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The Knowledge Base
Sunday, 16 July 2006, 0412

While trying to fix a problem that had been preventing me from using the Offline Files feature of Windows XP, I saw repeated references to a command-line tool released by Microsoft designed specifically to work with Offline Files.

The first few sites that referenced the tool—called CSC Utility (csccmd.exe)—all pointed to a relevant Microsoft Knowledge Base article. Once there, I quickly realised why I saw so many people across the internet looking for the executable.

Microsoft developed and released the last version (1.0) of the CSC Utility as part of the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools. That kit is easily available to download, but from what I read about my specific issues, only the follow-up version (1.1) would suffice.

For an unknown reason, Version 1.1 is only officially available from Microsoft Product Support, and getting it apparently involves contacting Microsoft and either demonstrating the file is necessary to solve a documented problem or paying for the "support call." Even then, it seems that often people's telephone messages go unanswered.

In any event, there was only one way that I wanted to solve this problem and the CSC tool was it. I started searching around specifically for a site offering the download. When I finally found one at megaupload.com, I discovered it was a porno pop-up, ad-laden hell hole.

Fortunately the download that resulted was a legitimate, virus-free copy of the CSC Utility Version 1.1. Obtaining a utility designed to tweak a major component of Windows should not be this difficult. I have no idea why they refuse to make it available for public download and instead link to the 1.0 version—beneath a disclaimer about how several features are only available with 1.1.

Of course within minutes of finally using the tool, my offline files were in order and working perfectly. It is completely aggravating to spend more time than necessary fixing something stupid in Windows. Save yourself the grief and aggravation and download CSCCMD 1.1. Convenient, no? Please do not link directly to the file, but instead send your friends here.

I figure while I am at it, why not pass along some other facts you may enjoy.

  • In the event your server-side share changes—which can include it being relocated, renamed or removed—and the Synchronization Manager fails to work because it complains about the modified share, use the csccmd /moveshare command to rename the share in the CSC cache.
  • If you use a redirected My Documents folder as I do, enabling Offline Files forces it and other system folders to automatically cache locally. You will see the ticked "Make Available Offline" option dimmed for My Documents, My Pictures and the other administratively assigned offline files. This is particularly annoying in my environment, where every document does not need to be accessible all the time.

    This one has a simple ending, though. Use the Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) to enable a setting called "Do not automatically make redirected folders available offline." It is located here: User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Network > Offline Files. The same panel under Computer Configuration contains even more settings, including the administratively assigned offline files option.

  • Unlike some of the other folders Windows considers "special," the Offline Files cache (%WINDIR%\CSC) cannot be moved or redirected automatically. The official solution is to use the cachemov.exe utility from the Windows 2000 Resource Kit, but I crafted an alternative workaround.

    The freeware Windows junction creator and reparse point viewer—aptly named Junction—by Mark Russinovich is the perfect way to relocate your CSC cache to another local disk or partition. Use Junction to create a symbolic link in %WINDIR%\CSC pointing to your preferred folder. All requests for that original directory will be seamlessly redirected to the true location, transparent to the user and system. This sort of symbolic linking is popular among Linux/Apache web hosts who generally set www to redirect to public_html.

  • If things are really loused up, consider simply reinitializing the cache. This option will delete all offline files, reset the Offline Files database and clear the "Make Available Offline" settings. You can do this from the Offline Files tab in the Folder Options control panel applet. Press Control+Shift while clicking "Delete Files," then confirm your selection to begin the reinitialization. For Windows 7 and Vista, follow the steps in KB942974.
  • It is easy to bookmark the specific key within the Registry Editor, so if you intend to modify administratively assigned offline files often, I suggest doing it here: HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > NetCache > AssignedOfflineFolders.
  • Speaking of Registry Editor favourites, take them with you, share them with others and never lose them again by exporting this branch: HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Applets > Regedit > Favorites.
  • Sometimes when you use TweakUI, Windows will start displaying icons in sixteen color mode. If this happens, edit the Shell Icon BPP string to 16 and reboot. That key is here: HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Control Panel > Desktop > WindowMetrics.
  • If you would like to force Windows to use a UNC network location in lieu of installation media, change the Installation Sources and Source Path keys to the UNC where the Cabinet Files live. Those keys are here: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Setup.
  • The recently released Security Update for Windows XP (KB917537) may give you a hard time if you wisely do not have Internet Information Services installed. If you find this update installing repeatedly and appearing as a new update, create a zero byte file called asp.dll and save it in the inetsrv folder within %WINDIR%\System32. The next time you run Microsoft Update, the patch should stick. In the event it fails again, reboot your computer then scan for updates. A sign of success is the asp.dll file you created having grown in size to 361 KB from zero.

