Offline folders are a feature of Microsoft® Windows® and Microsoft® Outlook®, but non-Microsoft® programs and operating systems may have similar capabilities. An offline folder is a place to store files so that they are available even when the user is not connected to a network or the internet. These folders were introduced in 2000. They are a valuable resource to Windows® users, especially those who do a lot of telecommuting, typically use mobile devices, or have long commutes to and from the office.
These folders can be used on portable computers (i.e., laptops or notebooks) or desktop computers that are sometimes connected to a network. All versions of Microsoft® Windows® since 2000 have offered this feature for its users.
Offline folders are beneficial to users because they offer a solution to the problems associated with safely storing your files, while still letting them be accessible from different locations. By storing files on a network, rather than your hard drive, your files are stored in more than one place and therefore reduce the risk of forever losing files should something go wrong.
To make your computer available to store these offline folders, some Windows® users should find the following instructions helpful. Different instructions may apply to different versions of Windows®. Click “start” on your desktop and then click “my computer.” Select “tools” from your top menu. From the “tools” menu, select “folder options.” Open the tab that reads “offline files” and ensure that the checkbox “enable offline files” is selected. Select the checkbox for “synchronize all offline files before logging off.” Selecting this option will synchronize all of your files so they are available offline. If you would prefer to manually control which files are stored in your offline folders, you must use a synchronization manager.
To store a file in offline folders, open “my computer” and select the network that you would like to work with. Then, select the file or even the whole folder that you would like to make accessible offline. Select “file” from the top menu and select “make available offline.”
Similarly, to remove a file from an offline folder, select “file” from the top menu and unselect the checkbox that says “make available offline.”
To use files from offline folders, simply select the file like normal. If you have made it available offline properly, you should be able to access your file whether or not you are currently connected to the network the file is from.