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How to restore the missing Briefcase feature in Windows 8 RTM

Although Windows 8 offers you several "modern" data synchronization solutions such as SkyDrive and Microsoft Account, they both are limited - they are dependent on the Internet. You may or may not know about the old "Briefcase" feature which was removed from Windows 8. It offers you simple two way data synchronization which was offline and could be used with removable drives. Someone at Microsoft decided to remove it from the brand new release of Windows 'cause he thought perhaps that the feature was too outdated. If you miss Briefcase, here is a simple solution for you.

I have figured out a way to restore the Briefcase feature with a simple registry hack. It looks as follows:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00



As you can see, there is no magic here. The main value is the missing "ShellNew" subkey at Briefcase's file descriptor branch in the registry. All you need is to merge the following registry tweak:

Briefcase restore tweak

Merge the Windows 8-Enable Briefcase.reg file to enable Briefcase feature. Merge the Windows 8-Disable Briefcase.reg file to disable it again. Quite simple.

If you have trouble synchronizing files in the Briefcase after you have restored it, please see this article.

34 thoughts on “How to restore the missing Briefcase feature in Windows 8 RTM

  1. Joe Lupino

    Briefcase restore tweak worked … thanks!

  2. Abid Aziz

    Great ! it worked flawlessley. it was required …. thanks a lot

  3. Pierre-Marc Lepeudry

    The tweak worked to install the Briefcase but then I can’t synchronize it!!!
    Any idea?

  4. Gaurav Kale

    Which locations are you synchronizing? Right click on Briefcase, it has “Update All” command.

  5. Roy Eastwood

    Thanks to Sergey for posting thgis tweak.

    I agree it’s not as obvious as having a “Briefcase” button on the menu. So try selecting the files & folders you want to synchronize then right-click and chhose “Update”.

    Does anyone know how to add Briefcase to the menu – with Update All, Update Selection and Split from Original commands?


  6. Gaurav Kale

    @Roy Eastwood, use Winaero’s Ribbon disabler to disable the ribbon, then you will get Update and Update All back on the Explorer toolbar. Split from original is in each file’s properties -> Update status tab.

  7. Mike Lambert

    Your solution is exactly what I’m looking for. I have two questions –
    1. Will it work with Windows 8 Pro (your article is headed Windows 8 Pro)?
    2. How do you merge the .reg file (excuse my ignorance)?
    Many thanks.

    1. Gaurav Kale

      1. Yes it will work.
      2. Double-clicking the reg file means merging/adding the information from it to the registry.

  8. Darxicus

    I don’t know how to thank you for this. DUDE YOU’RE AWESOME!!! Thanks for this fix, whole life made better by this (not really I’m getting a mac when i can afford it :)

  9. Supa

    Much love to you for showing this!

  10. KevInKauai


    I’d like to use a newish Windows 8 system as a repository for briefcases as emergency backup for various projects that are on Windows 7 development systems. Has anyone faced the “sync” question in that sort of scenario? (Any info/pointers gratefully appreciated.)

  11. Vince

    its works! briefcase is back, thanks alot, awesome! :D

  12. Yan

    This exactly what I am looking for!

    However I cannot work out how this is done. I can find regedit but don’t understand how to input the information or how to create a new sub folder etc.

  13. Marwan

    thanks a lot… for how need ready file find it here for 8 also

  14. Stuart

    So, I downloaded the Briefcase restore tweak on my Windows 8 laptop and when I went to look for the Briefcase icon after clicking on “New”, it wasn’t there. Did I do something wrong? Is there someplace else I need to go to activate Briefcase in Windows 8? Thanks in advance for your advice.

  15. BriefcaseAbuser

    You’re a genius! Thank you for having the only solution to this, on the entire internet!

  16. muhammad shoaib

    Thanks a lot, the tweek has worked very well for windows 8 pro also… cheers :)

  17. Scot Meyers


    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome, sir :)

  18. Nick

    Thanks for this but have no idea how to activate it/where to save it to?

  19. Azura A. S.

    Oh thanks a lot! :D

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome!

  20. Anton Kohler

    I was able to set up a briefcase on my desktop. Unfortunately, it does not synch. I cannot undo the read only box under properties.
    Advice is welcome.

    1. Gaurav Kale

      You can safely ignore the read-only box for the Briefcase. Briefcase is just a special folder and read-only means nothing for a folder. Is it likely that the folder you are syncing is protected by UAC? Try to run Explorer elevated using this trick: http://winaero.com/blog/how-to-run-explorer-as-administrator-on-windows-8-1-windows-8-and-windows-7/ and then sync the Briefcase.

      1. Anton Kohler

        dear Gaurav thank you very much for your input.
        I have setup a briefcase on my desktop and copied over 1.5 GB of data on to it from my windows xp run server. It took quite some time, and at the end a window with the following content popped up: The files cannot be added to the Briefcase because it is on a read-only disk or share. Make the Briefcase writeable then click update all to create the files.
        Actually when I checked the Briefcase, it seemed as if the files were copied into it.
        Also I have tried to make the Briefcase writeable, but each time when it is reopened it is reset to readable only.
        Furthermore, adding a file in one of the server directories, and then performing an update does not work. The programm says files are up to date.

        Well, in short, it is not working very decently, and I may consider using skydrive.

        Your input is appreciated very much.

        Best regards

  21. Brett Bold

    When you download the file make sure you click on the enable one, and after that you have to right click on your desktop and hit the refresh button to apply the briefcase to the tab labeled “New”

  22. Chris

    Again, great job Microsoft on Windows 8 …

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      yep. nice ‘improvements’, isn’t it?

  23. Ray Kelly

    Sergey, thanks!!! Briefcase was such a simple idea, why would anyone remove it? Now it’s back, and I can relax knowing I will not be caught out with missing files. Thanks again.

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      you are welcome!

  24. Will


  25. Melanie

    Did anyone reply to Stuart? I did the same thing and do not have the Briefcase option. What did I do wrong?

  26. Cesareo


    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      you are welcome


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