Windows 7 Offline Files

The Offline Files feature is only available to users running Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate Editions as it is mainly related to files hosted on shared folders over the network. Offline Files allows you to access files on your mobile computer when you are out of the office or the network is down. This feature allows you to locally cache files hosted elsewhere and work on the locally stored copy when the computer is unable to connect to the original network resource.

When the network connection is restored or you return to the office, the locally stored and modified files are synchronized with their original counterparts on the shared network folder.  To make a file available offline you need to right-click the file and click the Always Available Offline option as shown below:

When the local cache becomes full, the least used files are replaced by newer ones, however, Windows 7 does not remove manually cached files unless a user specifically deletes them. The files you set for offline usage display a green state ‘Always available’ mark in Windows Explorer as shown below:

If you are working offline while someone else changes a file in a shared network folder, Windows syncs those changes with the offline file on your computer the next time you connect to that network folder. If you have also changed the file since you last connected to the network folder, a sync conflict will occur and Windows will ask you which version you want to keep.

The size and number of your offline files determine how much hard disk space your offline files use. To help manage your offline files disk usage, you can find out how much hard disk space your offline files are currently using, and choose how much hard disk space to allow for your offline files (maximum disk usage). To view or set this threshold, follow these steps:

  1. In the Start search text box type in Manage Offline Files and press enter.
  2. Click the Disk Usage tab.
  3. Check your disk usage information or perform any other tasks, and then click OK.