Brien Posey's Windows Blog

Nov 16 2008   1:16AM GMT

When Client Side Caching Backfires

Brien Posey Brien Posey Profile: Brien Posey

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A few months ago, I wrote an article for TechTarget called Windows Registry Hack Improves Offline File Access for Mobile Users (,289483,sid68_gci1319562,00.html#).  The basic idea behind that article is that Windows’ Client Side Caching feature is great if you only need to cache a limited amount of data. If you have a lot of data to cache though, you can use a registry hack to redirect the client side cache to use a dedicated hard drive.

Being that I travel a lot, I use this technique extensively. I have a laptop with two 360 GB hard drives in it. The first hard drive contains the Windows operating system, my applications, and a bunch of virtual server instances that I use for working on the go. The second hard drive is used exclusively as an offline cache. I actually cache an entire network drive so that the full contents of my primary file server are available to me while I am on the go.

For several months now, this technique has worked flawlessly. A couple of days ago though, I temporarily copied a pair of 50 GB files to my file sserver. As luck would have it, my laptop cached the files, and ran the dedicated hard drive completely out of space.  I tried to remove the files from the network and resynchronize my laptop, but apparently once the cached drive has been filled up, you can no longer perform synchronizations.

Fixing the problem was a little unnerving, because I didn’t want to accidentally cause all of the data to be deleted from my network server, which is probably what would have happened if I started to manually delete files from the cache.

To fix the problem, I disconnected my laptop’s network connection (as a precaution), and then copied any files that resided on the laptop, but that had not yet been synchronized to the network. After doing so, I opened the Disk Management Console (diskmgmt.msc) and deleted the volume containing the cached data. I recreated the volume, and rebooted the computer. When the computer rebooted, Windows eventually rebuilt the cache from scratch.

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