February 23, 2005

Reclaiming Your Hard-drive From Offline Files

I doubt many of you use the Windows Offline Files feature, so this is unlikely to be of any interest. I'll probably need the info again in the future though, so I'm recording it here.

To make it easier to access all my data from the assortment of machines scattered round the house I store as much as possible on the central server, including my "My Documents" folder. So that I still have access to the important stuff when my laptop isn't in the house I use the "Offline files" feature in Windows. It pretty much works.

Recently though, my laptop has been repeatedly complaining that it was running low on disk space - each time it did, I'd scavenge half a gig or so. I didn't think I'd been adding new things at the rate it was filling up, so yesterday I spent a bit more time investigating what was consuming all the space.

I discovered that around 13GB of my 30GB hard-drive was taken up by the Windows\CSC folder. Some investigation showed that that's where Windows caches the offline files. That's a little bit more than the "use 10% of my hard-drive" setting says the offline files will use!

Deleting all the offline files didn't help matters. Nor did turning the offline files feature off. In the end I had to follow these instructions to reinitialize the offline files cache and then set-up my offline files again.

Lo and behold, I now have over eleven gig free on my laptop hard-drive again.

Posted by Adrian at February 23, 2005 01:15 PM | TrackBack

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I always try and leave about 20% of headroom on my hard drives to try and minimise thrashing. Not sure if that's a good rule to work to, but it seems to work for me.

Thankfully I've not used Offline Files .. yet.

Posted by: Andrew at February 25, 2005 10:49 AM

Thanks Andrew. Your information is of enormous interest. My hard disc just gobbled up 13G of space I freed up a week ago. Our IT people had no idea of what was going on. We have 3500 employees who could be in the same boat as me eventually if we don't nip this in the bud. Thanks again!!!

Posted by: Leith Elder at February 11, 2006 03:55 AM

Glad we could help. I also came across WinDirStat today, which is a little tool to help you find what is using up all your disk space. Would've been very useful when I was tracking down where all that space had gone!

Posted by: Adrian at February 11, 2006 11:02 AM
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