Offline Files Chat (July 10, 2007)

Chat Topic: Offline Files Chat
Date: Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Thank you for joining today’s chat with the Offline Files in Windows Vista team.  We will begin the chat in about 5 minutes due to the lateness of the email reminders.  In the meantime, feel free to start queuing up questions!

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Welcome to today’s chat with the Offline Files in Windows Vista team. We will try to answer as many questions as we can today. Participants should type their questions, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.” Those posts will go into a private queue, from which our experts will draft answers and repost questions in the upper window with their answers. (To confirm: if you selected the “Ask the experts” check box when you posted, you don’t need to resubmit.            

 

At this time, I’ll let the experts introduce themselves.

Brian Aust [MSFT] (Expert):
My name is Brian Aust.  I am a developer on Offline Files and have been involved with the feature since its original introduction in Windows 2000.  My area of expertise is the user mode side of Offline Files including the service, sync engine, API, user interface, and integration with the Windows Shell.

Sriram [MS] (Expert):
I am Sriram Srinivasan. I am one of the developers who worked on this Vista version of Offline files. My area of expertise is kernel mode driver and usermode sync framework.

 



Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Good afternoon/evening, everyone!  My name is Wendy and I’ll be your host for today’s chat.  Exits are located over the wing and at the rear of the plane.  We’ll begin our beverage service shortly.

Jill Zoeller [MSFT] (Expert):
Hi, I’m Jill Zoeller, and up til a couple weeks ago I was the Community Program Manager for the Offline Files team (and many others).

anjlic_MSFT (Expert):
My name is Anjli Chaudhry and I am a Program Manager on Offline Files.

Navjot[MS] (Expert):
Hi, I am Navjot Virk. I am the Lead Program Manager for Offline Files and remote protocols. I have been working on offline files for last 6 years. I am happy to be here to answer any questions you have.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
For those just joining us, today’s chat is with the Offline Files in Windows Vista team.  To post a question, please type your question, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.” That way, we can track which questions we still need to answer.


Brian Aust [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Sometimes I see mobsync.exe running, although I disabled the offline files. Why? a bug? How can I disable Sync Center?
A: As you state, mobsync.exe is a process related to Sync Center.  It is essentially a central “service” process for Sync Center to coordinate the operation of the various handlers plugged into it’s architecture.  It’s not a true service but it acts logically similar to one in this context.  As far as I know there is no way to disable Sync Center.  It was created and maintained by a team different than the one involved in this chat.  If you want to use Offline Files, Sync Center is required. 



Navjot[MS] (Expert):
Q: whats the difference between offline folders in xp and vista
A: There are many differences between offline files in XP and Vista. Some of the main differences are –

Seamless Offline to Online Transition

Better Sync Algorithm & Delta Sync

Support for Large Files like .pst

Per-user Encryption

Better Detection and Configuration of Slow-link mode

Consistent Client/Server Namespace (Ghosting)

Per-share connection state

Scriptable API Support

 

For more details please refer to the technet article –

http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsVista/en/library/bb819260-0fdc-4003-bc23-04beac2108bd1033.mspx?mfr=true



Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
To post a question, please type your question, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.”

Navjot[MS] (Expert):
Q: I’d like to know if there are any offline files hotfixes in the works and if they will be included with SP1 or if they need to be requested through premiere support.
A: There are some hotfixes in work for offline files that you can to request through normal support channels.

Sriram [MS] (Expert):
Q: Are there any plans to allow administrators to control where the offline files cache is stored (via group policy or other means)?  ie. storing it on a second partition instead of the system drive
A: You can use CacheLocation registry key in Vista to control cache location. Please refer to http://support.microsoft.com/kb/937475/en-us for more information.

anjlic_MSFT (Expert):
Q: I’m having problems disabling offline files altogether via Group Policy. Am I on the right chat to get tips for that?
A: Yes, you are on the right chat. Can you describe the exact problem ?

Sriram [MS] (Expert):
Q: In the folders that I have setup for offline, I often see LOTS of .tmp files (i.e. {0C121D08-7953-45AA-88E5-026320D5F26C}.tmp).  What are these and how do I stop them from reoccurring??
A: Do you get access denied during sync? There is a known issue causing this problem if share is access is set to MODIFY instead of FULL_CONTROL. This has been fixed and please contact support to get the fix.

