Offline files / sync files disappear until you sync?

on an SBS 2003 R2 network, user (boss) has a laptop, so RWW isn't available when traveling.  He uses VPN.

He's saying that some files that he created when in the office (and saved on a shared folder) weren't visible when, out of the office,  he VPN'd to the shared folder or when offline (he has offline files set up for this shared folder).

I am thinking he didn't sync on the way out that day, so the files were only on the server.  then when VPN'ing, the system was looking at the offline files folder which was missing the files?  He had to manually force a sync over the VPN?  is there a right / wrong way to do this - use files, VPN, work in and out of office?

thanks!
babaganooshAsked:
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johnb6767Connect With a Mentor Commented:
The serer was most liikely set to Offline, since it has offline caching enabled. Unless he navigates to the share via IP address, or FQDN, then he wont be able to browse the share unless he synchronizes first...

It is a byproduct of Offline files. If windows has set a server as Offline, it will not even try to connect via netbios requests, but FQDN and IP paths both use DNS.

Look at the following article...

Files that you add to the Offline Files folder on a Windows XP-based computer are synchronized when another person uses the computer
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=811660

Specifically the section here...

Forced silent auto reconnection
When a server has been unavailable (offline mode) and then becomes available again for connection, Offline Files Client Side Caching tries to transition that server to online mode if all the following conditions are true: • There are no offline changes for that server on the local computer.  
• There are no open file handles for that server on the local computer.  
• The server is accessed over a “fast” link. You can adjust the definition of “slow” and “fast” by using the SlowLinkSpeed Offline Files policy.  
With this hotfix, you can configure Offline Files Client Side Caching to ignore these conditions and transition the server to online mode regardless of whether these conditions exist. To do this, follow these steps: 1. Click Start, click Run, type REGEDIT, and then click OK.
2. Locate and click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\NetCache
3. Click Edit, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
4. Type SilentForcedAutoReconnect, and then press ENTER to name the value.
5. Double-click SilentForcedAutoReconnect.
6. In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.
Note After you apply this hotfix, the following behavior may occur: • Any offline changes will remain unsynchronized and unavailable until the changes are synchronized in the future. This situation causes a dirty cache condition that is announced through a small warning overlay image on the Offline Files icon in the notification area.  
• Any open handles to files that are cached on the associated server will be automatically closed and invalidated. This action may cause problems if the programs that are using those files cannot work gracefully with invalid file handles.
• If the server is available over a slow network link, such as a satellite link or a telephone line, the server will still be transitioned online. This scenario may cause very slow access to the remote file system on the server from the local computer.
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johnb6767Commented:
Basically it is a training issue. When connected to the network, if they see the Offline files icon below flashing, saying you are working offline, they need to understand to right click>synchronize.....
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babaganooshAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the info!  

What are you meaning with the line 'The serer was most liikely set to Offline'?
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babaganooshAuthor Commented:
And with a laptop, (no office PC to RWW to), there's not much else other than VPN as a way to get them back into the office, right?

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johnb6767Commented:
If you have files set to Offline, on Server A, then Windows will mark the entire server A as offline, until you synch, causing folders NOT marked offline to not even be seen. It is either all or none, with the offline files and server availability....
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