Offline Files Issue

Discussion in 'Server Networking' started by Aaron Hoffman, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. We have recently setup folder redirection and roaming profiles.

    Everything is working properly for most of our users, however one individual
    is having an issue when she logs off of the system. It attempts to
    synchronize and then says, "Errors occurred while Windows was synchronizing
    your data."

    When the Results tab is selected, it displays the following warning messages:

    Offline Files (\\Server\Users Shared Folders on Server): Unable to make
    'file.mdb' available on \\Server\User Shared Folders\user1\My
    Documents\Folder. Files of this type cannot be made available offline.

    (there are about 6 files that show this message)

    In addition, there are two entries that say:
    Offline Files (\\Server\Users Shared Folders on Server): Unable to make
    'file2.mdb' available on \\Server\User Shared Folders\user2\My
    Documents\Folder. Files of this type cannot be made available offline.

    It seems as though it is attempting to synchronize to another users shared
    folder ie. user2. I'm not sure why this is happening and why we are even
    receiving these messages to begin with. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Aaron Hoffman, Aug 16, 2006
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  2. In
    My first question is, why are you using offline files on LAN-connected
    computers? Frankly, I'm not much of a fan even for laptops and use other
    methods for file syncing, but on a LAN, I don't see the point at all. You're
    running into one of what will likely be many problems. I would turn off
    offline files unless you have some pressing need.

    The other issue is, you can't sync certain kinds of files (mdb, pst, etc)
    without registry hacks.
    Lanwench [MVP - Exchange], Aug 18, 2006
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  3. I am open to suggestions regarding this issue. Is it recommended to not use
    offline files on LAN-connected computers? The hope was that since we have
    setup roaming profiles and folder redirection, users would still be able to
    access their files should the server go down. If so, is there an easy way to
    turn this off without having to manually set it up on each system, eg. group

    Aaron Hoffman, Aug 18, 2006
  4. In
    By me? Yes.
    By others? Perhaps not.
    Are you expecting unplanned server outages on a regular basis?
    DFS is another option, remember. I'd rather not deal with the mishegoss of
    offline files if a server went down, honestly. And good server hardware will
    go a long way in ensuring against that.
    Yep - if you don't want it at all, you can disable it in the properties of
    the shares themselves, or you can disable it via GPO - perhaps just applying
    it to the OU where your desktops live, if you have laptop users and want to
    use it then (although I don't; I use SecondCopy from for

    The relevant GP bits are in
    Computer config\admin templates\network\offline files

    ....should you decide to go that route.
    Lanwench [MVP - Exchange], Aug 19, 2006
  5. No, we are not planning for any unexpected server outages on a regular
    basis...thanks for asking. What exactly is the purpose of the offline files?
    You sound like you've had problems with it? We will most likely go ahead and
    just disable it. Also, how exactly do the roaming profiles work? I know the
    files are stored on the server, but what happens when the user logs on to the
    system, opens a file, and saves it? Does it download a copy to the local
    machine, or does it always reside on the server. I'm not so familar with
    that. Anyway, I do appreciate your help. Thanks, Aaron
    Aaron Hoffman, Aug 21, 2006
  6. In
    ;-) that's a good thing.
    Useful for laptops, but I prefer third party options even then.
    Oh my, yes. Some people love them. I probably won't use them again; I've
    seen clients lose data while working offline.
    Here's my boilerplate on the subject -

    General tips:

    1. Set up a share on the server. For example - d:\profiles, shared as
    profiles$ to make it hidden from browsing. Make sure this share is not set
    to allow offline files/caching!
    2. Make sure the share permissions on profiles$ indicate everyone=full
    control. Set the NTFS security to administrators, system, and users=full
    3. In the users' ADUC properties, specify \\server\profiles$\%username% in
    the profiles field
    4. Have each user log into the domain once from their usual workstation
    (where their existing profile lives) and log out. The profile is now
    5. If you want the administrators group to automatically have permissions to
    the profiles folders, you'll need to make the appropriate change in group
    policy. Look in computer configuration/administrative
    templates/system/logon - there's an option to add administrators group to
    the roaming profiles permissions.


    * Make sure users understand that they should never log into multiple
    computers at the same time when they have roaming profiles (unless you make
    the profiles mandatory by renaming ntuser.dat to so they can't
    change them). Explain that the
    last one out
    wins, when it comes to uploading the final, changed copy of the profile.

    * Keep your profiles TINY. Redirect My Documents; usually best done to the
    user's home directory on the server - either via
    group policy (folder redirection) or manually (far less advisable). If you
    aren't going to also redirect the desktop using policies, tell users that
    they are not to store any files on the desktop or you will beat them with a
    stick. Big profile=slow login/logout, and possible profile corruption.

    * Note that user profiles are not compatible between different OS versions,
    even between W2k/XP. Keep all your computers. Keep your workstations as
    identical as possible - meaning, OS version is the same, SP level is the
    same, app load is (as much as possible) the same.

    * Do not let people store any data locally - all data belongs on the server.

