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Introduction to Offline Files

Offline Files are a copy of network files from your home (U:) drive which are stored on the hard drive (also know as the C: drive) of your laptop. This means that you can access them even when you are not connected to our network, and any changes you make will be "synchronised" back to the server the next time you connect.

Offline Files are considered "offline" when you are not connected to our network. Therefore, even if you are connected to the internet (for example via a home network or Eduroam) your network files are still "offline" since you will not be connected to our network and file servers (unless you are using our VPN service).

Users of our Druva inSync Share service have their files synchronised across any internet connection via the Druva client, and so do not to use Offline Files.

Requirements

  • A supported Windows laptop
  • Sufficient space on your C: drive to store your a copy of your network files. You can check this by clicking on Computer from the Start Menu, and seeing how much space is available
  • The initial setup of Offline Files needs to be performed while you are connected to our network. It cannot be performed remotely

Instructions

Configuring Offline Files

By default we configure all Windows laptops purchased through us to have Desktop, Favourites (for Internet Explorer), Contacts and Links to synchronise as Offline Files on the Medschl and Zoology domains. We will also offer to make your "My Documents" folder available offline during delivery.

If you wish to add additional network folders to be available offline then follow these steps:

 Making additional files available offline

Group Drives

Offline Files should never be configured for files or folders that are accessed by others, such as on Group Drives, as this would lead to synchronisation conflicts when two people edit the same file.

If you wish to make other folders or files in your home drive available offline (such as your My Documents folder), take the following steps:

  1. Right-click on the item in Windows Explorer and select Properties. Check that the Size is less than the available space on your C: drive
  2. Right-click on the item in Windows Explorer and select Always available offline
  3. The files will now be synchronised to your computer.
  4. Wait for a message saying Completed preparing files so they are always available offline

You can check if a file or folder is available offline by selecting it in Windows Explorer, and looking at the status bar at the bottom. If the item is available offline, you will see the following in the status bar at the bottom of the window:

Preparing to use Offline Files Off-site

While you are on-site and connected to the network, your offline files cache is updated at logon, periodically while logged on, and at log-off. Therefore before going off-site, you should always log-off before disconnecting your network cable / connection.

If you disconnect your network before logging off (or do not log off at all) you may find certain files are unavailable to you.

Using Offline Files

When you access your Offline Files while not connected to our network, there is no need to look in a different location on your computer, despite the fact that they are being saved on your hard drive. The files will appear in the same location as if you were in fact connected to the network.

If you find that files you were expecting to be available cannot be accessed, then they not successfully synchronised.

Synchronising your offline changes

One of the risks of using Offline Files is that any new or edited documents are not backed up until you synchronise. You should therefore plan to synchronise as soon as you can - this can be done by connecting to the on-site network, or by connecting VPN (Virtual Private Network) 

 

FAQ

Missing Files

 I'm offsite, and some of my files are missing...

Either these files are have not been set to be available offline, or the files have not successfully synced. You should consider the following:

  1. Do you have any sync conflicts (see below)
  2. Is the file or folder set to be available offline as per the instructions above?
  3. Did you log off from the computer while connected to the network, before taking your laptop offi-site?
 I'm offsite, my files are missing and I need it now...

As a workaround, you could download files directly from your network drive via Web SFTP or via SFTP Client. Remember to keep track of which is the latest version!

Sync problems

 I'm getting errors that files cannot be accessed when trying to sync for the first time...

Occasionally, when performing the first synchronisation of a large number of files, you may receive an error message stating that certain files could not be accessed. This appears to related to the system trying to synchronise a large number of files at once. Please try the following steps:

  1. Right-click on the Sync Center icon in the system tray in the bottom-right of the screen, and select Sync All.
  2. The icon should spin briefly, then stop with a small blue tick in the bottom-right 
  3. If this does not resolve the issue, and the error icon  persists, please contact the Service Desk.
 I receive a warning about sync conflicts...

If the computer detects that the server copy of the file has changed, as well your offliner copy, you will see error icon. This can be caused by:

  • the file being changed from different computer before you have synchronised changes made offline
  • If you have made a shared folder available offline, someone else may have changed the file before you have synchronised changes made offline

 

You should perform the following steps to resolve these conflicts:

  1. Right-click on the system tray icon, and select View Conflicts
  2. This will bring up a dialog box listing the conflicting items. Double-click on each item and review the options for resolving the conflict. Generally you may wish to keep the most recently modified or larger version. If in doubt, choose to keep both versions.
  3. Right-click on the icon in the system tray again, and select Sync All
  4. If the conflicts keep occurring, or if you are seeing "conflicts" where the time and file sizes are in fact identical please contact the Service Desk

In the event of any other problems or queries, please contact the Service Desk as soon as possible so we can assist you and ensure your files are correctly saved on the network.

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