Brian Aust [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: In Windows Vista are Offline files all synced behind the scenes automaticlaly when a network connection is made back on the home network? In XP we had a terrible time with files taking too long to sync, lots of conflicts and files not syncing at all.
A: The sync engine in Offline Files has been completely redesigned and rewritten.  Without investigating specific issues you had with Windows XP it is difficult to know for sure if those issues will no longer occur with Vista clients.  Independent changes and resulting conflicts are fundamental behaviors when working offline and are not necessarily specific to a particular implementation of Offline Files.  I do believe you’ll find that the experience in Vista is signficantly improved.  While the time to move bits over the network is independent of Offline Files, the Vista sync engine is significantly faster at determining what needs to be synchronized.  In addition, you will no longer experience the “close open files” dialog upon connection.  Sync Conflicts are now reported through Sync Center‘s conflicts folder and will not interrupt the sync operation.

Navjot[MS] (Expert):
Q: In Vista offline files has conflict resolution improved?  In XP we constantly ran into coflicts where the user had the option of choosing which file to keep, even though one was clearly the old one as seen by the date/time stamp.  the user would choose
A: Offline files will show conflicts only if the file was modified both on the client and the server when offline. However, once a conflict is detected, by default the user is asked which version they would like to keep and that conflict dialog will show the timestamps for both the versions. The user also has the choice to keep both the versions. Alternately, if the sync is invoked through a script you can specify that sync should always pick the newer version.

Sriram [MS] (Expert):
Q: whats the difference between offline folders in xp and vista
A: There are many differences between offline files in XP and Vista. Some of the main differences are –

Seamless Offline to Online Transition

Better Sync Algorithm & Delta Sync

Support for Large Files like .pst

Per-user Encryption

Better Detection and Configuration of Slow-link mode

Consistent Client/Server Namespace (Ghosting)

Per-share connection state

Scriptable API Support

 

For more details please refer to the technet article –

http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsVista/en/library/bb819260-0fdc-4003-bc23-04beac2108bd1033.mspx?mfr=true

Sriram [MS] (Expert):
Q: I am having problems synchronizing.  I keep getting conflicts that say access denied and also I have a whole bunch of tmp files that keep showing up in my share.  Any idea what is going on?
A: There is a known issue causing this problem if share is access is set to MODIFY instead of FULL_CONTROL. This has been fixed and please contact support to get the fix.



Navjot[MS] (Expert):
Q: Will the hotfixes that are in the works for offline files be included in SP1 or will they be separate downloads?
A: Currently the hotfixes are only available through the support channels.

Brian Aust [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Are there any plans to create commandlets for PowerShell that will allow administrators to access the offline files cache?
A: Offline Files supports scripting via a WMI provider.  There are no specific plans to integrate with Power Shell beyond what support is automatically provided through WMI.  The provider’s object model is documented on MSDN.

http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb530663.aspx



Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
For those just joining us, today’s chat is with the Offline Files in Windows Vista team.  To post a question, please type your question, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.” That way, we can track which questions we still need to answer.

Navjot[MS] (Expert):
Q: Will files be able to be synced with windows live folders when its released thru the exsisting vista interface or thru other add on seperate working apps?
A: Windows live folders in Vista are not synced through sync center.

Brian Aust [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Allow or Disallow use of the Offline Files Feature: Disabled — Phohibit user configuration of Offline Files: Enabled
A: Not sure what the question is here but that policy is not applicable to Vista clients.  Please see the applicability statement for this policy in gpedit.msc.

Sriram [MS] (Expert):
Q: I have the control set at full control and I still am having the tmp file and access denied issues.  I was wondering if this is what it is talking about in KB935663
A: If you have share access set at full control then the KB935663 dose not apply. Is your setup a DFS namespace? I would try the fix in KB article to check if issue is addressed. If not then we will have to debug this further.

Brian Aust [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: OK, so how do I disable offline files to all of my vista PCs.  Is there a GPO for that?
A: Yes, as in Windows 2000 and XP there is a policy for that.  In fact, it is the same policy. 

Computer Config -> Admin Templates -> Network -> Offline Files -> Allow or disallow use of the Offline Files feature.

Note that to disable Offline Files in Vista we’re stopping the Offline Files service (CSCService), stopping the CSC driver, and setting their start types to “disabled”.  Because of open file handles and remote file system state a restart of the client is often necessary after the policy is applied. 

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
For those just joining us, today’s chat is with the Offline Files in Windows Vista team.  To post a question, please type your question, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.” That way, we can track which questions we still need to answer.

Brian Aust [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is anyone out there using the new “Work offline” button in the Explorer command bar?  This is a new feature in response to many requests for it in the Windows XP product.  Just wanted to gauge how