Benefits of Windows File Synchronization

Most Windows applications default to storing a user’s documents and data files within the My Documents folder, which is located on the local hard drive. This presents a problem if the hard drive should fail, risking the loss of some or all of the user’s files.

Enabling the Offline File Synchronization program (this link is for the text-only instructions, including how to restore this process after a computer has been reimaged, see the link below this for the html instructions)  solves the problem by instructing Windows to keep a copy of each document or data file on both the local hard drive and on a secured network storage server. If the computer, such as a laptop, is removed from the Bates network,  the user can continue to work on the local copy of the file(s). When the computer is reconnected to the network, Windows will synchronize the files with those on the network server, updating any changes.

Note: Offline File Synchronization uses an individually assigned folder, and covers all of the folders and files contained within it. Permissions are set so that only the user can access this master folder.  As a rule, you should not  copy your entire My Documents folder to the network because it contains system and personal files that we do not want to store on the network. For that reason, we create a folder called Bates Work, within the My Documents folder, and all Bates work to be synchronized will be stored there.  You should not place photos or music files in the Bates Work folder unless they are specifically related to your work at the College.

When you have complete the setup,  you should move your Bates files and directories into your Bates Work folder. By default, Windows will recognize that you are copying your files and directories to a different hard disk. You will therefore have another copy of your files. After you have verified that the files have been copied to their new location, you should delete the originals. Log off and then log on again to your computer to verify that the files you placed in the folder appear as they should.

Please remember that you should not use your Bates Work folder for storing personal files, or media. Also, Access databases will not synch successfully to the network in this manner.

NOTE: It is not best practice to copy your Bates Work folder or delete a copy of the folder, as this risks losing the originals which would have to be recovered from backups.

Please also consult the Frequently Asked Questions concerning Windows File Synchronization Process.

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