Offline Files Access Denied Error, Fix Sync Center Corrupted Shortcuts

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At my work place, our employee laptops use the Microsoft Sync Center feature. It is enabled so that our employees can work with offline files while they are at home and on their laptops. Once they return to work, their files are again synced with our servers. Recently, one of my clients ran into a problem where she couldn’t remove a corrupted desktop file. This file was however not on our servers and it was something locally corrupted on her computer. While trying to delete the offline file it would put out the error “access denied” even though she had administrative rights to her laptop.

After fiddling with this issue for a while, I came to realize that offline database cache can get corrupted sometimes. Sometimes it needs that flush from an IT person. Luckily, it is a simple fix but requires some registry editing. First be sure to backup your registry. Secondly, be sure that your files and folders are synchronized so that you don’t loose any new changes. We can open up Microsoft Sync Center by going to Start Menu > Search Programs & Files > Sync Center and selecting “Sync All”. You can also open up the sync center by clicking on the Microsoft Sync Center system tray icon.

corrupted offline files

Fix Sync Center Corrupted Shortcuts

Now will move on to resetting the offline files database cache.  We will need to open the Microsoft Windows registry editor using an admin account. Basically, you will need administrative rights to edit the Windows registry.  Most organizational faculty usually have admin rights to their computer in a domain setting. If you are already the administrator of the computer then you should be able to open up the registry editor by going to Start > Run > and typing in “regedit” without the quotes.  You should then navigate through the following keys until you get to the “Parameters” key.


Under the parameters folder you will need to create a new 32 bit REG_DWORD key with name FormatDatabase and give it a value of 1. You should now restart the computer for the registry changes to take effect. Once the computer is restarted, all offline database cache should be cleared. Any previously undeleteable files should now be either gone or fixed.

Offline Files access denied

Under Windows 7 & Windows 8, I have found that sometimes you got to right click on the folders that you want to make offline and choose “always make offline”. In a work setting, these folders are usually the “documents” folder and the “desktop” folder. Doing this will immediately initiate the syncing process and you will have no users complaining that they couldn’t access their files while at home.

Microsoft Sync Center is a great addition to any professional version of Microsoft Windows but it is still far from perfect. I wish Microsoft would fix all the bugs and issues with the Sync Center in the upcoming Windows 10 so that all users can benefit from this wonderful feature. I also wish Microsoft would add Sync Center to Windows Home product lines. Thank you for visiting Tech Really and have a geek filled day!