How transparent caching works

Transparent caching is a new feature of Offline Files in Windows 7 whereby the computer no longer needs to always retrieve a requested file from the server even if the client computer has recently read the file.  Instead, the first time the file on the server is requested, Windows 7 reads the file from the server and stores it in the local Offline Files cache on the computer. Then during the subsequent times the user reads the same file, Windows 7 retrieves it directly from disk (from the local cache) instead of reading it from the server, but to ensure data integrity Windows 7 always contacts the server to first ensure the cached copy of the file is up-to-date.

Here are two questions that are commonly asked about transparent caching:

Q1: When transparent caching is enabled, can the user see the cached files in the Offline Files folder?

A1: Yes, the user can see files in the local cache when the files are online, but when the files are offline the user cannot see the files and they are not available to be used.

Q2: If you enable transparent caching and then later disabled it, are the files removed from the cache or can the user still access them?

A2: The files remain in the cache, but you can purge them if needed to free up room for other files by opening Sync Center and selecting Manage Offline Files. The on the Disk Usage tab select Delete temporary files.

Mitch Tulloch is a seven-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award and widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. For more tips by Mitch you can follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook.


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