December 6, 2022

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How to Enable or Disable Offline Files in Windows –


Working remotely has grown in popularity due to the Covid epidemic’s impact on businesses. One Windows feature that was typically neglected until now, that can be of great benefit when working remotely is the use of Offline Files. Offline Files is a great feature in Windows that allows you to make certain shared network folders and files available offline even if your computer is not connected to the corporate network. Instead of accessing your files over a slow internet connection, all of your data is made offline and saved to the Offline Files folder stored on your local computer. When working online, file access performance is at the speed of the network and server. When working offline, files are retrieved from the Offline Files folder at local access speeds.

A computer switches to Offline Mode when:

  • Always Offline mode has been enabled
  • The server is unavailable
  • The network connection is slower than a configurable threshold
  • The user manually switches to Offline Mode by using the Work offline button in File Explorer

Offline files are a great solution if you often find yourself wanting to quickly edit files when you are not connected to a network and have the confidence that when you do connect they will sync up with the live files.

In this article, we will cover 3 topics.

  • How to enable or disable offline files in Windows 10
  • How to Start a Sync of an Offline Folder
  • Resetting the Offline Files Cache

How to enable or disable offline files in Windows 10

There are 2 ways you can enable and disable Offline files, The first is through the Windows Control panel and the second is through The registry.

Enable Offline Files In Windows 10 Using Control Panel/ Sync Centre

To enable offline files from the Control Panel, follow the steps given below:

  1. Open the Control Panel. I find the best way to do this is to type Control Panel in the search bar and select the appropriate option.
  2. After the Control Panel opens on your screen, click on the View By option and select Large Icons.
  3. Find the Sync Center option and click on it.
  4. Now, select the Manage offline files option, located on the left panel. The Offline Files dialogue will open on your screen.
  5. Select the Enable offline files option. You may see Disable offline files option in its place. This will mean that Windows 10 offline files are already enabled on your PC.
    If a confirmation prompt appears, then click on Yes.
  1. Finally, click on Apply and OK to save the changes and restart the PC.

Enable Offline Files In Windows 10 Using Registry Editor

Another way to enable offline files on Windows 10 is by using the Registry Editor. All the Windows settings are stored in Registry, so you must be careful while using the Registry Editor.

This is a great option if you are enabling Offline files in a corporate environment for all users. Deploying a gegistry setting is made easier through the use of Group policy. Follow the steps below exactly to avoid making any mistakes in the Registry.

  1. Press the Windows + R keys to open the Run utility.
  2. Type Regedit and press Enter to open the Registry Editor.
  3. Navigate to the following Registry key:
    Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\CSC
  4. Right-click on the white part in the right pane and select New> DWORD (32-bit) from the pop-up menu.
  5. Name the DWORD as Start and double-click on it.
  6. Change the value to 1 and click on OK.
  1. Now, navigate to the following Registry key:
    Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\CscService
  2. Create another Start DWORD just like above and enter the value as 2. This will enable the offline files on Windows 10.

How to Start a Sync of an Offline Folder

Now that you have enabled Offline files, you can now start syncing your desired folders. To do this you have two options, including syncing offline files manually and automatically.

Method 1: Sync offline files manually

1. Go to File Explore > This PC > network locations, then select the mapped network drive or a folder within the network drive.

2. Once you’ve mapped a drive and opened it up in Windows Explorer, you can go to any sub-folder of the drive and select “Always available offline” from the context menu.

Method 2: Sync files automatically

1. Open Sync Center again. 

2. Click Offline Files folder, and then you will see all the shared folders for offline files sync. Click Sync to sync the network file to the local computer immediately. or click Schedule to make your files always in sync.  

Sync

Note: If you want to view your files, just double-click the shared folder you see (for example, Documents) under the Offline File folder.

Offline files are a great solution if you often find yourself wanting to quickly edit files when you are not connected to a network and have the confidence that when you do connect they will sync up with the live files.

In this article, we will cover 3 topics.

  • How to enable or disable offline files in Windows 10
  • How to Start a Sync of an Offline Folder
  • Resetting the Offline Files Cache

How to enable or disable offline files in Windows 10

There are 2 ways you can enable and disable Offline files, The first is through the Windows Control panel and the second is through The registry.

Enable Offline Files In Windows 10 Using Control Panel/ Sync Centre

To enable offline files from the Control Panel, follow the steps given below:

  1. Open the Control Panel. I find the best way to do this is to type Control Panel in the search bar and select the appropriate option.
  2. After the Control Panel opens on your screen, click on the View By option and select Large Icons.
  3. Find the Sync Center option and click on it.
  4. Now, select the Manage offline files option, located on the left panel. The Offline Files dialogue will open on your screen.
  5. Select the Enable offline files option. You may see Disable offline files option in its place. This will mean that Windows 10 offline files are already enabled on your PC.
    If a confirmation prompt appears, then click on Yes.
  1. Finally, click on Apply and OK to save the changes and restart the PC.

Enable Offline Files In Windows 10 Using Registry Editor

Another way to enable offline files on Windows 10 is by using the Registry Editor. All the Windows settings are stored in Registry, so you must be careful while using the Registry Editor.

This is a great option if you are enabling Offline files in a corporate environment for all users. Deploying a registry setting is made easier through the use of Group policy. Follow the steps below exactly to avoid making any mistakes in the Registry.

  1. Press the Windows + R keys to open the Run utility.
  2. Type Regedit and press Enter to open the Registry Editor.
  3. Navigate to the following Registry key:
    Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\CSC
  4. Right-click on the white part in the right pane and select New> DWORD (32-bit) from the pop-up menu.
  5. Name the DWORD as Start and double-click on it.
  6. Change the value to 1 and click on OK.
  1. Now, navigate to the following Registry key:
    Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\CscService
  2. Create another Start DWORD just like above and enter the value as 2. This will enable the offline files on Windows 10.

How to Start a Sync of an Offline Folder

Now that you have enabled Offline files, you can now start syncing your desired folders. To do this you have two options, including syncing offline files manually and automatically.

Method 1: Sync offline files manually

1. Go to File Explore > This PC > network locations, then select the mapped network drive or a folder within the network drive.

2. Once you’ve mapped a drive and opened it up in Windows Explorer, you can go to any sub-folder of the drive and select “Always available offline” from the context menu.

Method 2: Sync files automatically

1. Open Sync Center again. 

2. Click Offline Files folder, and then you will see all the shared folders for offline files sync. Click Sync to sync the network file to the local computer immediately. or click Schedule to make your files always in sync.  

Sync

Note: If you want to view your files, just double-click the shared folder you see (for example, Documents) under the Offline File folder.

Resetting the Offline Files Cache

If you come across any issues with your Offline files sync, you can easily and safely reset your offline files cache. This can often resolve many issues. To reset the Offline Files cache open a shared network folder in Explorer and select Tools / Folder Options / Offline Files. Press CTRL+SHIFT while clicking Delete Files.

If you cannot access the Offline Files tab, use the following method to re-initialize the Offline Files cache (CSC) on the system. Add the following registry subkey:

Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\CSC\Parameters
Value name: FormatDatabase
Value type: DWORD
Value data: 1

Notes: The actual value of the FormatDatabase value is ignored. Reinitialization requires a restart. When the computer is restarting, the system will re-initialize the CSC and then delete the FormatDatabase value.

Warning: All files in the cache are deleted and unsynchronized data is lost.

Related Content – How to Use Google Docs Offline



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