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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.

10 Responses to “ Offline Files Stuck in Sync Pending ”

  1. Ross says:

    Good discovery! I think this is a common problem with Vista clients on a Windows 2003 Network. I’ve seen all the other “solutions” – this one appears to work!

    Thanks

  2. Dave Newton says:

    This certainly forces a sync, but does not help with scheduling them, say at log off/on etc. a big thanks to Jeffrey Oyler for helping me out of a sticky situation!!

  3. Moff says:

    This is great if it does work, but how can this be automated for more than 1 user?
    I too see this issue but need to resolve it for 500+ users.

    Any ideas as to why this is causing issues?
    How does Sync keep track of files and how can it be manipulated to achieve these tasks?

  4. Moff says:

    Problem found.
    The folder redirection I was using was to the users home drive that existed on a share called Users$. The user had rights to \Serverusers$Username but nothing else.
    Windows 7 seems to need at least read access to the Users$ level to be able to use offline folders correctly without any errors.

  5. Jeffrey says:

    @Moff for the permissions on the share, I set “Authenticated Users” to “Allow” for the following special permissions:

    – Traverse folder / execute file
    – Read attributes
    – Read extended attributes
    – Create folders / append data
    – Read permissions

    This allows all the access needed to automatically create the user’s folder (I hate setting things up manually when I do not have to) and for the user to connect and sync to their folder. This also helps keep users from reading each other’s documents (in certain GPO / ACL configurations.)

  6. Jeffrey says:

    Thank you. My laptops syncing as I type this note

    Regards
    Jeffrey

  7. Dave says:

    Finally a solution, thanks!
    Strange how it never gives any access denied errors.

  8. Ree Ree says:

    IVE HEARD A LOT OF PEOPLE TALK ABOUT HOW SYNC CENTER IS BROKEN AND MS NEEDS TO FIX IT, its actually not broken and works like a charm only if your server side security settings are set properly. I’ll run through how we have it set here:

    Filer server has a share called Userfolders with the following security settings: Domain Admins=Full control, Autheticated users=Read

    Under user folders every user in the organization has a folder with the following security settings: Domain Admins=Full control John Smith=Full control

    As long as the root folder, which is the shared folder called Userfolders in this case, in which your users are under have Read access than sync center will be able to to sync.

    An issue we had was using server 2003 file server and win7 clients. Everytime we mapped their user folder, in the view of the user folder on the file server would change to my documents. Now that might be because we’re changing defualt location of Documents folder in win7 to point to the mapped user folder so Documents is essentially the same as the mapped user folder.

    To solve this issue we changed the file server structure to: UserfolderJohnSmithDocuments

    • Chandru says:

      Hi,

      My issue part is always the sync is in progress status. when press sync all it shows sync completed status.
      but when i want do gpupdate /force to pull one GPO in client’s pc shows error as below

      Updating Policy…

      User Policy update has completed successfully.

      The following warnings were encountered during user policy processing:

      The Group Policy Client Side Extension Folder Redirection was unable to apply on
      e or more settings because the changes must be processed before system startup o
      r user logon. The system will wait for Group Policy processing to finish complet
      ely before the next startup or logon for this user, and this may result in slow
      startup and boot performance.
      Computer Policy update has completed successfully.

      For more detailed information, review the event log or run GPRESULT /H GPReport.
      html from the command line to access information about Group Policy results.

      Certain User policies are enabled that can only run during logon.

      OK to logoff?. (Y/N)

      And in application log event ID is 510.
      please help

    • Jeffrey says:

      I have seen this question posted in other places, and the answer is always the same: This is expected behavior.
      I know that I often come across that message after a gpupdate /force and I have no issues. If I am updating a user folder redirection, then I go ahead and logoff. Otherwise, I just ignore the message.

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