Windows Offline Files is a features in Windows which allows you to store local copies of networked shares, in order to access the offline. These files are typically stored in C:WindowsCSC. CSC stands for Client Side Caching.

The CSC Offline Files folder isn’t accessible to users by default, so you can’t navigate it just like any other folder. It’s also best not to change the permissions on this folder as it has the potential to mess with your Windows installation and break things (there’s a reason you’re not allowed to poke around in there).

My solution is to open up the folder using the Windows “Previous Versions” feature (also known as Volume Shadow Services). Here’s how to copy the Windows Offline Files Storage CSC folder to another location and view it’s contents using Previous Versions and Robocopy on Windows 7:

  1. Open up the Windows folder for the previous version (right click > Properties > Previous Versions > choose the version > Open), right click in that window and open Properties.
  2. Find the UNC path for the previous version’s location. This is something like \[email protected]
  3. Create a folder somewhere on an NTFS volume large enough to store a copy of the CSC folder.
  4. Load up command line and run this command: robocopy “\[email protected]” “C:CSCTemp” /e /copyall /zb
    (the /zb command ensures it is in backup mode, which generally bypasses access denied issues)
  5. Watch as the contents of this folder are copied to your new location
  6. Go to your newly created folder and make yourself the owner (Properties > Security > Advanced > Owner > choose your own account and set it recursively)
  7. You should now be able to navigate through the new folder and view all of the files that are in there

This method is also useful if you have accidentally removed the Offline Files cache.