Sunday, 3 April 2016

Microsoft Windows 7/8/8.1/10 Windows Sync Center Best Practice - Always Offline Files

If you are using Windows Sync Center in a domain environment along with home folder profile setup, please use this guide for the correct way of setting up always offline files for remote users.

In order to have Sync Center to work, the user's home folder must have "Offline files" enabled.

1. Go to Control Panel and select Sync Center

A window like above will shown up and now select "Manage Offline Files" on the left

2. Click on "Enable Offline Files" and restart your computer.

3. When computer boot back up, go to "My Computer" or "This PC" then H:\ drive.

Now what most people do is right click the drink and select "Always available offline", what the Sync Center do is make the drive goes offline and it does. However, what if the drive has been disconnected or not available anymore as H:\?

Users will not be able to access them drive as the H:\ has been maybe overtaken by a portable device or drive just gone missing.

The resolution for this is to go in to drive and select all, right click, "Always available offline".

Result of this will synchronize all the files in the drive and what happen if the H:\ is missing or the computer has been disconnected from the domain network.

The files are accessible via Sync Center Offline Files Folder.

The laptop when joined back to the domain network, Sync Center automatic sync the files with the server and in order to be 100% sure all the files are synced correct. Microsoft suggest to use the manual sync option by right clicking the Sync Center icon at the notification bar and click Sychronise All.

Last note:
  1. Disable Sync Center and restart your computer.
  2. To reset Sync Center back to default so you can start over again with the correct way of setting up available offline files, use below steps.
  3. On user's machine, go to C:\Windows\.
  4. Right click CSC folder.
  5. Select Security tab and click Advanced.
  6. Folder's permission is set to SYSTEM only therefore no one can access or make changes to it, so what you need to do is to take ownership of the folder.
  7. Click on "Change", give yourself full permission, OK and select OK to apply.
  8. Open CSC folder and delete the folder inside it, usually it calls v2.16.
  9. Delete CSC folder.
  10. Enable Sync Center and restart machine.
  11. Now you have a fresh Sync Center.
  12. Follow this article for a correct way of setting up your Always Offline Files.
If you are struggling to take the ownership or delete the folder under C:\Windows\CSC folder use below command:

Step 1: Disable the Offline Files.

a.   Open Sync Center and click on Manage Offline Files on the left.
b.  Select the Disable Offline Files Button and reboot the computer.

Step 2: Give yourself all the permissions.

a.   Press Windows key + X and select Command Prompt (Admin).
b.  Type these commands and press Enter after each one.

cd c:\Windows
takeown /f csc /r /a /d y > NUL
icacls csc /grant Administrators:(F) /t /l /q

c.   Delete the folders under C:\Windows\CSC.

Have fun!

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