suceeds), then the status changes to offline and clicking on the z: drive does not give an error any more.

    It seems that opening one of the offline files through the view files window initiates a check to see if, in fact, the computer is actually online or not.

    What do I have to do to make the computer check automatically at bootup or startup or through a command to initiate a check and make the change from online or offline?

    Is the issue my dfs share? Should i use a stand-alone namespace instead of the domain-based dfs share?

    is there a hotfix that will remedy this behavior that I haven’t heard about?

    many thanks

    thomas mccann

  87. MrB says:

    I have enabled offline files for roaming users on laptops.

    I have My Document redirected to DFS share.

    When user work offline, and he click on file, it takes about 10 minutes, before open file. Computer looks like it freeze, but than user get pop up window, telling him that \server……Mydocument can not be access, but than user can work with that file normally offline. But if it clicks on different document, it will wait another ten minutes.

    User has no problem with txt files, only files that he open with MSoffice…

    If user work online, there is no problem.

    Offline file synchronize normally, when user work online.

  88. JH v/d Merwe says:

    Hi All,

    I have exhaustingly searched all over to try and find either a solution to our problem, or an alternative way to do what we want; and so far I have not found anything conclusive.

    This is what we need :

    -Folder redirection to a Storage Server

    -Files to be available Offline with as little user interaction as possible

    -Invisible Synching when logging on or off, as well as when a broken connection has been restored.

    This was done

    -My Docs/Desktop was redirected to a Server 2003 share

    -All GPO objects was set to enable offline files, as well as some sync options.

    -When looking at the share on the server form the USer machine we need to sync, the offline files tab is there, but greyed out and disabled

    -When uplugging the nw cable, the Desktop and My Documents are not available.

    I have played around with all the settings in both user and computer in the GP, but no change.

    Could this be something on the Server not allowing the caching of files?

    I am at a loss, and I need to get some sort of plan going soon, as we need to start backing up user profiles.

    Any help will be appreciated.

    Thanks

  89. TMF says:

    Offline files missing: I have a user that uses offline files and syncs to a share on a windows 2003 server. The problem is when the computer is connected to the network all the files are there, when I disconnect the computer from the network the files are still there. When we restart the computer with the network unavialable there are files missing that should be available offline. Any thoughts as to why this is happening?

    Any help would be appreciated

    Thank You

  90. Jake says:

    I am using off line files from a share on a Windows 2003 server to XP clients.  If the client has at some time opened the file while online it bacomes avail. while off line.  If the user has not used the file personally on their notebook, the file, although in a folder marked for synchronization for offline use, is not avail. off line.  we have several engineers with notebooks sharing the same file folder from the server.

    the file folder size is about 35 gig.

    any clue as to how to get all the files to sychronize, not just the files previously opened by the specific individual?

  91. Nik says:

    I am having an issue with offline files where the sync dialog screen hangs after it is done syncing. It’s the normal stuff where it tells me certain files can’t be syncronized because of our GP. It then tells me that it failed and theres a warning type message. I have set up offline files quite few times at my work and this is the first where everything seems normal enough, syncing is working fine, but the dialog box hangs and is tellling it failed and I have to manually close everytime I log off. Any ideas please?

  92. FrankieG says:

    Hi JH v/d Merwe

    You need to go to the 2003 server and check the cache settings on the share. Do this by right mouse clicking on the folder that you have shared, then from the context menu select Sharing and Security…  Click on the Cache button.

    Select the caching option that you want.

  93. FrankieG says:

    Hi Jake

    There is a 2GB max size limit on the CSC folder by default.  See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/904676/en-us

    on how to change this value

  94. FrankieG says:

    Hi Nik

    First thing to try is to reinitialize your offline files.  Go to the Control Panel and double click on the Folder Options applet. Press Control+Shift while clicking the "Delete Files" button, then confirm your selection to begin the reinitialization.

  95. AlexZ says:

    Hi, I re initialized my offline files because the file server is not available anymore but the problem is i have lots of files which is cached at the offline files and now i deleted. Can I restore it back again?

  96. Nik says:

    Hi Again. Well I tried to reinitialize the offline files, Basically I got no response. It prompted my with the normal warning, but never asked to restart basically nothing happened??