    * The User Profile Hive Cleanup Utility should be running on all your
    computers. You can download it here:

    Hope this helps.
    Lanwench [MVP - Exchange], Aug 23, 2006
  7. Thank you for all the advice.

    The only issue that I am having now, it does not seem that the offline files
    has actually been disabled.

    I went to "Computer config\admin templates\network\offline files" in the
    group policy as you mentioned before and set "Allow or Disallow use of the
    Offline Files feature" to Disable. However, it seems that when the user logs
    off his/her account it still performs a sync (I have also rebooted the

    When I go to Items to Syncronize on each users computer there is a check box
    beneath the Offline files with the path to where folder redirection is setup.

    Is there something that I am missing? We are running Windows Server 2003
    for SBS so I'm not sure if that might be an issue.

    Thanks again,
    Aaron Hoffman, Aug 23, 2006
  8. In
    Did you also disable Offline File caching in the properties of the shares
    themselves on the server?
    I'd set up a new GPO and link it to the SBSComputers OU, rather than using
    the built-in it No Offline Files or something.

    In Computer\Admin\Network\Offline Files, the relevant options are -

    Allow or Disallow use of the offline files feature = disabled.
    Prohibit user configuration of offline files = enabled.
    Sync all offline files when logging on (and off) = Disabled
    Remove Make Available Offline = enabled
    Prevent use of Offline Files folder = Enabled

    Some of that may be overkill, honestly. But I've used it successfully as

    Do a gpupdate /force on the server, and on the clients....see what happens.
    Of course, you will have made sure they're fully sync'd before doing any of
    this, right?
    Lanwench [MVP - Exchange], Aug 23, 2006
  9. I have disabled the Offline File caching in the properties of the shares on
    the server. I'm not so familiar with group policies but I set up a new GPO
    named "No Offline Files" and linked it to the SBSComputers OU. I then went
    into Edit to get to Computer\Admin\Network\Offline Files and disabled/enabled
    what you have recommended. Do I need to do anything with Security Filtering
    or Delegation? When I right-click the GPO there is a check by Link Enabled,
    above it says Enforced(but it is not checked)? Also, when I click on the
    domain I see Linked Group Policy Objects but I don't see No Offline Files. If
    I go to MyBusiness, Computers, SBSComputers, I see No Offline Files there. It
    says GPO Status is Enabled. Like I said, I am not so familar in this area.

    While I have done the gpupdate /force and it seems that the Offline Files
    are still setup to sync under Items to Syncronize. There must still be
    something that I'm missing in the GPO possibly?

    Now, I have noticed an issue with one user so far. When the user logs into
    the computer a window appears that says, "Windows cannot locate the server
    copy of your roaming profile and is attempting to log you on with your local
    profile. Changes to the profile will not be coped to the server when you
    logoff. Possible causes of this error include network problems or
    insufficient security rights..." This person was able to log in fine before I
    started making these changes. What would you recommend in the case?

    Again, I really do appreciate your help with this.

    Aaron Hoffman, Aug 24, 2006
  10. Just an update to my last post...

    The problem with roaming profiles seems to be more of an issue now. There
    are now a few people that are receiving the "Windows cannot locate the server
    copy of your roaming profile...." All of these that get this message have
    Windows XP computers. There is one user with Windows 2000 that gets the
    message, "Windows cannot create profile directory \\server\profiles\user.pds
    You will be logged onto local profile..." It seems that all of these people
    are now using their local profiles now. I'm not exactly sure what the best
    approach is right now?

    Aaron Hoffman, Aug 24, 2006
  11. You may disregard the last post and the issue regarding "Windows cannot
    locate the server copy of your roaming profile..." I have resolved that
    issue. Since I recently made the Profiles folder hidden this change needed to
    be updated in users' ADUC properties. Currently, as mentioned in my prior
    post the problem with the offline files still remains a problem.

    Aaron Hoffman, Aug 24, 2006
  12. I am replying to say that this issue has now been resolved. The reason why
    the offline files were not being stopped was due to the group policy. I
    created a new GPO and linked it to the SBSComputers OU but needed to link it
    to the domain as well. Once this change was made the offline files were
    effectively disabled.

    Thanks again for your help,
    Aaron Hoffman, Aug 25, 2006
  13. In
    It was probably in the SBS Client Computers GPO, which is for some reason
    that defies logic, applied at the domain level. I don't like to mess with
    the built in policies much, and would definitely use custom stuff to
    accomplish what you wish.

    Glad you got the problem licked. :)
    Lanwench [MVP - Exchange], Aug 27, 2006
  14. Aaron Hoffman

    Bill Guest

    Hi, maybe this is relevant. I've been loosing connectivity with every synch,
    but only with one computer, not another. Variety of failures and messages
    but one common outcome with each - going offline. An expert colleague has
    told me that XP synch is fundamentally unstable: any connection hiccup during
    synchronisation causes the PC to revert to its default which is offline. The
    only way to get back is to switch off Offline Folder functionality or restart
    the network connection. He recommends Microsoft SyncToy and reckons MS's
    purchase of this is an admission of XP functionality weakness.

    Bill, Oct 25, 2006
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