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decided to remove it from the brand new release of Windows 'cause he thought perhaps that the feature was too outdated.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

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Briefcase\ShellNew]
"IconPath"=hex(2):25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,6f,00,\
  74,00,25,00,5c,00,73,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,00,73,\
  00,79,00,6e,00,63,00,75,00,69,00,2e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,00,2c,00,30,00,00,00
"ItemName"=hex(2):40,00,25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,\
  6f,00,74,00,25,00,5c,00,73,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,\
  00,73,00,68,00,65,00,6c,00,6c,00,33,00,32,00,2e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,00,2c,00,\
  2d,00,36,00,34,00,39,00,33,00,00,00
"Directory"=""
"Handler"="{85BBD920-42A0-1069-A2E4-08002B30309D}"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Briefcase\ShellNew\Config]
"IsFolder"=""
"NoExtension"=""

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

  1. 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?

    Cheers

    Reply
  2. 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.

    Reply
  3. 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.

    Reply
    1. Gaurav Kale

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

      Reply
  4. 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 :)

    Reply
  5. KevInKauai

    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.)

    Reply
  6. 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.

    Reply
  7. Marwan

    thanks a lot… for how need ready file find it here for 8 also
    http://www.thewindowsclub.com/how-to-activate-or-remove-the-briefcase-in-windows-7

    Reply
  8. 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.

    Reply
  9. BriefcaseAbuser

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

    Reply
  10. 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.

    Reply
      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
        Toni

        Reply
  11. 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”

    Reply
  12. 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.

    Reply
  13. himanshu

    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 :)

    Reply
  14. Bernard Shelley

    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!

    Bernard

    Reply
  15. blagger

    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.

    A

    Reply
  16. Fri

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

    Reply
  17. Jeff

    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!

    Reply
  18. Mujtaba anwary

    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 ?

    Reply
  19. YOGESH GARALA

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

    Reply
    1. JG

      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).

      Reply
  20. A hermit

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

    Not cool man.

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      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.

      Reply
      1. A hermit

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

        Must remember to have coffee before posting comments…

        Reply
  21. Glyn

    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 :-(

    Thoughts?

    Reply
  22. Compex

    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…)

    Reply

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