Friday, 31 August 2012

Delete Offline Files in Windows 7

As a user of the 'Always available offline' feature in Windows 7, I find the interface for it is very counterintuitive. One of the missing features which I find most irritating is that you cannot simply remove the files (and hence free up some space) which you no longer want to be available offline. If you are finding the same problem, then follow these steps I used to successfully delete the files. Note that you must have administrative rights to perform these tasks, and the method below will delete all the offline files, so make sure everything is backed up.

  1. Firstly, disable offline files by typing in 'manage offline files' into your start menu and hitting disable. You must restart for this to take effect.
  2. You can now edit your registry (with care) to tell Windows to purge the files.
  3. Open regedit.exe. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > services > CSC > Parameters. Create a new parameter of type DWORD and call it 'FormatDatabase' and set its value to 1.
  4. Reboot. After rebooting, you can re-enable offline files and all of your existing offline files should be removed.

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