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Microsoft decided to remove it from the brand new release of Windows 'cause he thought perhaps that the feature was too outdated.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.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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

  1. 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?


  2. @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.

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

  4. 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 :)

  5. Alohas!

    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.)

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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.

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

  10. 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. 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

  11. 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”

  12. 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.

  13. oh , its great. I was worrying about getting back my briefcase feature feature in win8 and it solved the problem so easily. its so good :)

  14. Thanks for posting this … most of my life is on removable media so I can update it with any available PC.
    However, as I have limited PC knowledge, please can you confirm
    1. The regedit update works automatically from your enable briefcase file?
    2. It works in the updated version of Windows 8.1?

    I’ll be VERY pleased to be able to use Briefcase again!


  15. Good stuff, thanks Sergey, have a pat on the back from me. I moved from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1. Without this I would have had to go back to Windows 7 as the mighty briefcase is a must for me. So easy to install on Windows 8.1.


  16. Tank you .. ………Tank you .. ………Tank you .. ………Tank you .. ………Tank you .. ………Tank you .. ………Tank you .. ………

  17. It won’t work over my network between my Win 8.1 Laptop to my Win 7 Desktop. Is their a fix for this?
    Please help, I’m desperate!

  18. That was the best and easiest fix EVER. Thank you so much!
    But I cant find my lost Briefcase since I changed my windows to 8. before I was using windows 7 .
    I had files in my briefcase when I changed the windows to 8. my briefcase despaired ,,,
    Please any one can help me ?

  19. Thank You, i am satisfy your answer,
    i am search another sync. tools for my pen drive data
    will you help me ?

    1. Yes, the same registry merge works in the retail release of Windows 10 i.e. the current version. No need to reboot afterwards, just refresh the Desktop and you will find “Briefcase” under the “New…” option of a context menu (i.e. right click on your Desktop).

  20. My security scan uncovered a “greyware/malware threat”; specifically a cookie in the zip file.

    Not cool man.

    1. Your “security scan” is not cool man.
      In the zip archive is just a couple of reg files which can be viewed in Notepad.
      Shame on you.

      1. My apologies, I misread the log….wasn’t your file that contained the cookie.

        Must remember to have coffee before posting comments…

  21. Applied the tweak a few months ago and it worked. M$ latest update to Win10 killed it and reapplying the reg file hasn’t restored it :-(


  22. Hey
    The tweak you introduced really works
    Can I post your articles to another website(chinese)?
    If I can post it, is there anything else I need to do? (e.g. introduce the original author…)

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