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Mobile Computing

A general overview of Offline Files options is presented earlier in this book. (See Managing Files, Folders, and Search Methods ) Two of those options are particularly relevant to portable computer users: the size of the cache and the way Offline Files behave when network connections are disconnected.

Offline Files allows you to configure the amount of disk space that is used to store offline files (in other words, you can configure the size of the local cache). This option only affects offline files that are stored automatically; it does not affect offline files that are stored manually. Because disk space is often limited on a portable computer, you might want to modify this value if you are relying on automatic caching. By default, the value is set at 10 percent of disk size.

For manually stored files, the cache size is limited only by available disk space, up to a maximum value of 2 gigabytes (GB). This can be a problem if you are using manual caching and disk space is limited. In this case, you might want to limit the number of folders you manually store or change some folders from manual caching to automatic caching.

To change the size of the Offline Files cache

  1. In Windows Explorer, open any folder that contains offline files

  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options .

  3. In the folder options dialog box, click the Offline Files tab.

  4. Under Amount of disk space to use for temporary offline files , move the slider to change the cache size.

Offline Files also allows you to configure how lost network connections are handled. There are two options: Notify me and begin working offline , or Never allow my computer to go offline . The first option, which is the default, gives users access to offline files and folders when a connection is lost or when a connection is intentionally disabled or disconnected (for example, when a portable computer is undocked). The second option should be used carefully with portable computers because it prevents user access to offline files, whether a network connection is lost or is intentionally disabled or disconnected. In other words, if you choose the second option with a portable computer and a user disconnects the portable computer from the network, the user does not have access to any offline files. The offline files are essentially disabled. The following procedure describes how to change the way Offline Files is handled when a network connection is lost.

To change the way Offline Files is handled when network connections are lost

  1. In Windows Explorer, open any folder that contains offline files.

  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options .

  3. In the folder options dialog box, click the Offline Files tab.

  4. Click Advanced , and then choose either Notify me and begin working offline or Never allow my computer to go offline .

For portable computers that are frequently disconnected from the network, Notify me and begin working offline is the preferable setting. Because it is the system default for Offline Files, you should not have to change this option.

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