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What happens if you turn off Offline Files? RRS feed

  • Question

  • When we rolled out Windows 7 a few years ago we decided to redirect our users' Documents to our NAS. We also decided not to disable Offline Files for the redirected folders. That has worked surprisingly well with only occasional sync issues and lost files. Our implementation has worked so well that users often aren't even aware when or if they are accessing the offline cache. And we don't either.  Now, changes coming to our NAS have the potential to greatly increase the size on disk of our redirected folders and fill local hard drives with the CSC.

    So we need to turn off Offline Files. We will continue to do Folder Redirection, though. Just in case there's something "stuck" in the cache that's not on their NAS folder (you know it happens), what happens to the CSC when Offline Files is disabled by Group Policy? Does it remain intact or is it deleted?

    Thanks,


    Tom
    • Edited by TSKer Thursday, April 14, 2016 6:12 PM
    Thursday, April 14, 2016 6:12 PM

Answers

  • Hi TSKer,

    It won't wipe the data cached on the local disk, but nor will that data be visible anymore, which is still something of an issue, because if it hasn't sync'd more recent content from the cache up to the server, then you've still effectively "lost" it. Technically speaking, it's still there, but not in a manner readily usable by either the user or an admin.

    You'd almost have to go about treating this as some kind of user data migration, since you're going to have to either rely on user education to train them on how to manually recover their data to an alternate location before turning off offline files or manually visit each user on each pc.

    You can take the following steps to delete the files under c:\Windows\CSC.

    1. Disable offline files using the manage offline files from sync center (requires reboot).

    2. Open an elevated command prompt (right-click, run as administrator)

    Type these commands:

    cd c:\Windows

    takeown /f csc /r /a /d y > NUL

    icacls csc /grant Administrators:(F) /t /l /q

    3. Delete folders under c:\Windows\CSC

    Hope it will be helpful to you.


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help, and unmark the answers if they provide no help. If you have feedback for TechNet Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    • Marked as answer by TSKer Tuesday, April 19, 2016 1:32 PM
    Friday, April 15, 2016 11:37 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi TSKer,

    It won't wipe the data cached on the local disk, but nor will that data be visible anymore, which is still something of an issue, because if it hasn't sync'd more recent content from the cache up to the server, then you've still effectively "lost" it. Technically speaking, it's still there, but not in a manner readily usable by either the user or an admin.

    You'd almost have to go about treating this as some kind of user data migration, since you're going to have to either rely on user education to train them on how to manually recover their data to an alternate location before turning off offline files or manually visit each user on each pc.

    You can take the following steps to delete the files under c:\Windows\CSC.

    1. Disable offline files using the manage offline files from sync center (requires reboot).

    2. Open an elevated command prompt (right-click, run as administrator)

    Type these commands:

    cd c:\Windows

    takeown /f csc /r /a /d y > NUL

    icacls csc /grant Administrators:(F) /t /l /q

    3. Delete folders under c:\Windows\CSC

    Hope it will be helpful to you.


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help, and unmark the answers if they provide no help. If you have feedback for TechNet Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    • Marked as answer by TSKer Tuesday, April 19, 2016 1:32 PM
    Friday, April 15, 2016 11:37 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for that info, Carl. Very helpful. I have also seen the "formatdatabase" registry entry discussed to completely reset the database and wipe everything local out. Your method would allow our techs to recover some files if needed.

    This may sound stupid, but is there anything the user (not elevated or technical) can do to ensure that all their files are synchronized? Specifically, if they have access to a file but don't see it on their LAN drive, is there anything you can recommend for them to make sure they don't lose anything?

    When we have issues with lost files it's often when someone has a file that has never synched for some reason. The user often doesn't realize it until their PC is replaced/crashes/etc. If we can contact them before they have a crisis, our recommendation has been is to save it in a non-replicated location on their C: drive.

    Thanks,

    Tom

    Tuesday, May 10, 2016 1:49 PM