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Have a question on offline files?

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

Update (23rd October):
Comments are closed on this page as the page length has already crossed the normal level. Instead you can go to https://www.technlg.net/windows/offline-files-user-questions/ to ask questions.  Thank you!!

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Martin Schultz August 22, 2010, 9:16 am

    I have a Windows 2003 Domain Controller which has about 50 clients connected to it – these are a mixture of W2K Pro, XP Pro and W7 Pro.

    The previous administrator setup Group Policy on the domain controller to redirect My Documents to the server. This works OK but Offline Files does not work and is disabled (No Offline Files tab in Folder Options)?

    I have checked the GPO settings over and over again but cannot see anything obvious reason for this. Below are the GPO settings for User ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesNetworkOffline Files (all not configured);

    Setting State
    Prohibit user configuration of Offline Files Not configured
    Synchronize all offline files when logging on Not configured
    Synchronize all offline files before logging off Not configured
    Synchronize offline files before suspend Not configured
    Action on server disconnect Not configured
    Non-default server disconnect actions Not configured
    Remove 'Make Available Offline' Not configured
    Prevent use of Offline Files folder Not configured
    Administratively assigned offline files Not configured
    Turn off reminder balloons Not configured
    Reminder balloon frequency Not configured
    Initial reminder balloon lifetime Not configured
    Reminder balloon lifetime Not configured
    Event logging level Not configured
    Prohibit 'Make Available Offline' for these file and folders Not configured
    Do not automatically make redirected folders available offline Not configured

    All suggestions to resolve this issue gratefully received.


    Martin Schultz
    MSTech Computer Services

  • Srini August 23, 2010, 5:15 am

    There are few things we need to check for this issue. lets look at them one by one.

    Is this problem only for Windows XP? In Windows 7 enabling offline files is through different user interface, not through folder options(See Enabling offline files in Windows 7)

    If this problem is only on XP, then check this post No offline files tab in folder options

    If you have the problem on both xp and win7 then there must be something wrong in GP itself.
    You mentioned that you checked user configuration group policies. Have you checked the group policy settings under Computer Configuration node?

    Is this problem only on one computer? or all the computers in the domain? If this is only on single PC then check that computer's group policy settings by running gpedit.msc

  • Martin Schultz August 23, 2010, 7:42 am

    This problem occurs for all PCs (W7, XP and W2K)

    I have checked both User and Computer configurations which are all set to their defaults.

    So your suggestion is "there must be something wrong in GP itself" – How do I determine what the problem is?

  • Srini August 25, 2010, 8:39 am

    I am not able to guess any other reason for not seeing offline files tab..one basic thing..you are checking this on XP pro right? as xp home does not support offline files…similarly on Win7 it is not supported on Home and home premium editions..

    And what's the error you are seeing in case of Win7? In the start search button if you type in 'offline files' do you see any links like 'manage offline files'. see the snapshot here

    There's a tool called cscsniff.exe which dumps all registry/GP settings on a XP machine..You may try this..see this for getting this tool.

  • Anonymous September 5, 2010, 12:13 pm

    How to remove just on server/host from offline files?
    I had two rather big servers in offline files and want to remove one. Removing all the folders doesn't help, there still is an "empty" offline version – i.e. the Network share shows an empty folder and then goes online sometime, instead of going online directly.
    The Format CSC-Cache is not quite an Option as the other still used server has quite many and specific chosen offline files.


  • Srini September 5, 2010, 2:32 pm

    If I have understood your question correctly, you have offline cache of two server shares(say A and B) and want to remove the files of one of the two servers from the cache(say A). If A is still available then opening the share from client machine and the unpinning it will remove those files from Cache. This solution works only if A is still online.

    If A is offline then you can unpin the files using csccmd command with /unpin2 option. You can check //support.microsoft.com/kb/884739
    This is csccmd 1.1 version which you can get by contacting MS support team.

    Let me know if this solves your problem.

  • Anonymous September 8, 2010, 12:44 pm

    Greetings all.

    A seasoned tech, I find myself joining my users in complete confoundment over the following Windows 7 / Sync Center issue: I am wondering if you can shed light on how to revert this back to normal operation?

    Previous behaviour statement:
    Set up: Windows XP client bears Mapped Network drives to Shares on a Windows Server 2003.
    Behaviour expectation: If I set one of those network drives to be available offline, the XP Client dutifully sync's it. When I am offline in any other circumstance, all other network drives are missing(I think) but the "sync'd" drive is ready and waiting (in offline mode). This behaviour is seamless and users don't really notice=Perfection.

    The Windows 7 / Sync Center issue:
    Take precisely the same scenario as above but now substitute the XP machine for a W7Pro machine, sync the network drive and disconnect.

    I am finding the following seriously negative/infuriating "benefits":

    When offline after hibernation
    1) Explorer continues to show the sync'd drive letter and content and allows you to continue to access and modify the content. Perfect.

    When offline after a shut down (journey home) power up:
    1) Explorer shows you all the network drives that are no longer connected but DOES NOT show you the one drive you synchronised to be available always (!!?!!)
    2) If you navigate to the Networks area in Explorer it shows you the machines on the network you're now attached to, but not the server you sync'd against. = The sync'd data is missing / apparently unavailable.

    What does this mean? – That regular users have no way, after restart, of getting to their sync'd data via the standard methods they use when in the office.

    Now: Leaving the previous explorer instance open, showing "Network" and not the (cached server connection) you now need – Navigate to Sync Center, click on offline files, right click the share/server you previously synchronised and choose Browse Contents of Sharename (\servername)) – Voila! – a new instance of Explorer appears, just like the last, but this one now has appended the missing cached server and share.

