Tech Tip: Offline files as a Backup Solution

One of the most important things I tell my users is to always backup their data because they never know. Sometimes people forget to run the backup process or copy the files and folder to a backup drive. Most people buy thumb drives or external hard drives and manually copy their files over to it. Sometimes those backup devices come with cumbersome software where you have to schedule a task to run your backup.  But there is a simple and relatively inexpensive solution that can can keep your files backed up and do so automatically.

This solution will require a few things. In addition to your personal computer you will need a Network Attach Storage Devices (NAS), or a spare computer with enough space to backup your files. And I’m assuming you have a home network through a wired LAN or wireless.

1. If you’re using a NAS, create a mapped drive on your computer (pointing to the NAS or a directory on the NAS).

2. (If you use Windows Vista or 7 skip to step 4) On your computer, enabled Offline Files. To do that on a Windows XP system you will need to disable Fast User Switching in the User Accounts settings in the Control Panel (this process is required to enabled Offline files).

3. Then go to Folder Options in the Control Panel then to the Offline Files tab and enable the Offline File by selecting the check box.

4. Finally, go to your mapped drive, right click it, and click Make Drive Available Offline. Then copy all the files you want backed up into that drive. That’s it. You’re all set.

If you’re using the spare computer make sure you create a directory and share it. Be sure to give that shared folder read and write access. The rest of the process is exactly the same as described above.

When the files are copied to that drive you actually have two copies. One on that network drive and one stored locally on your computer. Even when you’re disconnected from your network you’ll still have access to your files. If you edit or add new files  it will sync with the network once you do connect back to it. You can always force it to sync or it’ll sync by itself at its default schedule of 1 hour intervals. Also, the sync process will automatically run when you log off or turn off your computer.

Note: I recommend you work directly off that mapped drive or link it your Documents folder.

One Reply to “Tech Tip: Offline files as a Backup Solution”

  1. I thought it would be worth to mention that if your NAS (or original file location) dies do this to recover the files on the syncing machine:

    For windows 7 go to C:WindowsCSC

    Right click on CSC folder and go to Security.
    Click Advanced
    Click Owner Tab and click Edit
    Highlight the name administrators
    Check the box to Replace owner on subcontainers and objects
    Click OK
    Now go into that CSC folder to find your synced data my path was:


    Location could be the same for XP but I do not know from experience here is a site about it though:

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