Now you're ready for the third step, which is to specify which network files will be available offline. To do so, follow these steps:
For most users, the default of synching when logging on or off is the desired behavior. You get the most recent changes when leaving for the evening, and any changes made to copies of the Offline Files are saved to the server the next time you log on.
You can also manually synchronize offline folders any time you have a network connection. All you have to do is click Start | All Programs | Accessories | Synchronize.
Let's look at how all this works. Let's say you're working on a chapter for a new spy thriller you're penning, and you decide that you need to visit the CIA (or KGB, or Scotland Yard, or Interpol, etc.) and talk to real spies. All the files for your book are stored in one folder on your XP home computer. Now, you have a meeting with a real spy, but you have to fly to meet that person. You make the book's folder available offline on your laptop computer, and you take the laptop on the plane.
Even when not connected to the home computer, you can still access the folder by typing \\beanlake\writing. You make changes to the book files based on conversations with the real spy. The next time you connect to your home computerif you've kept the default synchronization settingsyour changes will be copied from the laptop to the XP home system.
If both files have been changedlet's say your spouse was proofreading the chapters and corrected a spelling mistake while you were awayyou are asked what to do with the two different copies. You can keep the network version, the offline version, or both. It's usually preferable to keep bothyou can always look at each file later and decide which one is safe to discard.
Also, note that some files, such as .pst files (for Outlook email) and .mdb files (for Access databases), cannot be made available offline. Outlook, for example, has its own special offline procedure. A few other programs I've encountered also don't let you make their files available offline.