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Configuring Group Policy for Offline Files for Windows 7 Computers

How do I create a GPO for Windows 7 Offline File? What are recommended settings?
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Kent DyerIT Security Analyst Senior

I would recommend reading up on this at http://gpanswers.com as there are so many answers that my fit your organization.  There is not one hard and fast rule for this.  You need to start with your Information Security policy from your management team and build from there..



Here is a little guide. Always look for the bold title with "To" for the configuration. The rest is information about what it is, why it should be used, ... .

Open Group Policy management and go to Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Network\Offline Files.

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There are 3 settings that needs to be changed:
1. Configure Background Sync
2. Exclude files from being cached
3. Enable Transparent Caching

To configure Offline Files settings by using Group Policy

1.In the GPMC tree, right-click the Group Policy object (GPO) for which you want to configure the Offline Files settings, and then click Edit.
2.Under Computer Configuration, expand Administrative Templates\Network\Offline Files.
3.Configure settings as needed.

Configuring Background Sync

Background Sync is a machine-specific setting which applies to any user who logs on to the specified computer while this policy setting is in effect. This policy setting is in effect when a network folder is determined to be in “slow-link” mode, as specified by the “Configure slow-link mode” policy setting.

For network folders in "slow-link" mode, a sync will be initiated in the background on a regular basis according to these settings, to synchronize the files in those shares/folders between the client and the server. By default, network folders in "slow-link" mode will be synchronized with the server every 360 minutes, with the start of the sync varying between 0 and 60 minutes.

You can override the default sync interval and variance by setting 'Sync Interval' and 'Sync Variance' values. You can also set a period of time where background sync is disabled by setting 'Blockout Start Time' and 'Blockout Duration.' To ensure that all the network folders on the computer are synchronized with the server on a regular basis, you may also set the 'Maximum Allowed Time Without A Sync.'

You may also configure Background Sync for network shares that are in user-selected "Work Offline" mode. This mode is in effect when a user selects the "Work Offline" button for a specific share. When selected, all configured settings will apply to shares in the user-selected "Work Offline" mode as well.

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To configure Background Sync

1.In the Group Policy Management Editor, click the Offline Files folder.

2.In the right pane, double-click Configure Background Sync.

3.Click Enabled, and under Options, make selections as needed.

4.Click OK.

Enabling Transparent Caching

Enabling this policy setting optimizes subsequent reads to network files by a user or an application. This is done by caching reads to remote files over a slow network in the Offline Files cache. Subsequent reads to the same file are then satisfied from the client after verifying the integrity of the cached copy. This policy setting not only yields improved end-user response times but also decreased bandwidth consumption over the WAN links to the server.

The cached files are temporary and are not available to the user when offline. The cached files are not kept in sync with the version on the server, and the most current version from the server is always available for subsequent reads.

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To enable Transparent Caching

1.In the Group Policy Management Editor, click the Offline Files folder.

2.In the right pane, double-click Enable Transparent Caching.

3.Click Enabled, and under Options, enter a network latency value.

4.Click OK.

Excluding files from being cached

Use this setting to exclude certain file types from being made available offline. You need to specify the file extensions of the file types that should be excluded. A user will then be unable to create a file of this type in the folders that have been made available offline.

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To exclude files from being cached

1.In the Group Policy Management Editor, click the Offline Files folder.

2.In the right pane, double-click Exclude files from being cached.

3.Click Enabled, and under Options, enter the file extensions that you want to exclude from being made available offline.

4. Click OK.