How To Reinitialize The Offline Cache in Windows 7

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How To Reinitialize The Offline Cache in Windows 7

Sometimes you just have too many conflicts when synchronizing your offline files in Windows 7 that you have to start over, but gone are the days of CTRL+SHIFT and clicking the Delete Files button in “Folder Options” like you did back in Windows XP to clear out the CSC (Client Side Cache) folder. Well, here’s how I’ve discovered how to clear the cache and start over.

There’s two methods that can use to do this and both make me feel like I’m performing open heart surgery with a chainsaw, and I have found them both affective, but I am only going to cover the Registry Method as it’s a little safer or at least seems a little safer.

DISCLAIMER: Always create a restore point before editing the registry!!! If you render your computer inoperable because of modifying your registry then you will have a better chance of recovery. I am not responsible in the event that you do turn your computer into a door stop. There, you’ve been warned.

Registry Method

  1. Make sure that your files and folder have been synchronized. Reinitializing the cache prior to synchronizing will cause you to lose any data that isn’t synchronized.
  2. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.
    If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Continue.
  3. Locate the following registry subkey, and then right-click it:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\CSC

  4. Point to New, and then click Key.
  5. Type Parameters in the box.
  6. Right-click Parameters, point to New, and then click DWORD (32-bit)Value.
  7. Type FormatDatabase, and then press ENTER.
  8. Right-click FormatDatabase, and then click Modify.
  9. In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.
  10. Exit Registry Editor, and then restart the computer. 

This method successfully worked for me when I had to flush my Offline Files cache and it’s the same method as described in Microsoft KB Article 942974 so it should work. However, it may not fix your particular issue as all it will do is reinitialize the Offline Files. I’ve got another issue that I’m currently investigating and this was one of the troubleshooting steps.

Good luck!

Comments (13) -

  • MGD King

    9/14/2011 8:17:19 AM | Reply

    Good find Steve! Looks like the FormatDatabase reg key is the answer!

  • Andre Barendse

    11/16/2012 12:29:18 AM | Reply

    Thanks, I've exported the reg advice to a reg patch and is snuggled up in my network netlogon share for future use!!! I get that problem a lot.

    I'm somewhat disappointed with windows 7/vista offline cache. Lots of little things just arent coming together, and no tools to fix it with.

    So much for the effort to make it more user friendly...

  • Roy

    4/8/2013 3:40:23 AM | Reply

    This reg key gave me the blue screen and Windows won't start.

    • MGD King

      4/8/2013 3:30:36 PM | Reply

      Roy, out of the dozens of Windows 7 machines I've done this to where I work I've never had a BSoD from modifying this registry entry. Does it prompt you to launch Startup Repair from the Windows Error Recovery at start up?

      • Jason

        4/29/2013 3:47:23 PM | Reply

        Count me as another with the BSOD. Every time I create this registry entry on my Win7 Enterprise machine, it will not boot up. It goes into startup repair, which finds nothing to repair.  I have to safe-mode and remove the registry entry in order to get the machine up and running again.

        • MGD King

          4/29/2013 4:11:59 PM | Reply

          That is so bizarre... I just performed this reg fix last week and didn't have any problems. Are you in a domain environment by chance?

    • Rezaur

      10/1/2013 11:15:07 AM | Reply

      I also had a Blue Screen of Death. After rebooting couple of time it went away !!! I am in a domain environment

  • Jason

    4/30/2013 8:30:59 AM | Reply

    Yes, i'm on Win7 enterprise, in a Domain with Server 2003 hosting the files.  MyDocs and offline files are setup through group policy.  We are having the problem of random files not syncing for all of our users, so I'm in the midst of trying to fix the problem.

    • MGD King

      4/30/2013 8:56:56 AM | Reply

      Slightly off topic but what file types are you having an issue syncing? We're set up very similarly to your environment in that we sync the user's "My Docs" on a 2008 R2 domain, but we don't have a policy that forces the syncing, Windows 7 does that automatically. Users have to manually set up syncing other folders (if the shared folder allows it) and typically what happens is a user will try to sync a folder with an enormous amount of data (more than their drive will hold) and then things get ugly. I have to go in and reset their cache when they do that.

  • Jason

    4/30/2013 9:14:26 AM | Reply

    It's pretty random, mostly office docs (word excel etc), but I have been able to duplicate the problem with txt documents.  I can create a bunch of txt files and they all sync fine.  I disconnect from the network and then modify a few of the txt files and then reconnect, and 1 or 2 of them might fail the sync, and will fail every time from then on.  It's a real headache, and we are getting ready to change file servers and I'm afraid that I will lose some user data if this is not functional before then.

  • Jason

    4/30/2013 11:10:36 AM | Reply

    I just tried with a different laptop and it did not BSoD.  So it's machine specific, although the offline sync still doesn't work right on either :-(

    • MGD King

      4/30/2013 1:42:20 PM | Reply

      I'm wondering if the file syncing issue has more to do with your 2003 server than Windows 7? I haven't seen the problem where a file always fails to sync. I don't remember having Windows 7 on a 2003 domain as we migrated to 2008 R2 in preparation for Windows 7 deployments.

      What I did when I migrated to Server 2008 R2 was created a new file server, turned off the policy for user's "My Docs" and then used the Data Migration Wizard to move the files from the 2003 server to the new one. Then I decommissioned my old 2003 file server and removed it from the domain, renamed my new server to what my old server's name was, turned on the policy and everyone was back up and running. I did it all during non-critical business time and didn't have any issues. As I mentioned above, the only time I experience any syncing issues is when someone tries to sync more than their drive can hold, and I fixed that by disabling syncing on shared folders.

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