Enable Always Offline Mode for Files in Windows 10

Windows 10 includes a feature called Offline Files that allows making network files and folders available offline when you’re not connected to that network. This feature is very useful when you need to access network resources while offline. You can mark a file or a folder as 'always available offline' to keep its copy stored on your computer. Here is how it can be done.

What is Offline Files

Offline Files makes network files available to a user, even if the network connection to the server is unavailable or slow. When working online, file access performance is at the speed of the network and server. When working offline, files are retrieved from the Offline Files folder at local access speeds. A computer switches to Offline Mode when:

  • Always Offline mode has been enabled
  • The server is unavailable
  • The network connection is slower than a configurable threshold
  • The user manually switches to Offline Mode by using the Work offline button in File Explorer.

Note: The Offline Files feature is available

  • In Windows 7 in the Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions.
  • In Windows 8 in the Pro and Enterprise editions.
  • In Windows 10 in the Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.

What is Always Offline Mode

Always Offline mode provides faster access to files and lower bandwidth usage by always working offline, even when connected through a high-speed network connection. Windows updates files in the Offline Files cache by synchronizing hourly in the background, by default.

The Always Offline mode provides the following benefits:

  • Users experience faster access to files in redirected folders, such as the Documents folder.
  • Network bandwidth is reduced, decreasing costs on expensive WAN connections or metered connections.

How to use Always Available Offline mode

Before enabling Always Available Offline mode, you need to turn on the Offline Files feature in Windows 10. Refer to the article

Enable Offline Files in Windows 10

Now, follow the instructions below.

To enable Always Available Offline mode, do the following.

  1. Navigate to your files on the network.
  2. Right-click on the desired file or folder you want to make available offline.
  3. Select Always available offline from the context menu.Window 10 Make File Always Available Offline
  4. You will see a Completed preparing files so they are always available offline dialog for a short period of time. Window 10 Always Available Offline Progress
  5. After that, the file or folder will get a sync overlay icon.Window 10 Always Available Offline Sync Overlay

You are done.

At some point, you may want to remove the Always Available Offline flag from certain files or folders. Here is how it can be done.

To disable Always Available Offline mode for files and folders, do the following.

  1. Open the classic Control Panel app.
  2. Switch its view to either "Large icons" or "Small icons" as shown below.Control Panel Large Icons View
  3. Find the Sync Center icon.Windows 10 Sync Center Icon
  4. Open Sync Center and click on the link Manage offline files on the left.Windows 10 Manage Offline FIies Link
  5. Click on the View your offline files button.Window 10 View Offline Files Button
  6. In the Offline Files folder, navigate to the network file or folder you want to disable the  always available offline feature for. Right-click on it, and uncheck (turn off) the Always available offline by clicking on it.Window 10 Disable Always Available Offline For File
  7. The network file or folder will now no longer have a sync overlay icon, so the Always Available Offline is now disabled for that file/folder.

That's it.

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