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Offline files not available offline

I have a Windows 7 64 bit Pro notebook running on a SBS 2008 domain. I have enabled offline folders and folder redirection. In Windows 7 I have set the options for the documents folder to be "always available offline". My problem is that the files are not available offline. With the notebook disconnected from the server several icons vanish from the desktop and the documents directory shows 3 files instead of hundreds. Checking under the directory \users\username\Documents I don't see any files

I just did some further checking and this problem also affects the Vista 32 bit systems as well as our 1 XP system. Under the directory \users\username I cannot find a documents directory.

This sounds more like an SBS issue.

What settings do I need to check or adjust so that the files and folders are available  whether the notebooks are connected to the domain or not.
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LostInWindows
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LostInWindows
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3 Solutions
 
Alan HardistyCommented:
I too have Windows 7 and have happily enabled Offline Folders and Files and this works well, so it is not a Windows 7 issue.
Have you got a Group Policy that prevents you from storing offline files & folders?
http://trycatch.be/blogs/roggenk/archive/2009/06/16/windows-7-offline-files-amp-folders-transparent-caching.aspx 
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc782799(WS.10).aspx 
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PeteJThomasCommented:
If you navigate to the network location for the documents (so the redirected location) directly (instead of just double-clicking 'Documents' on the client), do the files and folders there show as being available offline also?

You could also try resetting the offline files cache on the client itself, and then allow it to resync with the network location (though this isn't a good idea of the client offline cache is more 'up to date' than the network location...

It explains how here, and says that the same works for Win7 - http://www.johnrpattison.com/blog/how-to-reset-offline-files-in-windows-vista/

Let me know?

Pete
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LostInWindowsAuthor Commented:
Hello, you asked "If you navigate to the network location for the documents (so the redirected location) directly (instead of just double-clicking 'Documents' on the client), do the files and folders there show as being available offline also?"
The answer is yes it does. The Desktop folder does not present the "Always available offline" option. If I create a folder in Windows 7 C:\Users\Username\Documents and copy My Documents from the server "D:\Users\RedirectedFolders\Username\My Documents" into this folder? Will this make it available offline?
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PeteJThomasCommented:
Nope afraid not. Besides, it still needs to sync which isn't happening at the moment...

The way it's sounding to me, is that offline files is set up correctly - The online copy is fine and on the server etc, but the offline copy isn't being used when the user is offline - It's just reverting back to C:\Users\<username>\Documents as opposed to the offline cache.

I would advise resetting the cache using the link I posted above (do this on the Win7 client). Once it's been reinitialized on the client, force it to try and sync (you can do this by right-clicking and just select 'Synchronise')

Once the initial sync has been completed, pull the cable out, and see if you can still see the correct files there?
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LostInWindowsAuthor Commented:
I tried to synchronize the offline folders but I still don't get anything. With the notbook disconnected from the network the Documents and Music Folders are empty. Any Desktop icons need to be us \Users\Public to show up.

I am puzzled. This isn't supposed to be rocket science. Can I change the system to automatically synchronize but not to have a roaming profile? My user who is the company owner also has a part time position that requires a lot of PowerPoint and Music. He needs it backed up and needs it on his laptop.
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PeteJThomasCommented:
Though I'd rather get to the bottom of the actual problem, as you asked: No you don't need a roaming profile at all - Offline files on it's own should do the trick. We use local profiles, but just have a home drive mapped by log on script, and we just tell all users to save all their work to the home drive. Then, offline files is enabled for each users home drive, so that when they access the drive letter offline, all their stuff is still there.

Did you actually try resetting the offline files cache on the Win7 client? I'm beginning to suspect some sort of misconfig between the roaming profile settings and offline files, but resetting the cache is a quick n easy thing to try. The problem clearly seems to be that the client is simply not reverting to the offline cache when not on the network (either through a misconfig somewhere, or that the offline cache is corrupt or something).

That's definitely where I'd start!
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LostInWindowsAuthor Commented:
I tried resetting the cache. With the Network disconnected the Desktop, Documents and Music Directories under C:\Users\{UserName} don't exist.
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PeteJThomasCommented:
Hmmmm...

Ok, at this point, I would advise taking one of these test clients, and excluding them from the policies that are doing all this completely (use a test user account as well that is not receiving any related user policy settings too). For the offline files policy, ensure that the option to revert back to local copies on removal of the policy settings is selected.

Get the machine back to the point where logging on with your test user just creates a local profile, none of which is redirected to your server.

Then I would manually do each part, just to confirm that it works that way - So manually just point documents to a network location, shove some random test data in the 'roaming' profile, and then enable offline files, and see if you get a successful sync that is accessible when the test client is off the network.

If you confirm that it works when done that way, the problem must be some kind of config issue, and we can look at the GPO settings, maybe try applying them (through proper GP this time) but one at a time, and see at which point it stops working, which will hopefully show us what particular aspect of your GP config the client isn't liking!

I know that sounds long winded and time consuming, but I can only advise what I would do in your place... :)

Pete
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LostInWindowsAuthor Commented:
I am going to accept your last comment and close the question. I am going on vacation tomorrow. If I still have problems,I wiull open a new question upon my return.
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PeteJThomasCommented:
Oh and another thing - I've seen some people having problems when they've got the "encrypt offline files to secure data" option selected. So on your return, before you go through the arduous process above, just check the encryption setting is NOT enabled. If it is, disable it, and then retest...

This setting can be set both manually (Control Panel > Folder Options > Offline Files tab > "Encrypt offline files to secure data" - I'm not sure what the default is, though I would guess it's disabled by default) and through policy (Comp Config > Admin Templates > Network > Offline Files > "Encrypt the offline files cache").

Apologies we didn't manage to fix it before you go away, but be sure to post back here if you find anything interesting from the resulting troubleshooting... :)

Thanks, and have a nice holiday!

Pete
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LostInWindowsAuthor Commented:
Accepting comment as much testing is required and I am out of the office for 2 weeks. Thanks for your help!
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