    Here is the scenario as it stands. We have individual folders on a server in which My documents is pointed to. I made the my documents folder available offline. Later I realized that the folder was not syncing. I decided to attempted a do over buy deleting the files and making them offline again. This where obiously my lack of knowledge in the subject comes in. Now there is no option to make them offline again. The offline file viewer shows the files but the sync agent says no offline files to sync. Help me please!!

  97. Giri says:

    Hi FrankieG,

    The 2GB limit is for files created temporarily in the CSC folder. It does not apply to the files of the share marked for offline cache.  I too dont know  how/why these temp files get created.

    I’ve written a tech blog on offline files.. Let me know if it’s useful to you..

    http://offlinefiles.blogspot.com

  98. Giri says:

    Hi Nik,

    How did you delete the cached files?  as mentioned  in http://offlinefiles.blogspot.com/2007/08/frequently-asked-questions-2.html?

    If so, after the reboot, offline files should not show the server share as marked for offline because deleting the files in the above way would also clean up the the share entries from its database.

  99. Rudy Scott says:

    Dave Needle commented on a problem he had where connectivity between a workstation and Windows 2003 server would occassionally drop out.  I was suffering this same problem, and had the additional problem of losing connectivity at each initial logon.  

    Unable to find any other solution I begain pouring through my event logs trying to rid myself of each error and warning, and I think I finally came across the source of my problem.  I found some warnings that indicated the system was having trouble finding the domain controller.  After hunting around for a bit I found a knowledge base article that related this problem to "Autosensing" connection speeds in 10/100 network cards, routers, and switches.

    As per the article’s suggestion, I changed my network card to always use 100mbs full duplex rather than autosensing.  

    While I was there, I also set my wireless driver to be "disabled" when a LAN connection was present.

    This appears to have solved the problem for me.

    Yay!

  100. Chris Swearingen says:

    I’m having a different CSC problem.  I can’t get the bloody thing to turn off!  I have a laptop for my workstation.  At one time I set my entire network share to be available offline (it was less than 1GB at the time and worked fine for a while).

    Now my network share has been expanded and I only want two folders to be available offline.  Problem is that I can no longer set the previously offline-enabled files to no longer be available offline.  The option is greyed out!  If I select ALL of the files the option is there but refuses to be in a checked/unchecked state.  

    I disabled offline files and then I went to a command prompt and deleted all the files/folders inside the %WINDIR%CSC folder.  Cool everything is gone!

    Re-enable offline files and I can literally watch as every folder and file on my network share switches over to being available offline.  I don’t have to mark any of them.  They all become available offline whether I want them to or not.

    What gives?!?

  101. Paul says:

    Users on my network are experiencing the following problem: Their logon scripts map multiple shared drives, all from a single Netapp fileserver. The mappings include H: (their home directory), P: (public share), and G: (groupdata share), etc.

    The problem occurs when a user enables offline files on thier PC and configures their home directory (mapped as H:) to synchronize. The synchronization works fine, BUT when the user attempts to access the other shared directories, such as P: (public), or G: (groupdata), they see only the empty root folder, none of the subfolders or contents, even though the drives have multiple subfolders and files, and were mapped at logon. If I disable synchronization of the H: drive, all of the contents of the mapped P and G drives magically are once again visible and available. If you attempt to manually map one of these drives while synchonization of H: is enabled, you receive an error stating the "network drive is not found". I have seen this issue on multiple client machines on my network and so far have been unable find anything to help resolve it. It’s been an ongoing issue for more than a few months. Any input at all is greatly appreciated.

  102. Travus says:

    Have the following issue , anyone see this before ?? We have a Group Ploicy that redirects all users My Documents to server location, no problem there all works fine. One user however has an issue where he takes the laptop home and is working offline all the files in his My Documents open as Read Only and then he has to save them as "Copy of xxxx.xls" . He can work on files fine when in the office and synchroniztion works fine when logging on and off but when offline the files are Read Only.

    The user is granted exclusive rights to the My Documents folder via the Group Policy but this is true for many laptop users and this problem has not come up for anyone else. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. User is on XP Pro on Dell laptop.

  103. John says:

    Got a laptop user that uses the offline folders facility for his my documents area.

    He’s started to get "Access to ‘filename’ is denied on  \serverusersusersnamemy Documentsfolderfolder for any files that he’s looked at or created whilst offline.

    Other laptop users dont have this problem.

