Offline Files - Using cached copies even when on network.

Posted on 2007-03-28
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-29
Scenario - Serveral Vista Ultimate users (IT Technicains) spread over Europe who have a central repository for user account information, budgets, etc.  All excel files, all used frequently.
Technicains needs to have this information to hand 24/7 as are on call at night.

With XP we simply set the folders to be available off line and let windows manage the synchronisation.  However with vista if we make the files available off line on each laptop and the technicain is connected to the network rtesource the machine is stuill using the cached copy of the files.  Thus if technicain A opens the file from the network and is modifying the file, technician B can access the file also with change ability and we get lots and lots of sync conflicts.  (User B does not get the standard "this file is in use by technicain A and so will be opened in a read only state")

Is this by design or can we force it to only use cached files when the server is not avaiable?  (Vista knows the server is available as under offline status it is showing as Online.  Also we have the "Work Offline" option available).

Anyone else having this issue??

Question by:GlenmoranUK
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 18808028
I think that if you "work online", that when the resource is unavailable, Vista should use its localy cached copy.  The work offline button forces the computer to use the localy cached copy.

Author Comment

ID: 18808058
That is what I thought, but we are connected over a 100mb link to the network version yet it is still using the cached version.

We have tried several tests, if we select a file that has not been made available offline we get the warning that the file is in use, but all syn'd files cstill use the cached version.  As I said in my question with XP we had no problems.  Vista is causing us lots of headaches and this issue will stop us rolling it out to our users as we do this kind of work all the time.

LVL 24

Accepted Solution

Kenneniah earned 2000 total points
ID: 18808923
If you don't get it fixed, try posting in the blog at http://windowsvistablog.com/blogs/windowsvista/archive/2007/01/29/working-with-offline-files.aspx
The Microsoft blogger there seems to be pretty good at answering questions about offline files in Vista quickly.
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Author Comment

ID: 18817160

Thank-you for the link.  Have posted there and fingers crossed will get this issue resolved on one of the boards.

LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 18820818
Hopefully, I haven't worked with Offline Files on Vista enough yet to offer much insight on my own.

Expert Comment

ID: 18922077
I'm not sure if this could be related or not, but I've found out that Vista offline files require that the server "Share" permission have to be "Full Control" for the users that are accessing them.  I was using only "Change" permissions and had weird errors with "Access Denied" messages when syncing.  After fixing those permissions everything has been working good.

Author Comment

ID: 18987169
Finally we have an authoritive answer from the microsoft message board that was posted by Kenneniah.  The response I got was:

This is a known interop issue with Offline Files and xls
..xls files are in something that Offline Files calls a "Sparse Exclusion
List." When such a file with an extension in the list is made available
offline and then opened simultaneously on two machines, it ends up going
offline on the first machine. This is why there is no sharing violation
Unfortunately, the only remedies I can suggest are-
1. Don't make xls files available offline. The sharing semantics should work
fine if Offline Files is not involved.
2. Remove xls file from the sparse exclusion list. However this will mean
that in a sharing scenario, instead of going offline, the file will be
kicked out of the cache and will no longer be available offline.

So basically its a new "feature"!  We have switched back to XP as for us this is a show stopper..

Points awarded to Kenneniah for his link..

Expert Comment

ID: 22949174
Problem seems to be listed in MS hotfix 956836. This hotfix describes exactly the problem but does not fix it for me !  anyone more suggestions ?

Expert Comment

ID: 38521024
Windows 7 Offline files will not go Online when connected to network

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