Offline Files Stuck in Sync Pending

I ran into an issue on a recent Windows Vista roll out where the Offline Files gets stuck in a “sync pending” status, and just stays there. The setup is a relatively stock install of Windows Vista, and GPOs setup to redirect the user’s Documents file folder to a file server share. Additionally, the GPOs specify that Offline Files will be used, and all subfolders will be made available offline.

The issue shows up once a user goes into the Sync Center and clicks on “Sync All” button. Now, the offline files do seem to be syncing OK, but it was still bothering me.

Here is what it looks like when you open the Windows Vista Sync Center:

Windows Vista Sync Center

Here is what happens after you hit the “Sync All” button:

Sync Pending

So, I searched around a bit on the Internet to try to find a solution to the problem, and I was quickly reminded of two things. First, computer people can be snobs. I found people asking the same question I had, and the first response is criticizing the person seeking help because they used the term ‘My Documents’ instead of the Vista version of just ‘Documents.’ People, if you are not being helpful, just keep it to yourself, as it had nothing to do with the question, and you knew what the asker really means. Second, it is hard to fully understand some problems without seeing them first hand. I found various references to GPO settings and NTFS settings as possible answers, but these missed the mark by a wide margin. You see, every time the question was asked, sync seemed to setup fine, and only occasionally did it hang.

I never did find anything during my searches, but by chance, I stumbled upon a fix:

  • While logged on as the user, click on the start button
  • Right-click on Documents and select Properties
  • Click on the Offline Files tab
  • Click on the Sync now button

Sync now:

Offline Files

Sync completed:

Sync Completed

I’ll be damned, but not only does it sync the Documents folder, but you can instantly view the progress and completion in the Sync Center. Now, please do not beat me up for calling it the start button. I know Vista’s button does not say Start like XP did, but you know what I mean.