I am surfing and searching the Internet for quite some time already (it must have been almost 15 years now). And I am still experiencing strange situations once in a while. For example the problem with the stupid Windows Offline Folders. Here is the story:
This many years I have in job a notebook instead of a desktop computer. Actually since 1999 when I started working for Microsoft in Germany. However, when Microsoft Released Windows 2000, there was also a new feature called “Offline Folders”.
For those of you who do not know what this is (I wonder why you are reading this article then). Here a short explanation: Use Offline Files When You’re off the Network (this article is about XP but in Windows 2000 it is the same, they just changed the name from folders to files …)
Now the feature is actually great. I do not have to be online in order to have access to my files on the fileserver. But it becomes terrible when you notebook thinks it is online, and you are actually not really online but connected through a vpn-tunnel with you corporate network. So you are more offline than online.
But since windows finds the fileserver and all the files through the vpn-tunnel, it assumes that it can access the files directly from the server. Since the connection from a remote location is never as good as when you are directly connected to the companies network, and the vpn-tunnel makes this even worth, this can become a pretty bad nightmare.
On my notebook, I configured the “My Documents” folder to be on our fileserver in our company network. This has the advantage the they are saved in a central place in our company (if I want I can have access from any branch office in the whole world) and I do not have to worry about backups since the fileserver is backed up regularly from our IT department. Fine! Great! Perfect! ….. .
Since I am traveling so much, this feature lost a lot of its attraction. When I am on travel, I have to have access to my Mailbox through Outlook. And I get this access via vpn through the Internet. Also I have the files cached on my notebook, Windows decides to download the files from the fileserver. You can imagine that this really hearts. Especially when you want to have a look at a Powerpoint.
For more then two years know, I travel more and more for my job. So the offline folder became more and more important. So I was surfing and searching the Internet in the hope to find a solution. How can I tell windows that it should use the cached version and not the server one. I found several user who had the same problem. But it seems that nobody had a solution in place.
Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools
It was just two weeks ago, I was working from my homeoffice, and this problem was driving me nuts again. Although I already researched the Internet for a couple of time, I tried it one last time.
And suddenly I found the solution. After two years I found it, and for my surprise, it was a very “official” solution.
I found that inside the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools there is a tool called csccmd.exe, which easily solves my problem. The official name is “Client-Side Caching Command-Line Options”. Together with the /disconnect switch, it just tell the offline files that they are offline. And so you can work with you offline version whenever you want. Here are the functions which are most important for me:
csccmd /DISABLE - Disables the Caching in general
csccmd /ENABLE - Guess what …. it enables it again
cscccmd /DISCONNECT:\\Server\Share – if you want you can disable just a specific share
All functions can be found here : Client-Side Caching Command-Line Options
In order to simplify the use of the tool, I just created a small batch file with the following content:
And I saved it as disconnect.bat on my desktop. So whenever I a working from a remote location. I click the batch file and I can start to work. Excellent!
No finally I can rest in peace. I can work very efficient with using this tool. Not only that I do not have to wait for ages when I open a big file, now I am much more relaxed and in a better mood not.