Offlines files and folders improved in Vista

If you ever tried to use offline files and folders in Windows 2000 or XP to synchronise server-based files and use them when away from the network, you may have become frustrated that it never did exactly what you wanted.

There have been several improvements in the way Vista handles offline files, for me the most important being the simple separation of users so a user only ever gets to synch their own stuff. This simply makes sense, and certainly fixes lots of access denied errors. They also made it more bandwidth efficient and gave the user some control over whether to work online or offline (to check what is available offline before actually disconnecting).

One bug not mentioned in Jim Allchin’s article is the way XP would handle (or rather, not handle) new folders, as follows:

  • You synchronise a folder and choose “yes, include all subfolders and files”.
  • You happily create and edit folders and files and everything works just fine.
  • A colleague creates a new subfolder and it simply does not get synched on your machine. Not at all.
  • You have to un-synch and re-synch the parent folder of the new folder and waste several minutes, or worse still, you only realise when you are out of the office at the begining of a new month or year and don’t have the latest data to hand.

Basically the CSC database seemed to take a one-time snapchot list of all required folders, and would update this if you created something, but was not aware of anyone else’s actions. Ideally it should be scanning the actual folders you synch to look for new folder creation. I want to test this under Vista and see if it’s fixed, and post back when I do.

2 Responses to Offlines files and folders improved in Vista

  1. graycat says:

    Man, I hate offline files in XP & 2000! One of my favourite situations was when we removed a hidden share off an application server as the application had been moved …… only for all the PC’s using offline files to say “nope, I can’t see that share any more so the whole server must be down!” Tear my hair out? Why do you think I keep it short? 😉

  2. Adam Vero says:

    And it’s ten times worse if the share is on DFS as it thinks the whole DFS root is now unavailable because one share goes AWOL. This is another of the big things fixed in Vista, it understands that shares are not inter-dependent.

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