Windows 8 : Managing BitLocker and other policy-based mobility tools (part 4) - Configuring policy settings for offline files

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Configuring policy settings for offline files

Offline files settings enable a device to continue working with files that were obtained from the network while the device is disconnected. Changes made to these files are synchronized with the network when the device is reconnected. This provides flexibility for individuals who are mobile and want to work on documents while traveling.

The following offline files policy settings are included with Windows 8:

  • Subfolders Always Available Offline

  • Specify Administratively Assigned Offline Files

  • Configure Background Sync

  • Limit Disk Space Used By Offline Files

  • Non-Default Server Disconnect Actions

  • Default Cache Size

  • Allow Or Disallow Use Of The Offline Files Feature

  • Encrypt The Offline Files Cache

  • Event Logging Level

  • Enable File Screens

  • Files Not Cached

  • Action On Server Disconnect

  • Prevent Use Of Offline Files Folder

  • Prohibit User Configuration Of Offline Files

  • Remove “Make Available Offline” Command

  • Remove “Make Available Offline” Command For These Files And Folders

  • Turn Off Reminder Balloons

  • Enable Transparent Caching

  • At Logoff, Delete Local Copy Of User’s Offline Files

  • Turn On Economical Application Of Administratively Assigned Offline Files

  • Reminder Balloon Frequency

  • Initial Reminder Balloon Lifetime

  • Configure Slow-Link Mode

  • Configure Slow-Link Speed

  • Synchronize All Offline Files Before Logging Off

  • Synchronize All Offline Files When Logging On

  • Synchronize Offline Files Before Suspend

  • Enable File Synchronization On Costed Networks

  • Remove “Work Offline” Command

To configure offline files policy settings, complete the following steps:

  1. Launch the Local Group Policy Editor by searching for gpedit.msc on the Start screen or typing gpedit.msc in the Run dialog box (Windows logo key+R).

  2. Expand the Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Network\Offline Files path.

  3. Double-tap or double-click the policy object you want to work with.

  4. Select Enabled.

  5. Configure other options, if available, as needed for your organization.

  6. Document the changes within the object’s comments dialog box.

  7. Tap or click OK to save the changes.

Figure 3 shows the configuration dialog box for the Subfolders Always Available Offline policy object.

Policy settings to ensure that subfolders of an offline folder are also available offline

Figure 3. Policy settings to ensure that subfolders of an offline folder are also available offline

One of the best use cases for offline files, as mentioned previously, is to configure the portable devices of employees within an organization who travel some of the time or work from home some of the time. For example, the vice president of sales for Contoso travels about 100 days per year but maintains an office at Contoso and spends most of his days there when he is not traveling. When he travels, he uses time on airplanes and in hotel rooms to work. Configuring offline files allows him to have the necessary files while he is away. In addition to connecting to the corporate network through a virtual private network (VPN) or other technologies, the files taken offline are available locally without any connection to the office, making him productive even without the Internet.

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