The briefcase, originally designed for mobile laptop users, was designed to provide a user with network data while offline, with the ability to update briefcase contents on demand. The briefcase can be configured to hold both local and network data, but it must be manually updated before and after offline usage has occurred.

Offline Files and Folders are an automated equivalent to the Briefcase application. The idea is to basically store data in an alternate location in the event that the primary source of data becomes unavailable. The difference between the two lies in the fact that the Briefcase cannot automatically update itself, and Offline Files and Folders are restricted to network data.

With Windows 2000, Offline Files and Folders are exclusively configured at the client desktop. With Windows XP and Server 2003, a new feature has been added that allows centralized configuration at the server. This is done from the Sharing tab for the folder properties. By default, the offline configuration is set to enable users to administer Offline Files and Folders as needed. This can be changed to allow administrators to force Offline usage for the active share, or disable both server and client configuration of the feature.

Although there is a new offline data encryption feature for Offline Files and Folders (configured from the client interface), and the added ability to schedule synchronization either upon user logon or logoff, the same feature ‘issues’ exist with Offline Files and Folders as with Windows 2000, when the feature was first introduced.

[tags]folder,diana huggins,briefcase,offline file,windows 2k[/tags]