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I would like to work on locally cached offline files and folders even though I have a network connection.

Posted on 2006-11-19
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Hi I have sbs / server 2003 and about 8 clients running windows xp Pro.  I would like to use the locally cached copy of the offline files even though I have network connections.  I would want the offline files to be synchronized with the server copy only when I am idle.  And when I am not idle I would like the synchronization to be disabled.  Is this possible and if it is what are some of the ways that I can accomplish this.

please let me know if I can provide any more comments on this topic.

Thanks in advance!

-luxse
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Question by:luxse
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Author Comment

by:luxse
ID: 17976084
Wow! that's a hard question...
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Expert Comment

by:W_H
ID: 17977216
you can do it with the Briefcase function in windows.

heres the link to show you how to do it.
http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=1646&page=3

however, there isn't any schedule can be made by using this function.

will you consider 3rd party software?
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18000427
Can you elaborate on why you need this?  What kinds of files?  etc?
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Author Comment

by:luxse
ID: 18110246
Hello gentlemen,

I have about 3000 wav files stored on a server with a dedicated 6 disk array (15k scisi in raid 1+0 configuration).  the wav files are small in size and typically less than 256kb in size.  I search for these wav files using a ringtone program that opens up a window resmbling windows explorer.  

the method used to search for the files is to type in the first few characters of the filename.  Windows then pops a list of filenames matching the characters I entered just below where I type it.  This feature is very similar to internet explorers address bar (if you have visited a site previouslly, internet explorer will list those sites as you enter characters that resemble them).

I find that even though my server is no slouch (4-1.4ghz pentium with HT enabled) and my scsi array is set up for speed, there is a bottleneck somewhere between the client computer and the file server.  I wish to maintain a centralized location for all the files, because i add about 20-30 new wav files on a weekly basis and I want to have all the workstations to have access to the same updates.  but I wish to have the speed associated with having the files stored locally on client computers.

I've been trying to find a solution for about 8-12 months now.  As a side note, I did see a dramatic improvement in speed of searching for the files when I took the same scsi array to a faster processor file server (amd opteron 64 rated at 4200+).  But it's still not quite as fast as having the files stored locally on workstation....and these workstations are mere 2.4ghz single processor celerons with just 256MB of ram.

I do not believe the briefcase feature will work if I am using it with 4 workstations because the updates and changes to wav files could come from any of the machines.

I hope i've clarified things a bit more, and please let me know if there are any more questions that you may have.

thanks so much!
-luxse
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Accepted Solution

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redseatechnologies earned 2000 total points
ID: 18110373
Do you change these wave files?  or do they stay the same?

I would be inclined to write a script with robocopy that copies down all new files once or twice a day (or more if you like) and then stores them on the local computers.

So basically, you update whatever files you need on the server, and at say 0900 and 1300 it pushes out any new or changed files to the workstations.

Just a thought

-red

http://www.ss64.com/nt/robocopyXP.html
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Author Comment

by:luxse
ID: 18110443
hello red,

that script almost solves the problem.  maybe if the script worked both ways.  transmits the files to the server at 1am and then downloads it from the server at 3am?  

changes are made to the wav files on a fairly regular basis.  mostly file name changes and occasionally I would need to delete redundant files as well.  

hope that helped.

thank you!
-luxse
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Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18110457
You could do it as many ways as you like.

It is not the most elegant solution, but the elegant solution (offline files) isn't working for you anyway.

I have a heap of scripts with robocopy in it to simulate offline files, my documents redirection is awfully troublesome when you have users that move around alot.

I would run it all from the server,

at 1am PULL all files from the workstations and put them on the server.
at 3am PUSH the new files on the server out to all the workstations.

Of course, doing this with multiple different machines is going to be troublesome (the problem I am envisaging is that when you have one user rename FileA to FileB, the server will need to have a copy of both (the MIR (mirror) command will not work with mutliple machines)

Seems that isn't much a solutions after all...

-red
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Author Comment

by:luxse
ID: 18110475
red,

yah.  i just can't believe there is no option to work offline without physically disabling my network card (i need my network for other programs running in the background :).  