    I’ve checked share permissions, NTFS permissions and Ownership as per MS User Data and Setting Management White paper and all are OK.

    Any ideas?

  104. Pete B says:

    I am having an issue where offline files sync just fine except the folder structure does not transfer.  example- you have 10 folders- 10 docs each on your network drive.  when you sync and look offline all that is there is 100 docs- no folders.

    we have tried checking the setting for keeping folders when setting up the sync and also tested that our group poicly in active directory was set to do so as well with no change.

    Has anyone else experienced this?  if so what setting needs to be changed to keep the folder structure offline?

  105. Denise says:

    Hi there,

    I am reliant on Offline Files. Our server crashed and was rebuilt with the same name, but I had to get a new profile established. Offline Files has always worked beautifully for me until my new profile was established.

    I do have the option “Always Available Offline”, but I can’t actually select this option. I click to check it, and nothing happens. I right click again, and it’s not selected. Essentially my selection simply won’t stick. If I go through properties and the “Offline Files” tab, again, I can check the option to make available offline, but nothing happens. When I go back in it’s not checked.

    Here’s a bit of background:

    1. I am running Vista Business version 6 (build 6000) on a Dell Inspiron notebook 1501 with SBS 2003.

    2. I have cleared all the cache

    3. I have disabled offline files, restarted, and made available again to no avail.

    4. I have installed the hotfix found in KB article 935663 (I know this was going overboard as my issue is not permission related, but I was getting desperate)

    5. The cscsvc.dll file is in c:windowsscs and there is a directory called c:windowscsc

    6. I have tried to make files available offline through networking another machine (not a server- another client) in our network with the same problem. We have one other desktop running Vista Business and his computer works fine when trying to Make Files Available online. However, he never had this option set up prior to the server crash. This leads me to believe it’s not a server issue, but an issue specific to my machine.

    7. My queries yeild the following:

    C:Usersesserd.NEWENGLANDARBOR.000>sc query csc

    SERVICE_NAME: csc

    TYPE : 1 KERNEL_DRIVER

    STATE : 4 RUNNING

    (STOPPABLE, NOT_PAUSABLE, IGNORES_SHUTDOWN)

    WIN32_EXIT_CODE : 0 (0x0)

    SERVICE_EXIT_CODE : 0 (0x0)

    CHECKPOINT : 0x0

    WAIT_HINT : 0x0

    C:Usersesserd.NEWENGLANDARBOR.000>sc query cscservice

    SERVICE_NAME: cscservice

    TYPE : 20 WIN32_SHARE_PROCESS

    STATE : 4 RUNNING

    (STOPPABLE, NOT_PAUSABLE, ACCEPTS_SHUTDOWN)

    WIN32_EXIT_CODE : 0 (0x0)

    SERVICE_EXIT_CODE : 0 (0x0)

    CHECKPOINT : 0x0

    WAIT_HINT : 0x0

    C:Usersesserd.NEWENGLANDARBOR.000>sc qc csc

    [SC] QueryServiceConfig SUCCESS

    SERVICE_NAME: csc

    TYPE : 1 KERNEL_DRIVER

    START_TYPE : 1 SYSTEM_START

    ERROR_CONTROL : 1 NORMAL

    BINARY_PATH_NAME : system32driverscsc.sys

    LOAD_ORDER_GROUP : network

    TAG : 9

    DISPLAY_NAME : Offline Files Driver

    DEPENDENCIES : rdbss

    SERVICE_START_NAME :

    Sorry to be so detailed. Maybe it’s simple. I just wanted to give as much information as possible. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  106. Roger says:

    John Nov 28 2007:

    Did you ever get a resolution to your problem? I have sort of the same problem here.

    If my user works on a file synchronized from the network when offline, or if he creates a new file in a network directory when offline, then synchronization at logon fails with "access" denied. Bizarrely, though, synchronization succeeds at logoff.

    No other users have this problem, on what seem to be identically configured machines.

    We’re running Windows 2000 Server SP4 and XP Pro SP2 (all updates installed) on the laptop and on the file server being synched to.

    Does anyone have any thoughts?

