What is offline file synchronisation? (Windows)
This article is for staff who use a Deakin managed Windows workstation with either Windows 7 or Windows 10. It provides information to help you understand offline file synchronisation and your responsibilities in managing your Deakin files.
On a Deakin managed workstation, any files in the My Documents, Desktop, Favourites, Contacts and Links folders reside in your home directory on the Deakin network. These files are backed-up by Deakin eSolutions. Your network-located files are copied to your computer and kept up-to-date via the Windows Sync Center (or Sync Centre in Windows 10), This allows you to access your work when in stand-alone mode (i.e. when you are not connected to the Deakin network).
Your files are automatically synchronised each time you connect to the Deakin network, so you always have access to your information. When you make changes to files, they will synchronise when you connect to the Deakin network or via a Virtual Private Network connection.
Offline files are managed through the Windows Sync Center. Folders that are using offline synchronisation will be indicated by the sync symbol.
- On Windows 7, the sync symbol appears on the folder icon.
- On Windows 10, the sync symbol appears in the status bar at the bottom of the window when you are viewing the folder's contents.
You should check Sync Center periodically to make sure your files are being synced correctly and to resolve any synchronisation conflicts.
Opening the Sync Center
- From the Windows Start button, search for the word "Sync".
- Open Sync Center (Windows 7) or Sync Centre (Windows 10) from the results.
Synchronising all of your files
You are now in the Sync Center management area.
As your files are automatically synchronised to the network, the following instructions only apply if you want to make sure you have the most up-to-date files on your local computer, as well as your network storage area. This may apply when you have worked on a document at work and wish to continue working on it at home, away from the Deakin network.
- Click the Sync All option to synchronise your files between your workstation and your network area.
I have conflicts showing in my Sync Center
Conflicts may appear after you manually synchronised your files, or after an automatic sync has occurred. If a conflict occurs, you must take action to resolve it.
Synchronisation conflicts generally mean that the Sync Center has been unable to resolve an issue that arose when it was synchronising your files. The issue is flagged as a conflict so you can see what the issue is and make the correct decision about what to do about it.
- Select View sync conflicts from the menu located at the left-hand side of the screen to see information about what the conflict/s are.
In the first conflict shown in the image above, files have changed on both the local computer (offline) and the network (server). In this instance, you need to decide which is the correct (current) version of the file, and then resolve the conflict.
The second version shows actions have occurred in both locations on the same file. As Sync Center has no way of determining which is the correct action or version, it has flagged the issue as a conflict and requires your intervention.
In order to resolve a conflict, you need to select an action to allow the synchronisation process to resume.
It is very important that you take action to resolve conflicts as they occur, to ensure your files are managed correctly and you have access to the most current data.
- Right-click on a file in your Conflicts list.
- A menu will appear. Choose to Ignore or View options to resolve... the conflict.
If you choose to resolve the conflict, you will be asked to select which version to keep, or whether you would prefer to keep both (in this case, one of the files will be renamed).
- The version identified as On this computer is your local version.
- The version starting with \\staff-home........ is your home directory (network) version.
- The Keep both versions option will result in the system altering the name of one of the versions, so that neither the network nor the local versions are overwritten. Choosing this option means that you would then have copies stored in both locations.
- Once you have carried out an action, the entry in the Conflicts area will disappear.
How often should I check my files for conflicts?
If you open a file and don't find what you expect in it (perhaps a change is not showing), then close it without saving and check your Sync Center for conflicts. Saving the file may trigger a synchronisation before you get a chance to check for conflicts.
If you never work on your workstation anywhere other than on the Deakin network, an occasional check (perhaps monthly) should reassure you that all is well with your data files, and enable you to pick up on something that may have gone astray before any impact is recognised.
If you are a seasoned traveller, checking your Sync Center should be part of your daily practice. It takes only a minute or two, and will provide you with an early warning and resolution system if a glitch occurs.