Mobile Computing

Before you can have access to the files on a shared network folder offline, you must specify how the files in the folder are stored in a cache on the client computer (in this case, the user's portable computer). For non-executable files, such as word processing documents, spreadsheets, and bitmaps, there are two options for storing files:

  • Automatic caching

  • Manual caching

Automatic caching makes a file available offline (creates a locally stored copy of the file) when a user opens the file on their portable computer. Automatically stored files might not always be available in the cache because Windows 2000 might remove (purge) them from the cache when the cache becomes full. Windows 2000 selects files for purging on the basis of how often they are used. Automatic caching is the most useful when you have an unreliable or unpredictable network connection. For example, if a user is working on an automatically stored file and the portable computer gets disconnected from the network, the user can continue working on the file without interruption because the file has been automatically stored on the portable computer. If a user requires that a file be available offline all of the time, the user should mark the file as Always available offline by using Windows Explorer or My Computer. For more information about making files available offline, see Pinning Files and Folders for Offline Use later in this chapter.

Manual caching makes a file or a folder available offline, but only when it is manually marked (pinned), on the user's computer. A manually stored file or folder that is not pinned on the user's computer is not available offline. Manual caching is useful for users who need access to a file or folder all of the time or for users who need access to entire folders, especially when the folder contains documents that have been created by or modified by other people. For example, manual caching works well for someone who frequently uses their portable computer away from their office without a network connection but who still needs access to a large number of files on the network. In this case, you can manually pin folders on the user's portable computer, and then those folders are available to the user when he or she is away from their office. Automatic caching is not ideal in this case because the files in the network folder are not locally stored unless the portable computer user opens each of them while the portable computer is connected to the network share.

To configure automatic or manual caching on a shared network folder

  1. Right-click the shared folder you want to configure, and then click Sharing .

  2. In the folder properties dialog box, click Caching .

  3. In the Setting drop-down box, select the type of storing (caching) you want.



You can also choose Automatic caching for programs , which is useful if a user runs programs from the network. This option stores a copy of a network program on the user's hard disk so they can run the program when they are offline. However, portable computer users need to be careful when they use this feature because only the program files that are executed get stored on the local computer. For example, if you run Microsoft Word from a network share but you do not use the spell checking tool, the spell checking tool is not stored. If you then run Word when you are offline and you try to run the spell checking tool, the tool is not available. To avoid this problem, you can load all of your programs and all associated tools locally on a portable computer and not use the Automatic caching for programs option.