  107. lenova says:

    @Paul:

    I have the exact same issue on my network.  Here’s what I’ve tried so far (hasn’t worked for me, but may work for you):

    —— Fix #1 ——

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/297684

    Change this registry key:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServiceslanmanserverparameters]

    "autodisconnect"=dword:ffffffff

    —— Fix #2 ——

    Change Slow Link Detection to "disabled" in Registry:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionNetCache]

    "GoOfflineOnSlowLink"=dword:00000000

    —— Fix #3 ——

    Install hotfix KB900387 (you will have to call Microsoft for the patch)

    Let me know if you ever solve the problem.  Cheers!

  108. Pisboi says:

    I have had the Access denied message when synchronizing, and it was related to expired EFS certificates (when you encrypt cached files).

    Try this, and see if the certificates are expired:

    Log on as administrator at the first DC in the domain. Click Start , point to Programs , point to Administrative Tools , and then click Active Directory Users and Computers .

    In the Active Directory Users and Computers console, right-click your domain name, and then click Properties .

    In the domain Properties dialog box, click the Group Policy tab. Click the highest priority domain Group Policy object (GPO), and then click Edit .

    Expand the top-level domain policy node, and then expand Computer Configuration . Expand the Windows Settings node, and then expand the Security Settings node. Expand the Public Key Policies node, and then click the Encrypted Data Recovery node.

  109. Thormj says:

    2 Questions:

    1.  Is there a way to see why it thought the server was disconnected?

    Originally, we had wifi networking, and the server would go "offline" (not too much of a problem, except the print and "archive" shares would disappear until I resync’d).  I attributed it to a wifi-hit (and it didn’t happen very often).

    Now, I’m using Gig-E, and it doesn’t stay connected for > 30 minutes, but the switch doesn’t report any errors of any kind for either of the ports….

    This behavior is also occuring using the "connect to small business server", even though the "connection" never drops.

    2. Can I make Mobsync more selective as to when it tries?  Having it pop-up when I connect to my home lan (wifi) is annoying.  I found where I could indicate network connections to sync on, but it doesn’t differentiate between different network adapters (I could get away with "Sync on Wired and Connect to SBS2003")…

  110. Tim Bosinius says:

    Since this blog is the most likely the best place on the net for Offline files – I thought I add something that some of you might find helpful.

    With XPSp2 the mobsync /login & /logoff switches are gone, as most of you know. But here:

    http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb787862(VS.85).aspx

    you will find a piece of vbscript code, that will allow to trigger the sync again.

    I deactivated offline sync on logon and logoff via a GPO (computer policy) and wrote a user logon and logoff script (with just a few lines more to detect network connectivity) based on the code above.

    Benefit: notebooks directly use offline files and the user will not see the sync dialog when the working outside the corporate network (e.g. home network as questioned in the blog entry above). Sync is still done automatically, when the user reconnects to the corporate network.

    The next thing I suggest to anyone: If you use Folder Redirection (like we do) Offline files for laptops are mandatory. Make sure to store these folders on a fast server/SAN disks (RAID 1 or RAID 10) and put a quota on it (e.g. 500MB) This makes the sync much faster and people don’t get to annoyed with the offline sync anymore.

    Additionally we now assign a home directory again (fells like old NT4 days), where users have more control if they want to sync or not. The Microsoft SyncToy does a great job there as secondary tool.

    I hope that helps some readers of this blog :)

  111. Thanks Tim! I fixed the URL in your comment – I suspect it got mangled by the text box.

  112. Rick says:

    I’m seeing a similar issue to "Friday, September 21, 2007 12:44 PM by Paul". User has a shortcut to a network share which after time will appear empty or will have partial file/folder listing. Disabling Offline or then re-enabling will solve issue and full listing will return. This is on the same server as his redirected/offline cached My Docs folder.

    Anyone have a fix?

  113. Mike says:

    In reference to the script reference posted by Tim Bosinius —

    Tim, if I understand you correctly, you have replaced the xp full sync at logon and full sync at logoff with:

    1. A logon script for sync, since it will obviously only run when the DC is available to provide a login script at which point the file server would presumably be available also.

    2. A logoff script for sync with an added check for whether network is present so it doesn’t waste time timing out if the network isn’t present.

    This sounds great.

    Questions:

    1.  Can these scripts be updated to only run if the desired file server is present to prevent a network connection alone from triggering the sync?