    What on earth is this all about? This has confounded a number of users and is a complete U-Turn in fluid functionality demonstrated by XP and Sync Manager.

    Can anyone shed light on how Sync Center can be altered to demonstrate the offline functionality we've all enjoyed for the last 7 years with XP?

    Hopefully yours
    Leonard Shelby
    Network Administrator

  • Srini September 8, 2010, 2:28 pm

    For me this looks like a bug in offline files feature…If you are an enterprise customer I would suggest to contact Microsoft's support channel and ask for a fix…I am sorry that I do not have a solution for your problem..

  • William September 8, 2010, 3:37 pm

    my PC synchronizes files from my account and from another user's account. the other user has an account in our network
    , but not on my local PC.

    1 – how to stop this?
    2 – can i simply delete the other user's stuff from the Offline Files Folder?

  • Srini September 8, 2010, 3:48 pm


    there's a fix available for this problem. you can get it from //support.microsoft.com/kb/811660
    For more information on this issue see
    Stop other users offline files synchronization

    You can stop the synchronization by deleting the cache also. Deleting the files directly from csc folder is not recommended. See Deleting CSC cache in XP

    Thanks for visiting the site. Let me know if you have any further questions.

  • Anonymous September 9, 2010, 3:15 pm

    I have an issue with offline file caching that has to do with an upgrade. One of my users XP notebooks finally crashed for good and I have moved their whole hard drive to their new Windows 7 system.

    How going forward can I take their old cache and have their synchronized files appear in their new Documents area?

  • Srini September 10, 2010, 5:56 am

    As you know offline files are stored in [systemdrive]:windowscsc folder. In Vista and Windows 7 the structure of this folder is different from that of Windows XP. So even if you manage to retain the files in csc folder during upgrade, Win7 CSC won't be able to recognize these files.

    So for your case I would suggest that you do a full sync before upgrade(so that any offline made changes would be replicated to the server) and once the upgrade is done make the folder offline available. If this is related to My Documents then they would be automatically cached. User does not need to do right click and 'Always Available offline' stuff.

    Hope this helps.

  • REP September 13, 2010, 4:08 pm

    I´m using offline files to sync desktop files from work in a laptop. In the last few days I´m receiving the error "The data area passed to a system call is too small", for every file I have worked offline, and I can´t sync automatically. In order to remove the error I need to copy manually the files to the desktop and resync, and error goes away.

    Any idea about this? I am using Windows 7 Professional both in the desktop and the laptop.


  • Srini September 13, 2010, 6:30 pm

    Are you running any antivirus s/w ?.

    Looks like there are few more people having this issue..


    AFAIK, there does not seem to be any solution available to this issue. The only suggestion I have to your pronblem is to try reinitializing the csc cache and mark the folder for offline availability afresh..

  • Anonymous October 12, 2010, 7:46 pm

    Hi I am using the off line files feature in Windows 7 on my laptop. I inadvertantly disconnected the mapped drive associated with the offline files so now I cannot access the files, how do I recover the files from the CSC folders? I have found all the files but cannot open any of them.

  • Srini October 13, 2010, 2:29 pm

    I need more info to answer your query. Are you able to view the the files from View offline files button in Offline files management window? Can you see the files when you open the network share (in offline mode)?

  • Anonymous October 15, 2010, 6:24 pm

    I use offline files to sync from my Windows Home Server to my laptop (Windows 7, Professional). My Home Server died, and now I would like to restore my offline files from my laptop back to the original location on the rebuilt Home Server.

    I am afraid that when I join my laptop back to the WHS group, that all of the files will be erased/deleted as the new source location is empty. What do you suggest?

  • Srini October 16, 2010, 2:55 pm

    Offline files looks at the time stamps to decide which way to sync the files. In your case it may treat the new server share as the latest and may delete the local cache as you said. This is a risky thing to do and may result in data loss.

    I would suggest to take a copy of the files on the laptop using the 'view your offline files' button in offline files management window. Take backup of these files to another folder and then connect the laptop to the network. Even if sync deletes the cached files you can directly copy the backed up files to the share. In the next sync offline files gets them to the local cache also. This way you can have both laptop and WHS back to the old state.

  • Anonymous October 20, 2010, 7:37 pm

    You were exactly right regarding the files being lost due to the WHS having a newer date. Luckily, I didn't lose any data!

    My next question involves the file encryption option- How much overhead does enabling the encryption put on my laptop? I like the idea of the encryption, but don't want to commit too much power to it.

  • Srini October 21, 2010, 3:09 pm

    I don't think it adds much overhead..you can enable it without any performance impact..

  • David October 22, 2010, 2:06 pm

    Question: is there a way to make the warning dialog about files that couldn't get synched go away after a period of time? This would be in Windows XP.

    Problem is that some of our users have PST, MDB, DBF files wich are not synched by default. When they shutdown their PCs, they can't leave their desks until syncronization finishes, otherwise the computer would not turn off.

  • Srini October 23, 2010, 6:05 pm

    You can make the files sync by removing them from the default exclusion list.Check Excluded file types for offline files caching

    You can also suppress the sync error for excluded files. Check the below kb article for more information on this. //support.microsoft.com/kb/811660. Search for 'Exclusion error suppression' in the article.

    Hope this helps.

  • Srini October 23, 2010, 6:13 pm

    Comments are closed on this page as the page length has already crossed the normal level. Instead you can go to //offlinefiles.blogspot.com/2010/10/offline-files-user-questions.html to ask questions. Thank you!!

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