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Group Policy

BranchCache behavior can be configured on client and server computers using Group Policy.

Group Policy administrative template

Windows 7 includes an administrative template that can be used to edit the BranchCache Group Policy object. The template can be found under Administrative Templates > Network > BranchCache using the Windows Group Policy editor (gpedit.msc). This section describes the fields available in the administrative template.

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Turn on BranchCache setting

BranchCache enables clients to securely retrieve content from within the branch office instead of having to retrieve it from the server hosting the content. Depending on the deployment mode, the content can be retrieved from other clients in the branch office or from a Hosted Cache located on a server in the branch. A client can only retrieve content from within the branch if it is authorized by the server to do so. The use of BranchCache reduces costs on the wide area network (WAN) link that connects your branch offices to the data center or headquarters and increases download speeds for content that has already been downloaded into the branch office.

This policy setting specifies whether BranchCache is enabled. You should apply this policy setting in branch offices where bandwidth to headquarters is low and latency is high. There is no need to deploy this policy setting in headquarters with fast connections to the servers hosting the content.

  • If you enable this policy setting, BranchCache is turned On.

  • If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, BranchCache is turned Off.

Turn on BranchCache – Distributed Cache Mode setting

BranchCache enables clients to securely retrieve content from within the branch office instead of having to retrieve it from the server hosting the content. With Distributed Cache, the content is retrieved from other clients in the branch office. A client can only retrieve content from other clients if it is authorized by the server to do so. This reduces costs on the wide area network (WAN) link that connects your branch offices to the data center or headquarters. At the same time, it increases download speeds for content that has already been downloaded into the branch office.

This policy setting specifies whether BranchCache Distributed Cache mode is enabled. You should apply this policy setting in branch offices where bandwidth to headquarters is low and latency is high. There is no need to deploy this policy setting in headquarters with fast connections to the servers hosting the content.

  • If you enable this policy setting, BranchCache Distributed Cache mode is turned On.

  • If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, BranchCache Distributed Cache mode is turned Off.

Turn on BranchCache – Hosted Cache mode setting

BranchCache operates by having client computers cache retrieved content. This cached content can be pushed to a Hosted Cache server on the branch network so that clients can retrieve content from this server instead of having to retrieve it from other clients in the branch. The content is made available by the Hosted Cache to other requesting client computers if they are authorized by the server.

This policy setting is used to specify the location of the Hosted Cache server. This setting must be specified if a Hosted Cache is deployed in the branch. The location MUST match the name of the Hosted Cache specified in the certificate (recommended to be the Fully Qualified Domain Name) for the Hosted Cache. Clients use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to communicate with the Hosted Cache. The certificate root for the Hosted Cache MUST be in the client’s trusted root store.

  • If you enable this policy setting, you must specify a valid location of the Hosted Cache.

  • If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, the Hosted Cache is not used in the branch.

Set percentage of disk space used for client computer cache

BranchCache operates by having client computers dedicate disk space to caching retrieved content. This content is made available to other requesting client computers if they are authorized by the server.

This policy setting is used to specify the percentage of total disk space to dedicate to BranchCache.

  • If you enable this policy setting, you must select the percentage of total disk space to allocate for the cache.

  • If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, the cache is set to 5 percent of the total disk space on the client computer.

Configure BranchCache for network files

This policy setting is used to enable BranchCache for network files or caching of SMB traffic.

  • If you enable this policy setting, you must select the minimum latency between client and server, below which BranchCache BranchCache will not be used for SMB traffic.

  • If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, BranchCache will not optimize SMB traffic.

Disabling BITS use of BranchCache

By default, the BITS protocol will use BranchCache on a client that is BranchCache enabled. This can be disabled using the BITS administrative template available under Administrative Templates > Network > Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS). The BranchCache setting is named “Do not allow the BITS client to use BranchCache.”

This setting affects whether the BITS client is allowed to use BranchCache. If the BranchCache component is installed and enabled on a computer, then by default BITS jobs on that computer can use BranchCache.

  • If you enable this setting, then the BITS client does not use BranchCache.

  • If you disable or do not configure this setting, then the BITS client uses BranchCache.

noteNote
This setting does not affect the use of BranchCache by applications other than BITS. This setting has no effect if the computer's administrative settings for BranchCache disable its use entirely.

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