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Comments21 Comments on “The Knowledge Base”Comments RSS Feed

  1. erik

    Wow, great links. I like that building pic and the Giant Bat-Eating Centipede is doubly cool because the video is narrated by David Attenborough.

  2. the_angry_angel

    You sir, are a rock god.

    The download is much appreciated :D

  3. Jon Scriven

    I have downloaded CSCCMD which is much appreciated, however it is password protected and I am unable to extract it. Please could you let me know how to open this? Thanks.

    Jon

  4. David July Icon: Sutro Tower

    There is no password protection on the ZIP file so I suggest downloading it again in case it was corrupted in the original transfer. If you still have trouble, try using another extraction program. I have used Windows built-in compression tool and WinRAR on this file without issue.

  5. Michael Rost

    Thanks for this file. I'm hoping to use the tool to force my schematic capture program to access local copies of my design files while I'm working over a slow connection on the corporate intranet.

  6. Chris

    I love you man! I've been looking for the darn utility the whole night… THANK YOU!!!!

  7. David July Icon: Sutro Tower

    You are welcome!

  8. matt

    You saved my ass dude, thanks a million. Using that csccmd was a doddle when I finally got it.

  9. Jason Anderson

    God bless you, dear sir. You've saved me from crashed registry hive certain death.

  10. Mark

    After installing the latest set of bugs from Microsoft (aka Windows Updates) I found I couldn't access my offline files.

    The problem is that the master files are on a computer with fast user switching, and hence no password.

    Microsoft didn't want to know, and I couldn't get the MegaUpload site to work, so thanks for publishing the utility, and saving a lot of grief.

  11. Muermans, Tim

    Csccmd.exe is a very nice tool but it doesn't work together with DFS. When i'm connected to the network with my laptop, how can i switch to offline mode? (it's already offline available) Normally it's something like csccmd /disconnect:serverlocation
    BUT
    with DFS = csccmd /disconnect:eu.*.com… (Also not the underlaying vnc path) and it's not going to offline mode like when i do it with a regular (NON DFS-Folder) Can anyone help?

  12. jan

    Thank you very much for this file. That's really helpful!!

  13. Gustavo

    I was able to download the file…I'll try it tonight. Thank you for your help and DAMN Microsoft to make things so difficult.

  14. Wessel

    My problem: With Windows XP, I have several folders that I have made available off-line before. However, I now do not need all of them to be available off-line anymore. The ticked "Make available off-line" option is however dimmed/grayed out. I have downloaded csccmd.exe. However, how do I use it? All I want to achieve is to select/deselect folders to be available/ not available off-line as necessary. Can anyone help?

    Wessel

  15. Kevin Farkas

    Start at the bottom. Make sure you are administrator of the machine. If you are still having the problem you might be able to fix it via group policy. Try this.

    Start>
    Run> gpedit.msc
    User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Network\Offline Files

    Enable the policy: Do not automatically make redirected folders available offline

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc759721(WS.10).aspx

  16. Peter

    Thank you very much for CSCCMD 1.1. I needed the export functionality terribly.

  17. James C.

    This totally fixed my problem. Thank you and fuck Microsoft for making things unnecessarily difficult!

  18. Dave T

    Cheers for this!

    We spent three days trying to chase this down with Partner Support, only for the end result being that they specifically told me (after many supervisor conversations) that the tool had been removed from use. No reason why! This version of the tool is still useful, so I can't fathom the reasoning.

    Further to this, about half PSS techs advised me that they weren't even able to find the KB article.

    I asked them to update the KB article to reflect this, because it caused us a bunch of grief tracking down something that apparently didn't exist even though instructions to obtain it were there clear as day.

  19. Dave T

    Further to this – the tool solved the problem admirably – Extracting Offline Files from the cache when the DC/FS was long, long gone.

  20. David July Icon: Sutro Tower

    I have heard that story so many times before, Dave. Why after all this time Microsoft insists on making something simple difficult, I still have no idea. I am happy you and others have been able to resolve your problems.

    Meanwhile, I moved to Windows 7 and stopped using Offline Files a year or two ago. Most of the stuff in this article does not apply to my situation anymore. Based on traffic however—this is one of my most popular articles—I can tell interest in the tool has not diminished.

  21. John

    Just used this for a client – new server, CSC still had references to the old server for users that had logged on once and offline files were present.

    Dropping this csccmd.exe into a directory then running a login script to delete the reference solved the constant popups about not synchronized/working offline.

    Thanks!



21 Commentshttp://mtsutro.org?p=381



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