    2.  Does running this script while logged in or during log off show a status display or is it silent/hidden?

    3. Is there any way to use this script instead of the default windows behavior for prompting to synch on reconnect (i.e. when a computer is logged in and then connected to a network) or on idle — i.e. the ideal would be to

        1. make it intelligent enough to check to see if the actual server is present and

        2. to make it run automatically and silently (without prompting)

    Last thing — I am not a programmer.  I opened the link and saw a page referencing "Synchronize Method".  Could you give me a hint at how would I would go about using this?  I am familiar with creating simple batch scripts.

    I know these are a lot of questions — I appreciate any feedback I can get.  Thanks

  114. Tim Bosinius says:

    Hi Mike,

    regarding your questions:

    1. We use DFS + replication for our redirected folders. This ensures that roaming users will have a file server with a fast connection for "My Documents" and the "Desktop". I check in the script if the client is currently connected to a site, which has a replica of these files. (by checking the ip subnet information from AD)

    A more selective sync – say if server A is present, than just sync this server – it not possible right now.

    2. Unfortunately it is NOT silent. The function will automatically display the default Sync UI in all its beauty…. – it doesn’t prompt the user for anything (if there aren’t any errors during the sync)

    3. We tested the script as post connect action in our VPN client, so when a users reconnects via VPN a sync is triggered. Again – this will display the sync dialog (which will automatically disappear after the sync is done). However – depending on where you user is – VPNs can be too slow for a sync – so I removed this.

    3.1.  Well, I can’t –  but in theory somebody with more programming skills might be able to do it, by using this function http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb761032(VS.85).aspx

    3.2 it already runs automatically. No user input is required right now. It is just not silent. Since the dialog is triggered when t syncronize function is called, I don’t know how to hide it (hmm – maybe be screwing around with window handles? – I don’t know)

    All you need is to copy the code from the Microsoft MSDN url, paste in in notepad (or the editor of your choice) change UNC in the script to match your environment and start it as a user GPO script. We had some issues with older user profiles, where we couldn’t change the snyc settings via GPO) – make sure to test it with a fresh user profile.

    Cheers,

    Tim

  115. Wayne Brown says:

    For the Access is Denied posts throughout this blog the information below fixed my problem!! (and it wasn’t even a Microsoft Problem!)

    This only applies if you have Embassy Wave Systems software installed on your PC (I have all Dell PC’s and didn’t even know this was on there.)

    Turns out it was the Document Manager portion of the Embassy Wave

    Systems suite that was impacting file synchronization.  The quick way

    to verify this was to just end the process WavXDocMgr via task manager

    and then try to sync.  When doing this, the sync should work now

    manually and during logon&#8230; no more access denied errors.  The

    service can be disabled via msconfig > startup > uncheck WavXDocMgr and

    reboot.  This might not be the cleanest method but uninstalling the

    entire suite or just the Doc Manager portion produced Msiinstaller

    issues.  I am sure they could have been resolved via a

    reinstall/uninstall or manual uninstall.  I just cleared the service

    from startup and rebooted&#8230; it did not impact startup by doing so

    this way.  Everything worked fine with CSC and sync after.

    Forums that led me to troubleshooting the Embassy Wave Systems suite:

    http://forums.techarena.in/showthread.php?t=942215″>http://forums.techarena.in/showthread.php?t=942215

    http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Window

    mfrancis

    ————————————————————————

    mfrancis’s Profile: http://forums.techarena.in/member.php?userid=47123″>http://forums.techarena.in/member.php?userid=47123

    View this thread: http://forums.techarena.in/showthread.php?t=942215″>http://forums.techarena.in/showthread.php?t=942215

    http://forums.techarena.in

  116. James says:

    Hi, Hope someone can help?

    I have user with an XP Pro Sp2 build, the offline folders and files fails to sync using Make Available Offline; the sync never initiates, the transfer wizard never starts (assume this has already run for the user), but this is the key thing.. the intended folder icon never changes to the blue sync arrows.  I’ve tried this with a new user profile, the Xfer wizard start but I’m left in the same situation.

    I’ve run through the MS article re–initialize CSC… but this has no affect, I’ve also looked at the local GP User / Computer config | Administrative Templates | Network | Offline Files| Options.. no good.

    I’ve only seen one other forum posting without solution / response.

    Any guidance would be great…

    TIA

  117. Alex R says:

    Using Windows XP-SP2 with Windows Server 2003.

