Change Windows Offline Files cache location

The Offline Files feature in Windows 7 allows you to keep a local copy of files/folders located on a shared folder on the network. Windows detects if you’re working offline and redirects you to the local copies instead. The Sync Center takes care of automatically synchronising any changes back to the network once you’re online again. It’s a pretty handy feature, assuming you have lots of C: drive space – as this is where the offline cache is stored, in C:\Windows\CSC – CSC standing for Client Side Cache.

I have a Zoostorm SL8 Windows tablet which has a 32GB SSD for the C drive, but I also have a 32GB SD card fitted giving me a D drive. I wanted to store the offline files cache on that. It’s not difficult, but you can’t do it via a GUI.

Some prerequisites:

  1. The location you’re going to use needs to be formatted with NTFS. In my case it was an SD card that came formatted with FAT32, so obviously I had to reformat it.
  2. If you’ve already got some stuff available offline you’re going to lose the cache.

The technique I’m using is to replace the CSC folder with a Symbolic Link to the new location.

Procedure:

  1. Disable offline files. Click Start, type manage offline and choose the Manage offline files link listed under Control Panel. Click the Disable offline files button. Reboot.
  2. Remove the existing CSC folder. Browse into C:\Windows and delete the CSC folder. You might have to fiddle around and do some stuff like take ownership of the folder.
  3. Create the new CSC folder on the destination NTFS drive. So on the root of my D drive I created a folder called CSC. Ensure you’ve not done anything wierd with the permissions, i.e. SYSTEM should have full control as should Administrators. On a standard NTFS drive the default permissions will be fine.
  4. Use mklink to create the symbolic link. From an Administrator command prompt type:
    mklink /d C:\Windows\CSC D:\CSC
  5. Enable offline files. See step 1. Reboot again.

Now (assuming it’s not been disabled either on the shared folder or by Group Policy) you can browse the network, right-click a file or folder and pick “Always available offline”

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