Monday, November 9, 2009

Make Windows Offline Files faster over slower connections

Here is the scenario I have to work with. I have a laptop running Windows XP. My profile is roaming and My Documents is mapped to a network drive. My Documents and the network drive are synchronized using a Windows feature called Offline Files. I personally don’t like it in my scenario, but understand it has it’s place. IMHO, roaming profiles have no place when I am the ONLY one that uses the computer and never log onto another computer or if I did, I don’t need my user profile. Regardless, I work in corporate America and there is nothing I can do to change that.

Well, there is something I can do about it.

Here is what I found out.

The big thing figured out is that I needed to find a way to tell the Offline Files feature that I want it to consider my laptop to be disconnect / offline so that it will not try to access the files directly on the network. The solution to this is to use a tool called CSCCMD.exe 1.1. It is a WONDERFUL command line tool for working with Offline Files. It allows you to do everything you can in the UI and more.

To get to the point, to tell the Offline Files feature to not use the network and instead use the local copy of offline files, you need CSCMD.exe 1.1 (1.0 is missing lots of features). You can get it from the link below. Please not the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools only has version 1.0.


Now that you have the file, unzip it and put it in your system32 or other location that is in your executable path.

Type csccmd.exe /DISCONNECT:”\\server\share

Be sure to adjust to point to your network share that is being used by Offline Files.

If you don’t know what that path should be, you are in luck, the tool will tell you that. The following command actually shows all the files that are being cached, but you can see what the share path is.

csccmd.exe  /RESID

Type csccmd.exe /RESID

For me, the first line it returned was the path. You’ll see the pattern after you look at all the lines. The on that they all have in common is probably the one you want. Basically, you need to find \\server\share where server is the name of the server and share is the name of the share.

For more information, check of the references at the bottom of this page or try csccmd.exe /help.

Please note that you must manually synchronize now. For example, when I get back to the office, I’ll synchronize.

Additional Speed boost

I also found out that if disconnect the network that shows in My Computer that My Computer and other things work much faster as well. You can do that via the command line. In the example below the network share is mapped to the h drive.

net use h: /delete


CSCCMD : Tool to manage Offline files in Windows

Working with network files when you are offline

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