≡ Menu

Disable offline files using registry key

Offline Files has got its own user interface to disable the feature. But in case if you want to do it by hacking the registry or through a batch script, this article shows how you can do that. Since Offline files has changed a lot in Vista and Windows 7 when compared with XP, find separate steps below for each version.

Vista / Windows 7

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

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

Windows XP

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

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

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

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

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Anonymous February 15, 2011, 4:23 pm

    Thanks for this solution, been looking everywhere to disable this!

  • Anonymous March 17, 2011, 9:19 pm

    For Windows 7, you can stop the service using the service manager and then disable the service. This will prevent it from restarting after a reboot, and it becomes unnecessary to edit the registry manually.

  • Anonymous December 4, 2011, 1:44 am

    Excellent! Thanks.

  • Anonymous February 5, 2012, 4:14 am

    wonderful, thanks!

  • Anonymous April 12, 2012, 1:30 pm

    Thank you so much! Even logged on as Administrator that box was greyed out. My head and wall appreciate this.

  • trever dennis February 2, 2016, 6:35 pm

    Excellent information. Thank you for posting these resolutions; saved a chunk of trouble shooting …Trever

Leave a Comment