    On one user notebook, we are trying to enable offline folders.

    Using explorer we can access [Tools]/[FolderOptions] without any problem. We can access all of the tabs on the windows EXCEPT the [Offline Folders] tab. The system "hangs", and the only way to regain access is to reboot.

    Any thoughts … without a rebuild!

    Thanks

  118. Brent Johnson says:

    Wayne Brown you are the man! I worked all day on this, and you nailed it!

    Thanks billions.

    My issue was access denied when syncronizing files created while offline. Disabling Dell Wireless Wave Access Document Manager fixed the issue.

  119. Dave says:

    OK, I have a problem not previously discussed above. I wish to walk away from using file synchronization and delete the CSC files as I have 100GB+ of synchronized file space that I would like to reclaim.

    I’m fearful of directly deleting the native CSC files without knowing whether there’s an approved Windows-based app that needs to manage that. I’ve scoured MSDN and Microsoft.com, but to no avail.

    Any ideas whether it’s safe to delete the native CSC files? Who has done it successfully?

    Is it just me, or is it plain stupid to think that noone would want to discontinue the synch and  want to delete the old synch’d files. If there’s a way to do that, I haven’t stumbled across is.

    Thanks all.

  120. BillR says:

    Anyone have any ideas for Thormj? We are experiencing similar issues with offline files. Offline files will intermitently show that a server is unavailable while a notebook is docked and wired. Other applications that require network connectivity are not impacted and other drive mappings that don’t contain offline files are still available so I know that the network connection hasn’t dropped. We were thinking that it my have something to do with our VPN client so we removed it and reset the IP stack, winsock and reinitialized the IP stack, but none of that has worked. Is there any logging or anything we can look at to help troublehsoot? Thanks for your help. Bill

  121. PRicho says:

    We have issues at the moment when saving .docs or moving .docs into an offline folder the computer will just freeze and will require a reboot. we have tried moving the users share, taking it off the DFS, clearing the cache to no avail. A full Rebuild fixes the problem.

    As it is just .Docs we have tried clearning the template file.

    Random.

  122. john says:

    I m using a Lan messenger. Some users are in online. But there names are displayed in offiline in my buddy list. How to solve this?

  123. Of all my blog posts, the one that generates the most reliable stream of comments is “ User comments

  124. F Peeters says:

    We have something weird with Offline Files:

    When 2 users in the office edit the same file, the second gets the option to overwrite or create a new copy.

    When they chose the latter option, it is saved correctly on the server, but neither of the 2 editors can see both files. (As neither of them are in the office right now, I cannot verify which one they do see, the original, the copy or each their own version…)

    People accessing the share directly, can see both copies…

    I tried searching for similar issues, but that proved impossible due to the sheer number of results returned…

    Any help/suggestions would be appreciated…

  125. Adrian Hobett says:

    We have what may be the same problem as "Monday, June 09, 2008 4:26 AM by PRicho" .

    We use 2003 Std. Ed. Sp2 Servers, client Laptops are all Toshiba models, with local profiles set by GPO.

    The My Documents folder is redirected to the Server by GPO.

    When a Word (Office 2003 inc SP3, 2007 Compatability) document is opened offline it freezes the Laptop, with only a hard shutdown an option.

    Sometimes if they save the word document whilst online, Word will lock up and eventually take Windows down with it, requiring a hard shutdown.

    Clearing the CSC cache has not effect. Re-establishing the whole synchronisation process after using CSCcmd to clense the Laptop has no effect.

    Rebuilding the Laptop has been the only solution.

    Most of the latest batch of Laptops have developed the problem – after a month or more of use –  around 40 all imaged by WDS (Sat Pro A200s of various sub model). However older models of Toshiba Laptops are experiencing the problem right back to Tecra L10s and A120s.

    Each small group of Laptops connects to its own independant and slightly unique domain server over a city wide area.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  126. Malcolm Ashton says:

    I have been having recent issues with offline files. Offline files will intermitently show that a server is unavailable while a notebook is docked and wired. Other applications that require network connectivity are not impacted and other drive mappings that don’t contain offline files are still available so I know that the network connection hasn’t dropped. We were thinking that it my have something to do with our VPN client so we removed it and reset the IP stack, winsock and reinitialized the IP stack, but none of that has worked. Is there any logging or anything we can look at to help troublehsoot? Thanks for your help. Malcolm

  127. James says:

    I’m trying to get detailed debugging information from offline files written to a log file, and the Microsoft support site (KB 225516) says that one must place the ‘checked version’ of cscui.dll in the system32 folder. I’ve spent hours subsequently trying to a) find out what a checked version dll is, and b) find out where to get the checked version of cscui.dll.

