Windows Server 2008 R2 Shares - Client-Side Caching and Offline Files

To provide flexibility for mobile users and to provide centralized storage for end-user data, Windows Server 2008 R2 shares can be configured to allow, enforce, or disable client-side caching of shared server data. Client-side caching (CSC) is a feature that enables data shared on a server to be synchronized between the server and end-user workstations. This enables end users to access data when the server is unavailable or when the workstation is not connected to the company network. This feature also can be used to ensure that any data stored in a synchronized end-user workstation folder is copied to the server for centralized storage and backup and recoverability.

For CSC to function properly, both the workstation and the server must be configured to support it. CSC from the workstation and server side is more commonly referred to as Offline Files. Depending on the workstation operating system version, different synchronization options are available. A common usage of offline files is to couple offline files with a Group Policy setting called Folder Redirection.

Folder Redirection can be used to redirect the end user’s My Documents or Documents folder to a server share. When an end user’s My Documents or Documents folder is redirected to a server share with offline files enabled, enforced or not, the folder is automatically configured to synchronize with the server. This functionality ensures that any file an end user saves to their default documents folder will be copied up to the server during synchronization. The default offline file synchronization settings for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will synchronize with the server at logon, logoff, and when a file is opened or saved. Additionally, synchronization can be configured to run when a computer has been idle or when a user locks or unlocks a workstation.

Offline files can be configured on a per-share basis using the shared folder’s share property page. By default, all shares allow end users to configure offline file synchronization as they desire. Certain folders—for example, the My Documents or Documents folders—when redirected to a Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2008 R2 system, will automatically enable and configure the folder to be synchronized. To synchronize additional shares, perform the following steps on the server and the workstation:

1. Log on to the Windows Server 2008 R2 system with an account with administrator privileges.

2. Click Start, click All Programs, click Administrative Tools, and select Server Manager.

3. Double-click on Roles, and then double-click on File Services.

4. Select Share and Storage Management.

5. In the tasks pane, right-click the share that needs to be available offline, and select Properties.

6. On the Sharing tab, click the Advanced button.

7. Select the Caching tab, and verify that one of the following option buttons is selected:
» Only the Files and Programs That Users Specify Are Available Offline
» All Files and Programs That Users Open from the Share Are Automatically Available Offline

8. Close the Share Properties dialog box and the Share and Storage Management console.

9. Log on to the Windows 7 workstation with an account with administrator privileges.

10. Click the Windows flag, or Start button, and select Control Panel.

11. Near the upper-right corner of the Control Panel window, pull down the View By menu and choose to view the window by Small Icons instead of Categories.

12. Scroll down in the window as necessary to locate Sync Center and click on the link.

13. When the Sync Center window opens, click on the Manage Offline Files link in the left pane of the window.

14. When the Offline Files window opens, verify that the top button on the General tab is labeled Disable Offline Files, which means that offline file functionality is enabled. If the button is labeled Enable Offline Files, click the button and click OK to save the settings and reboot the workstation.

Source of Information :  Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

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