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Learning Windows Server 2003 by Jonathan Hassell

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Using Offline Files and Folders

Offline Files and Folders is a neat feature, offered for the first time in Windows 2000 Professional, which synchronizes files and folders when you connect to and disconnect from the network. Similar to the Windows 95 Briefcase, except much more versatile and automated, Offline Files and Folders caches a copy of selected files and folders on a computer’s hard drive. When that computer becomes disconnected from the network for any reason, Windows reads the cache on the machine and intercepts requests for files and folders inside the cache. To the end user, he still can open, save, delete, and rename files on network shares because Windows is fooling him into thinking everything is still on the network and not in the cache. Windows records all changes, and the next time an appropriate network connection is detected, the changes are uploaded to the network and the cache and the actual network file store are synchronized.

Tip

What happens when a common network share—call it Contracts—is modified by two different users while they’re offline? In this instance, it’s really a case of who gets connected first. User A will synchronize with the network, and his modified version of the file will be the one now stored live on the network volume. When User B attempts to synchronize, Windows will prompt him to choose whether to keep the existing version (the one that User A modified) or to overwrite it with the one that User B has worked on.

This has obvious ...

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