Network drives are frequently used to share common files across organizations, especially in cases where cloud-based infrastructure such as OneDrive has not yet been implemented. OneDrive’s seamless offline syncing support, which allows you to use your files without an Internet connection, is one of the service’s key features (Make Network files as Always Available Offline).
A traditional on-premises network drive and Windows’ Sync Center component can be used to replicate this functionality. Sync Center is still alive and well in Windows 10, despite the fact that it hasn’t changed much since Windows 7. We’ll show you how to configure it so that your Network files as Always Available Offline.
Creating a sync connection
To begin, you’ll need a network drive that has been mapped. Then, in File Explorer, right-click the drive under “Network locations” and select “Properties.” Click “Always available offline” from the menu that appears. You can also sync a subset of folders within a shared folder rather than the entire share. In this case, go to the folder, right-click it, and select “Always available offline” from the drop-down menu.
The contents of the network share or folder will now be synchronized by Windows. Depending on the size of the files in the share, this could take some time. To notify you of the current sync status, the Sync Center icon will appear in your system tray.
Your files will be ready to use offline once the sync is complete. If you disconnect from the network, you can still access your files through the network share. Once you’re back online, any changes you make or new files you create will be automatically uploaded to the share. New files saved to the server while you’re gone will also download to your device when you get back.
Use Sync Center
Open the Sync Center by double-clicking the tray icon (green circle with two yellow arrows) or searching for it in the Control Panel to manage your synced files. You can check the sync status of all your offline files using the Sync Center interface. You can also intervene to resolve any conflicts that arise during the sync process.
Set up a schedule
Sync Center allows you to choose when your files should be synced. To open the scheduling wizard, click one of the synced shares under “Folders” and then press the “Schedule” button at the top of the screen.
You can choose whether to create, edit, or delete a schedule on the wizard’s first screen. To continue, click “Create a new synchronization schedule.” You can come back to this screen later to change your sync schedules.
Now you must decide which stocks to include in your schedule. Once you’ve made your decision, click Next.
Finally, you’ll be asked whether you want to schedule by time or by event. You can tell Sync Center to sync on a regular basis using the time option, such as every 15 minutes or once a day. When a specific event occurs, such as when you unlock your PC, you can use events to force a sync. Choose the appropriate option and then configure the time or event you want to use on the next screen.
You can now save the schedule and use it right away. You can use this method to create another schedule and apply it to the relevant shares if you want to combine multiple schedules – for example, to sync files periodically and when you unlock your PC.
Manage storage space
You can also manage how much space your offline files take up with Sync Center. To open a new popup window, click “Manage offline files” in the left sidebar. To see how much space your offline files and temporary files are taking up, go to the “Disk usage” tab.
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To change the maximum disk space that offline files can use, click the “Change limits” button. Sync Center will stop downloading network files to your device after this point, so you won’t be able to use them offline. Temporary files are files that you edit or create while offline and save to the server before being saved to the server.
Encryption is another option in the Sync Center management dialog. To enable optional encryption for your offline files, go to the “Encryption” tab. If your device is lost or stolen, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that sensitive data won’t be accessible without the encryption key. To begin the encryption process, click “Encrypt”; you’ll be given a recovery key, which you should save somewhere safe.
Sync Center: file sync without the cloud
While Sync Center isn’t widely known, it’s still a useful feature of Windows 10 for businesses and organizations that can’t or won’t make the switch to cloud storage.
Many of the features of cloud storage clients are available in Sync Center, including seamless offline file access and the ability to create files on network shares while offline. If you’ve ever been caught trying to access a company network share while out of the office, turn on Sync Center to avoid the problem the next time you leave.