No more synchronicity!
June 30, 2005 5:45 PM   Subscribe

Windows Synchronization Catastrophe! Due to office policy, a former colleague was using an office server as the location for the "My Documents" folder of her personal laptop, then using the synchronize folders feature to provide her with a crude backup. It worked too well. The server was decommissioned a year or two ago and no one ever told her. She just continued to work using the offiline cache. Today, not knowing what she was doing, she went into the "synchronize files" menu and unchecked the box. Suddenly her "My Documents" folder is very, very empty. Those files have to be stored somewhere on that machine, don't they? Can they be restored? Easily, even? Thanks in advance.
posted by Sinner to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
I think she's boned. The offline files are stored in a single database like file in her profile on the local machine. When she unchecked the box windows purged all the records (files) from the db but the offline db file still exists. So it won't appear in the recycle bin and the files haven't been merely removed from the FAT. I'd think even going to a data recovery company is unlikely to help as they'd have to recover the entire file as it existed yesterday and that won't exist because windows has written a new version.

It won't be much consolation but a similiar thing happened to a couple of my users two years ago.
posted by Mitheral at 6:34 PM on June 30, 2005

Thanks, Mitheral, that was my assumption, but I welcome any assertions to the contrary.
posted by Sinner at 6:48 PM on June 30, 2005

You might do some searching for CSC or Client Side Caching. Windows stores those things in c:\windows\CSC or c:\winnt\csc .

I'd back those directories up quickly, as I think a lot of the data will stay there, even if you uncheck that box. I think it will only delete them when you remove the local copies. (Not sure).

However, it doesn't store the files there in any normal way. There's a weird database type thing, and it stores all local copies from any profile there.

I do know somebody I can ask at work tomorrow more about this. Send me an e-mail at the address in my profile if you have any more questions, or want me to ask around some more.
posted by stovenator at 11:05 PM on June 30, 2005

Also, I'm guessing there's not much chance of a backup of her machine anywhere, right?
posted by stovenator at 11:06 PM on June 30, 2005

No. From what I understand, the offline cache was supposed to serve as a sort of primitive backup. It kind of makes sense - the old server that she had been connecting to apparently had backups running forever, she just hadn't connected to it for a long time. So, I guess the whole "primitive backup" thing appears not to have turned out so well.
posted by Sinner at 9:59 AM on July 1, 2005

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