I was hoping there was some sort of registry hack out there that would allow me to do it.  As soon as I unplug my ethernet cable the program switches to the offline files (stored locally at the workstations) it searches fast as lightning.  

grrrRRR....maybe vista and windows 2007 will have that feature?  i just can't believe I'm the only one in the world with this predicament :).

well thank you for you input though!
-luxse
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Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18110560
When you say you need the network, do you mean you need access to something else on that particular server?

I suppose (and I am just throwing this out there, it is late here, and this could be a bad idea :)) you could edit your hosts file to include a dummy entry for your server.  Then you could have a batch file on the desktop that overwrites that host file - so at a touch of a button, you could break the connection to that one server, while still being able to access the rest of the network (and presumably, the internet).

The problem with offline files is exactly the same problem there was with DFS (in windows 2000).  It is assumed to work perfectly.  There are few (official) workarounds because there is no perceived problem.

-red
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Author Comment

by:luxse
ID: 18157554
Red,

we may be on to something here.  Is there a way to write a script or create a scheduled task to enable & disable folder sharing on the server???  I manually disabled file sharing on the folder and the workstations automatically started using the offline copies.  once I reenabled the folder sharing, the offline folders synched back up to the server's copy.

hope to hear from you soon!
thank you!
-luxse
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Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18161826
You could...

Create a text file called "hosts.1" and put it here -> C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\

---------------------------------
In this file, you want 1 line

127.0.0.1     "server"
----------------------------------

In the same folder above, make a copy of the "hosts" file and call it hosts.2


Then, create 2 batch files (which you could then add to a scheduled task)

the first to break the connection with that one server should include the following;

c:
cd \windows\system32\drivers\etc
del hosts
copy hosts.1 hosts

The second, to restore the connection, should include the following;

c:
cd \windows\system32\drivers\etc
del hosts
copy hosts.2 hosts

----

How this would all work in practice, I am not sure - but it is worth a shot :)

-red
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Author Comment

by:luxse
ID: 18178816
red,

I could be wrong but if I got the gist of things this procedure would break connections to ALL shared files on my file server?  It might sound picky, but I was hoping to break connection to just ONE specific shared folder on my server.  

can't belive how close we are to the solution, yet just a bit out reach.

thank you,
-luxse
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Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18184680
Hi luxse,

yes, the process i detailed would break ALL connections to that one file server.

it was a bit of a long shot solution at best, the only other way i can think of doing it is give the server a new name in the hosts file.

but i have no idea if this will work, and if it does, how stable it would be...

-red
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Author Comment

by:luxse
ID: 18185067
red,

hi, i got your email.  am i suppose to make these changes on the workstations or the server?

Perhaps another approach...I remember many many moons ago. there used to be a scripting program that allowed you to record your mouse clicks and run programs / change settings if you ran the script file.  unlike text scripts, it was graphical.  If there was a such a program I could enable and disable the specific folder sharing.

i saw on another thread, you could change the maximum allowed users to a specific shared folder.

And lastly, I will look into my router's ability to do ip blocking during specified time ranges?  My router supports this feature, but I do not know how well it will handle this situation.

back to the drawing board :)
-luxse
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Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18185097
For everyone else who is involved in the question, the email that i sent to luxse didn't contain anything that isn't already here.  luxse, i didn't mention it in the email, but problems should be kept on the site, that way other experts can comment about possible solutions or problems.

You would make the host file changes on the workstation that you wanted to affect.

I am sure there is a program that recorded mouse movements - but have never used it (search for mouse macro on google, see what it brings up)

You could stop the server from sharing that particular folder relatively easily (or even change the amount of users that are allowed access)

Start > run > cmd > ok > net share /?

that will show you what you can do, you could schedule a time to drop the share with;

net share sharename /delete

and then put it back with

net share sharename e:\users

As for your router blocking IP addresses, i don't think that is going to help - i would be looking at hosts files before i did that

-red
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Author Comment

by:luxse
ID: 18272192
red,

so from what you told me:

"net share sharename /delete
and then put it back with
net share sharename e:\users"

I could run the above commands at the server for the folder called, "sharename" and i could enable or disable file sharing on it with the 2 command above?   then I can schedule it to turn on or off with task scheduler?

if so I will try it tonight.

thank you red!
-luxse
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Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18272229
No worries, let us know how you go
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