    Apparently Microsoft Technical Support will help me out for a whopping $100 or thereabouts! Is there no other way to get this file? And if not, is there any other way of debugging Offline Files? It’s not an error that I’m trying to debug, I’m just trying to understand the network usage and calls that it makes. Win 2000 Pro.

    Any suggestions would be really appreciated.

  128. John says:

    I looked and didn’t see this…so I’m just going to ask and am hopefully not duplicating things. I just enabled offline files in vista and it worked fine for to share files. But I also want my wife to be able to share the same files. Basically, I have her and my files (documents, desktop, downloads, pictures, etc) from one computer available offline on another. I access both. I also have the public music folder available. But, when I go to her account she does not have any of these in her sync folder. I went to control panel and they show under the whole computers list…but she does not have access.

    I figured I can just right click and make them available from her side…but I thought this might make more local copies.

    This becomes even more important as I need to run quicken against one of these offline files and that needs to be set to run as administrator. So, the admin account will also need to have access to these offline files (I’ve already handled getting into the admin account…so that is all set).

    Don’t know if it matters, but after I got them available offline I was going to make our documents, pictures, and videos files, as well as the public music, point to the network files. That way all that is nicely linked.

    Hope that’s clear enough…please let me know if you need any more details.

  129. Dan Saltman says:

    We are experiencing similar issues with offline files. Offline files will intermitently show that a server is unavailable while a notebook is docked and wired. Other applications that require network connectivity are not impacted and other drive mappings that don’t contain offline files are still available so I know that the network connection hasn’t dropped. We were thinking that it my have something to do with our VPN client so we removed it and reset the IP stack, winsock and reinitialized the IP stack, but none of that has worked. Is there any logging or anything we can look at to help troublehsoot? Thanks for your help.

  130. wblitz says:

    If this is a problem, you may want to disable auto-caching on shares hosting these redirected shell special folders, for example “My Pictures”, “My Music”, and “My Videos”.

    can you explain how to do so ?

  131. A user’s emailed solution to an earlier problem:

    "This fixes the mysterious disabled "offline files issue" of years ago.

    Error message "A recently installed program has disabled the Welcome screen and Fast User Switching" while turning on the Welcome Screen

    Updated: June 26, 2005

    Send your feedback

    Symptom

    When you attempt to turn on Fast User Switching or Welcome Screen, you may receive a message stating that a program used CSGina.dll ( or any other DLL ginamsi.dll etc ) to disable the Fast User Switching and the Windows Welcome screen features. The exact error message follows:

    A recently installed program has disabled the Welcome screen and Fast User Switching. To restore these features, you must uninstall the program. The following file name might help you identify the program that made the change: <DLL filename varies>

    Cause

    This issue occurs if a third-party GinaDLL value is set in the registry, thus disabing the Microsoft Graphical Identification and Authentication file (Msgina.dll) automatically. CSGINA.DLL is a filter driver of Cisco Systems VPN Dialer program. The filename may vary depending upon the software that you’ve installed.

    Resolution

    To resolve the problem and restore the Welcome Screen and Fast User Switching, you need to reset the GinaDLL entry using these steps:

    Click Start, Run and type REGEDIT

    Navigate to the following key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows NT CurrentVersion Winlogon

    Backup the key by exporting to a file.

    In the right pane, right-click GinaDLL, and then click Delete. (You need to remove the whole value, not just its Value Data) Close Registry Editor Automate the above steps with this REG file Download ginadll.reg and save to desktop. Double-click to apply the REG file."

  132. Tobias says:

    Hi I have Vista business installed on my HP laptop SP2

    Connected to SBS 2003, my Hp laptop I can mak available offline.And the always available offline is there

    But howerever

    On my Acer Laptop Vista business is installed the same setup as above but i cant make it available offline, and the always available offline option is not there.

    I see previously posted on your website about this issue, i dont see anybody coming up with a resolution to this, is there a fix?

