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Offline Folders Duplicate Locations sharing

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Old 10-10-2009
Rowan Sylvester-Bradley

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Offline Folders Duplicate Locations
I'm becoming disillusioned with Offline Folders in Vista. I find that I have
five different ways of accessing my Documents folder folder on our desktop
computer from my notebook:
- by a mapped drive Z:\
- by two different network shares \\SUE-PC\C-Users\RowanB\Documents and
- by the "system share" \\sue-pc\c$\Users\RowanB\Documents
- by IP number \\\C-Users\\RowanB\Documents

Each one of these seems to have different sub-folders set to Always
Available Offline. This means that when I am offline, and I browse in
Explorer to one of these, the folder I'm looking for appears to be not
available. I have to navigate to it using one of the other methods, then
suddenly it is available. Presumably I have to return to the literal path
that I used to set Always Available Offline, or it can't locate these files.
Of course this is a nuisance - how am I supposed to remember how I navigated
to each folder when I made it available offline?

This seems very un-user-friendly. Surely it should know that all these
locations are the same, and show me my files whichever method I use to
access them, like it does when I'm online?

Is it safe to assume that all of these locations are properly synchronised
when I'm online, i.e. that I can't have several copies of the same file?

What happens if I've declared the same folder to be "Always available
offline" using two different paths? Are there now two offline copies of the
same files? If so, what happens if I make different changes to both of them?
Does it detect this as a synchronisation clash and warn me, or do I lose
some of my changes?

How do I get out of this mess? If I delete some of these routes, am I at
risk of losing changes made since last time I was online? If I delete some
routes while I'm online, is this safe?

I should say that the reason for these multiple routes is that I find that
sometimes security won't allow me to access a folder via one route but will
allow it via another route (in my particular circumstances Vista security is
purely a pain in the butt - I'd rather have no security whatsoever). Also
sometimes I can't access other PCs via their PC name but I can do so via
their IP number.

Thanks - Rowan

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