Windows 7 delete Offline Files

Mar 24, 2010 - by Ian Hasell

We had a very irritating issue with offline files in Windows 7 recently (although the same would apply to Vista). A huge share on the server had been incorrectly set to be available offline. Needless to say the sheer size of the share caused sync problems. Once it had been realised that only one of the subfolders within that share needed to be available offline instead of the whole thing, it was tricky to remove the sync partnership with that share.

In theory it should be possible to right click on the share and 'untick' the Always Available Offline option. This showed promising signs, Windows started to run through various files as if it was changing their offline status. However, again due to the scale of the offline cache this was by no means smooth and problems were encountered that halted the whole process. So we were stuck with an unwanted offline cache and wanted to start again. After a bit of searching, I found this article which explains how to edit the registry to remove the offline cache database. It's worked a treat. The article is here.

Here's the important stuff though:

Add the FormatDatabase registry entry to the following registry subkey:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Csc\Parameters  Then, set the FormatDatabase registry entry to 1.

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then click regedit in the Programs list.
  2. If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type your password, or click Continue.
  3. Locate and then click the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Csc\Parameters  Note: If the Parameters subkey does not exist, create it. To do this, follow these steps:
  4. Click the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Csc
  5. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click Key.
  6. Type Parameters, and then press ENTER.
  7. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
  8. Type FormatDatabase, and then press ENTER.
  9. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
  10. In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.
  11. Exit Registry Editor, and then restart the computer.

After the restart the sync partnerships have been forgotten, allowing you to start again. The registry key added above also disappears so you don't need to worry that the offline cache will all be removed following the next reboot!

Hope this helps someone out there - seems odd that there's no easier way of re-initializing the offline cache with Vista or 7, like there was with XP.