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Configuring Offline Files

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Offline Files technology applies to any mapped or mounted drive that contains documents that users might want to use offline. You set up and configure Offline Files independently of the Folder Redirection snap-in extension. The default state (Enabled or Disabled) of the Offline Files feature depends on the operating system version that you are running, as indicated in Table 7.18.

Table 7.18   Default State of the Offline Files Feature


Operating System Version Offline Files State

Windows 2000 Professional


Windows XP Professional


Windows 2000 Server


Windows Server 2003 family products

Disabled. The Offline Files feature is not compatible with Terminal Services.

Enabling the Offline Files Feature for Windows Server 2003 Computers

By enabling the Offline Files features in Windows Server 2003, you can set up a computer to use Offline Files or make file or folder available offline.

To enable Offline Files on a server running Windows Server 2003

  1. Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.

  2. In the System Properties dialog box, click the Remote tab.

  3. Under Remote Desktop, clear the Allow users to connect remotely to this computer check box, and then click OK.

To set up a computer to use Offline Files

  1. In My Computer, on the Tools menu, click Folder Options.

  2. On the Offline Files tab, select Enable Offline Files.


    To do a quick synchronization, clear the Synchronize all offline files before logging off check box.

After you set up a computer to use Offline Files, select the files and folders that you want to make available offline.

To make a file or folder available offline

  1. Open My Computer, and then right-click the shared file or folder that you want to make available offline.

  2. On the File menu, click Make available offline.

  3. Follow the instructions in the Offline Files Wizard.

Configuring Offline Settings

Offline Files stores a version of the shared resources on the client computer in the file system cache, a reserved portion of disk space, which the client computer can access even when it is disconnected from the network. You can set caching options for each shared resource to specify which files or programs will be available offline.

To configure offline settings for shared files or folders

  1. Open Computer Management.

  2. In the console tree, navigate to System Tools, Shared Folders, and then Shares.

  3. In the details pane, right-click the shared file or folder for which you want to configure offline settings, and then click Properties.

  4. On the General tab, click Offline Settings.

  5. In the Offline Settings dialog box, select one of the following options, and then click OK.

    • Only the files and programs that users specify will be available offline. (The default option that gives users control over which files are available offline.) .

    • All files and programs that users open from the share will be automatically available offline. (Allows all the files that users open from the shared folder to be automatically available offline.) If you select the Optimized for performance check box, all programs are automatically cached so that they can run locally. This option is especially useful for file servers that host applications because it reduces network traffic and improves server scalability.

    • Files or programs from the share will not be available offline. This option prevents users from storing files offline.


  • When you use the option for automatic caching of all files and programs, be sure to restrict permissions on the files and programs that are contained in the shared folder to read-only access.

After you configure Offline Files, configure Synchronization Manager to periodically ensure that the Offline Files cache has a complete and correct copy of every file that is designated for offline use.

On client computers running Windows XP Professional or Windows Server 2003, redirected folders are automatically added to Offline Files storage. In Windows 2000, you can enable this feature, but it is not enabled by default.

You can make individual files from a shared network folder or an entire shared network folder available offline. If you create a shortcut to a file that is available offline, the file is also available offline. If you create a shortcut to a folder that is available offline, the contents of that folder are not available offline.

For a procedure to store offline files and folders in a network share, see "Set client-side caching for a File Share resource" in Help and Support Center for Windows Server 2003.


  • Use the Group Policy setting Administratively assigned offline files to set multiple folders at the same time for offline use.

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