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I have been trying to completely disable the offline files feature for all the W7 PCs on the domain that I manage. I have been unable to.

I do not want this feature as it creates unwanted, largely unnecesary network traffic every time a computer logs in (and presumably - out?)

I have tried setting the GPO settings (example - Synchronize all offline files when logging on - disabled, Synchronize all offline files before logging off - disabled, Allow or disallow use of offline files feature - disabled) in both Computer Configuration and User Configuration. But my W7 machines still happily sync files when they log on.

I am wondering if this is because my domain functional level is 2003. Should it be 2008 for these settings to work on W7 machines?

If not, any ideas why I can't get these settings to apply? (Other GPO settings work fine for the W7 machines)

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Do you have any folder redirection or roaming profiles enabled? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Sep 28 '13 at 15:40
Yes, both are enabled. But the offline files problem also occurs for profiles that are not roaming, such as my own. - Does offline files need to be on for folder redirection to occur? – MrVimes Sep 28 '13 at 15:42
Have you ensured the GPO is being applied to the workstation(s) (RSOP or GPResult)? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Sep 28 '13 at 15:44
No, I'll have a look at rsop now.... edit: no errors in rsop. – MrVimes Sep 28 '13 at 15:45
No errors perhaps, but does it show that the GPO settings are being applied? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Sep 28 '13 at 15:49

2 Answers 2

I have disabled this on my network too since we are not using Offline Files. The option you want is under:

Computer Configuration | Policies | Administrative Templates | Network | Offline Files | Allow or Disallow use of the Offline Files feature | Disabled

Alternatively, you can disable this in the registry too using this batch file command:

reg add "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\CSC" /v "Start" /t REG_DWORD /d 4 /f

Reference for registry option:

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I think you're going to find it's best to leave Offline Files on. Windows needs Offline Files when you run Roaming Profiles, because otherwise the user cannot use their computer if there is a network/server error (they will be missing half their profile) and the downtime caused by this would be worse than the network use for syncing files.

However if you really want to turn it off you can try:

User Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Folder Redirection\

  • Do not automatically make all redirected folders available offline

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Network\offline files\

  • Default cache size
  • Limit disk space used by offline files

There's probably a few more I'm missing. Try

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Note that Offline Files should not be used with Roaming Profiles since they are both use sync mechanisms. Also, if the network is not available when using a roaming profile, it will use the cached profile settings after the network times out. In our case, we disable roaming profiles on laptops since the user experience is not ideal. – Aakash Shah May 2 at 4:51

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