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Network and Classroom Management Thread, offline synchronized files cause system to freeze in Technical; Teachers laptops have synchronization set on log in and log off via Group Policy. (Server 2003 with XP clients). There ...
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    offline synchronized files cause system to freeze

    Teachers laptops have synchronization set on log in and log off via Group Policy. (Server 2003 with XP clients). There have been a number of instances in the last few months where when the teacher tries to edit a file offline, using MS Office, the program starts to open and then just hangs/no reponse/freezes. Looking at Task Manager, I see 2 instances of the program running with 'not responding' by their entries.

    This is mainly happening with Word.

    So far I have tried reinstalling ms office, repairing the ms office installation, repairing the xp installation and even reimaging/reinstalling systems in some cases. In one or two instances something seems to have cured it but quite a few cases, the problem persists.

    I can't find a matching post or info page on this, though I see quite a few on outlook syncing problems.

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    Netman's Avatar
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    Maybe try clearing the offline files cache on the machine - corruption there has caused me grief before....

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    Clearing offline files cache

    Hallo thanks for the reply - I have in fact tried that but only on one laptop, so I shall try it again.

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    Have you tried deleting normal.dot file? I always try deleting/renaming this file if there is anything wrong with any office programs.

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    deleting normal.dot

    Thanks, I'll try that.

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    We are getting the same problem but only on a few teacher laptops,

    Did anybody find a solution to this problem?!?

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    progress so far

    It is currently being looked at - tried so far other than clearing offline cache and reinstalling/reparing/u;dates - - removing recent files from word file menu via the options general tab. this seemed to produce a positive effect but has not yet stayed that way so an engineer is at this moment working on it - if we find a solution I'll post it!!

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    Have you tried running a full rebuild of the offline files as this also kills the database which may be corrupted and causing your issue:

    Troubleshooting offline files synchronisation

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    A workaround for now

    Hallo, answering the last post, I have tried the clearing of the offline cache db I think it is called, as well as re installs, repairs and updates.

    A technician was called in from the LEA to look at it for me today, and they couldn't actually understand what is wrong, but eventually a work around is in place until the proper solution is found, which is to map a network drive to the user folder on the server so that the offline files are made available via that drive in 'my computer', so that with teachers whose machines fail when they try to work offline in 'my documents', the remedy currently is to tell them to access their offline files in the mapped drive folder instead - this seems to work for now and the tech help hope to get back to me with further info when it turns up.

    It is quite odd, since the incidence of which laptops start to get the problem seems random, for instance just yesterday one teacher came in to report the problem had just started the evening before, whilst with other teachers it has been happening for longer. The problem seems to have been first reported inbetween the last technician and myself about 6 months ago, when they had no IT tech staff for a few weeks.

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    I work at the same school as PRicho and this fault that we have got is with 3 users on 3 different laptops 1 has been rebuilt, 1 has been changed (new laptop) and 1 has had its cache removed and added. We tried the idea of mapping a drive to the server but that still causes the same fault. We have tried a different server 1 with a dfs path and 1 with a standard share, but none of these things have made any difference.

    What is strange is that when we save the files is saved but word crashes. If we save to the desktop it work, then when copying from the desktop to the cache again explorer crashes

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    What version of Office are we talking about here... it sounds eerily like an issue I'm having with my work machine and Publisher 2007.

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    What Version of Office

    The version in use here is 2003. We have some new laptops which we are trying to deploy now to replace older ones, and with these out of the first 3 attempted, one has no problem and the other 2 have the same problem with freezing as some of the old ones. On the new laptops was a trial time limited copy of Office 2007, but I have uninstalled this and removed its activation application so as not to confuse the issue - 2003 is rolled out from the server 2003 via active directory/group policy.

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    we're running 2003 as well

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    This problem has reared its head again! Different user... no reason!

    it seems to be slowly working its way around laptops asif they have installed an update which is causing the fault. which isnt the case as auto updates are disabled, its also happening on users laptops that arnt the 'usual suspect' i.e they dont mess around with settings or install things randomly.

    What do people use if they dont use syncronizing/offline files. How do staff access work from home via laptops.. surely you dont make them keep everything local?
    Last edited by PRicho; 9th June 2008 at 09:15 AM.

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    Offline files

    Sorry to read that PRicho has the problem dramatically appearing some more - that is the way it has happened at the school here, quite randomly and across new and old laptops willy-nillly. The fix that a visiting technician came up with pending a proper solution was to use another mapped drive since the problem seemed to be to do with the My Documents folder - however, I think someone wrote earlier that this fix had not worked for them - it has mostly worked for us here with about 3 laptops plus, though I have got the problem recurring even then with one user apparently, not sure yet of what is happening in that single case.

    In case I am doing something wrong, I shall mention here how I understand the offline thing should be done - the settings in the group policy are set to allow offline files and syncing when logging on/off, after these settings are applied, I then find that I need to log in the laptop/user a few times and also to log in offline and clich the synchronize option on the right click menu of My Documents, before the settings will properly start working, then after a few logons and logoffs, eventually the files get put across and are available offline. Not sure why in this process at one stage the folders become available offline but not the files, and then after another one or two logon/logoffs the files are eventually there too.

    Within this scenario, something else that causes chaos, is when machines do freeze up offline and users have to use the on/off button to get anywhere, then the syncing online comes up with all the 'do you want to keep local or network copy' dialog, and often when looking at the two copies they appear the same anyway - I assume it is something to do with the timestamps being odd due to the uncomfortable shut downs needed.

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