    Please Help

  133. Justin says:

    Hello all.  I have a question for the group.

    In the next few weeks, a new server share will be put in place for user personal files that are redirected to them on their local machine.  Some of our users have offline files.  I understand that csccmd.exe is a tool that can be used on the local machine to connect the offline files database to move the share location, but I was wondering if there was anything that could be done server side?  

    Thanks for any help.

  134. Jane says:

    I’m using offline files in a networked environment.  I have my documents folder on the server set to work offline.  I’d like to turn off the work offline feature for some of the folders within the My documents folder; however, when I right click and want to uncheck work offline, that option is greyed out.  Is there a way to change your offline settings so that you can reselect the folders or files you want to use offline.  Whenever I disable and then re-enable the feature, the My Documents folder is automatically set up to sync.  Thanks.

    Jane

  135. Gabriel says:

    re: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 11:10 AM by Jane

    this depends on the gpo settings defined.

    if the offline files gpo setting "Subfolders always available offline" is enabled, users do not have the option of excluding the subfolders.

  136. benny says:

    Question; I have windows 7. I connect to shares on a windows server. i setup a folder in one of those shares to be made available to me offline… which works great. However when im physically connected to the network and i login and authenticate fine, if someone deletes files in the folder that i have set to be availble offline, those files still show in my explorer. They continue to show until i manually sync or reboot. Question is how do you make that happen in real time while im online?

    thanks,

    bsumandig@api.com

  137. Manny says:

    Hey…

    I have a desktop with offline folders. When I am logged in as myself(with admin rights) and modify a file within offline folder, this modified file is not available under a different login (user has rights to this folder). It seems like any changes between the users are not synched while the pc is offline. Any idea on how can I make sure that the latest file is always available to all users of this PC?

    Thanks for your time.

  138. Marten Edwards says:

    I have problems restoring unsynched offline files after a disk crasch. I have been able to restore the c:windowscsc files. Using XP Pro. I have downloaded rktools and in this way got csccmd.exe.

    From another comment in this blog I have tried

    mkdir c:recoveredfiles

    csccmd /extract:\myservermyshare  /target:c:recoveredfiles  /recurse /onlymodified

    However, in the csccmd version I have obtained the only options are /ENABLE, /DISABLE, /RESID, /DISCONNECT, and /MOVESHARE. /Extract, /target, /recurse, and /onlymodified are not available (at least it seems so when typing csccmd /?.

    So… apparently I am doing something wrong here. It would be great to get some clues of how to proceed.

    Best regards / Marten

  139. ruudboek says:

    Hi, could please confirm that my solution i correct?

    We have have setup offline files in our network by configuring the appropriate GPO's.

    Basically what it comes down to is that offline is configured by these policies:

    Computer policy:

    Configure slow-link mode > Enabled  

    UNC Paths: >  

    \servernamehome$ Latency=0

    User policy:

    Administratively assigned offline files > Enabled  

    Specify network files and folders that are always available offline:>

    \servernamehome$%username%  

    The problem:

    When a user logs onto a freshly installed windows 7 SP1 workstation the sync partnership is present.

    When that users logs off and then another user logs on, there is no sync partnership present for that other user.

    When that other user goes to his home drive, that user is confronted with the following error:

    H:Refers to a location that does not exist.

    A gpresult /r run under that other user shows that all the appropriate GPO's have been applied successfully.

    I found out that the problem seems to deeper. It appears that if the first user logs on and simply sets its homedirectory offline, then logoff and login as another user, that other user Will not be able to get to his home directory (H:Refers to a location that does not exist error).

    If you then login as the first user again and simply switch it's homedirectory to online, then logoff and login as the other user the homedirectory of that user can be reached again.

    Apparently offline files works like this: It takes the the whole \servernamehome$ and puts it offline as a whole, including every folder that is underneath the home$ share, which in our case, includes every homedirectory of every user.

    This also made me solve the problem. If i simply make the home directory of each user a share and configure offline files to use \servername%username%$, there is no problem. Apparently only "\servershare1" is treated as an independant item that allows it to be switched offline/online without causing another "\servershare2" path to be switched to offline/online.

    Can you please confirm that my finding are correct?

    See also this technet post:

    social.technet.microsoft.com/…/6ad53d1f-c54f-4099-bd6a-8058b6543f2a