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Offline Folders

You might recognize the “Offline” problem: You’ll eventually want to have copies of a remote computer’s files on your own computer. If you make changes to your copies, the network’s copy will be out of date. If someone changes the originals on the remote computer, your copies will be out of date. And trying to remember where the originals came from and where the most recent copies are located is a painful job. The answer to the offline problem, of course, is automation. Computers can do anything, right?

I don’t know if you ever tried to use My Briefcase in previous versions of Windows, but the answer to that question is “not always.” My Briefcase was a tool that let you transfer files between computers by copying them to and from a special folder. Or something like that—the whole thing was so confusing I never really understood it. Whenever I tried to use it, it froze, lost files, or crashed my computer. Well, as the saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts.” Windows’s Offline Folders feature takes care of these problems. Here’s the skinny: When you mark a network folder for offline use, Windows stashes away a copy or caches the folder’s files somewhere on your hard drive, but all you see is the original shared folder on your screen. When you disconnect, the shared file folder remains on your screen, with its files intact. You can still add, delete and edit the files. Meanwhile, network users can do the same with the original copies. When you reconnect later, Windows will set everything right again.


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