Working offline

Windows helps you work offline by enabling you to use shared network files and programs even when you are not connected to the network. Once you set up your portable or stand-alone computer to work offline, you can continue to work on shared network files as you normally do.

When you are working with offline files, you can view them in your Offline Files folder and delete them from your folder. You may also want to specify how and when your files are synchronized, or you may want to encrypt your offline files. These tasks, and some common questions about working offline, are addressed in the following information.

View your offline files

When you select a file in the Offline Files folder, Windows displays information about the file, such as its availability, type, location, and size.

Step-by-step procedure

Delete your offline files

When you delete files from your Offline Files folder, the network versions of the files are not deleted. You can choose to delete only your temporary offline files or all of your offline files.

Step-by-step procedure

Manage file synchronization

When you set up your computer to use offline files, you can select an option that enables Windows to perform automatic file synchronization for all of your offline files. Or, you can use Synchronization Manager to control which offline files are synchronized, when they are synchronized, and whether Windows asks you before synchronizing your files.

Step-by-step procedure

Encrypt your offline files

You can encrypt your offline files to keep them secure if your drive is formatted as NTFS If you choose to encrypt your offline files, the files on your local computer are encrypted as well as the files on the network. You do not need to decrypt an encrypted file or folder before using it.

Step-by-step procedure

Common questions about working offline:

How will I know when my network connection changes?

When the status of your network connection changes, the Offline Files icon appears in the notification area, and an informational balloon is displayed to inform you of the change. When you are disconnected from the network, a red X appears over the network drives in My Computer or My Network Places. When you browse these drives, you will only be able to see the files you made available offline.

Do my privileges change when I am working offline?

Your privileges for working with the network files and folders you make available offline remain the same whether you are connected to the network or working offline. For example, if you have read-only privileges for a file on a network drive, you will have read-only privileges to it when you disconnect from the network.

Can I print to network printers when I am working offline?

When you are disconnected from the network, you cannot print to shared printers on the network, but you can print to local printers.

What happens when I reconnect to the network?

When you reconnect to the network, the network files are synchronized with your offline files. This means that the network files are updated with changes that you made while working offline. If someone else didn't change the network copies of files you changed offline, your changes are copied to the network. If someone else did make changes, you can choose to keep your version, keep the one on the network, or keep both.

If multiple users are logged on to your computer with files open from the same shared folder, you will not be able to synchronize your files until their files are closed.

If you delete an offline file but someone else changes that file on the network, the file is deleted from your computer but not from the network.

If you change an offline file but someone else deletes it from the network, you can choose to save your version onto the network or delete it from your computer.

If you are disconnected from the network when a new file is added to a shared network folder, that new file will be added to your computer when you reconnect and synchronize.

Set up your computer to use offline files

Make Web pages available offline

Offline Files overview

Preparing to work offline

Encrypt offline files

View your offline files

Delete your offline files

Synchronize offline items

Change offline file access for shared folders

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