SBS 2011 Essentials Win 7 Pro Pack Disable Offline Files
March 22, 2012 4 Comments
The default for redirected folders, is to make them available offline. Which is great, except if you’re like me, and get really frustrated with Offline Files, and the Sync Center. Even more so if your network is totally desktop driven with no laptops.
To disable the use of Offline Files, is really quite simple using a GPO.
What if you only want to disable it for some of your computers?
Again, quite simple, but you need to follow some extra steps.
First, let’s build a GPO to disable Offline Files.
Open the GPMC from the Administrative Tools menu.
Expand Group Policy Objects, then right click Group Policy Objects, and click New.
Enter a Name for your Policy – something like – Disable Offline Files. You can ignore ‘Starter GPO’
Your Policy now appears in the list. Right click, and choose Edit.
The Group Policy Editor will open.
Under Computer Configuration, expand Policies, Administrative Templates, Network, Offline Files.
Find the ‘Allow or Disallow use of the Offline Files Feature’ policy setting, double click, and set to disabled. Enter a comment if you want to.
Click OK to confirm, and then close down the GPO Editor.
Now, we can be a little creative with how to filter this policy so it only applies to the desktop computers.
There are a lot of different ways to achieve this but i am going for an easy one.
Open up Active Directory Users & Computers from the Administrative Tools menu.
Select the Users container. Right click and Select, New > Group.
Enter a name for your group, i am choosing ‘DesktopComputers’ select OK when you have entered a name.
Right click your new Group, and click Properties.
Switch to the Members tab, and click Add.
Click Object types, and make sure to select Computers. Then click OK.
In the search box, enter the name of the computers you want to disable Offline Files for.
You can enter multiple names separated by a ‘;’ and then use the Check Names button to search for the Computers.
Click OK when you have added all your computers.
Close down Active Directory Users & Computers, and switch back to the GPMC.
Select your Policy again, and under Security Filtering, remove ‘Authenticated users’, then click Add, and enter the name of your Group.
Right click your Domain Name at the top of the GPMC, and select Link and Existing GPO..
Find your new Policy in the list, and select it.
We can now switch to one of our Desktop PC’s and check the status of Group Policy.
On my Win7 Client i am going to run an Elevated Command Prompt.
We can see that the current settings do not reflect what we have just configured.
We can quickly reboot the PC to change that.
After a reboot you can see that the Policy is now applied, and the Computer shows a member of our new Group.
You can go into the Sync Center and check the status of Offline Files.
You may see that it shows Offline Files is Disable but Active – simply reboot again to fully disable.
If you ever add any more Desktop machines, simply make sure to add them as a member of your Group to disable Offline Files, and if you ever want to re-enable Offline Files, remove them from the Group, and then use the Sync Center to switch Offline Files back on.