It takes up to six minutes for Windows 8.1 to transition to offline mode

Applies to: Windows Server 2012 R2 DatacenterWindows 8 EnterpriseWindows 8.1

Symptoms


It may take as long as six minutes for Windows 8.1 (with or without Update 1) and Windows 8 clients to transition to offline mode on a redirected My Documents folder. The files are redirected to the user’s clustered home drive and are made available for offline access.

The SMB redirector does not detect a disconnect and instead operates on a Bad_Network_Path response. Then, the client reaches the VNetRoot and transitions to offline.

Cause


This behavior is by design. The client behavior depends on the configuration of the shared folder on a failover cluster file server resource. SMB Transparent Failover functionality was introduced in Windows Server 2012, where an administrator can configure a Continuously available (CA) share. By default, all file shares created on a failover cluster file server are configured as continuously available.

When a user connects to a CA share, the redirector is instructed to aggressively try reconnection, as the share will probably be available again soon. This attempt is made through persistent server-based file handles on the cluster side. These handles are shared throughout all cluster nodes that host the specific file server resource. The increased time-out period should guarantee that the client's session survives the failover to a different node within the cluster.

Workaround


To work around this issue, do not create user file shares that have both offline files and continuously available properties configured. Avoid mixing user data and scale-out application data. More specifically, use the following guidelines:
  • Do not store scale-out file server data, such as Hyper-V VHDX and SQL databases, on the same shared folders as user data, such as Microsoft Office files. Create separate shares for each scenario. If necessary, create two different shares that point to the same root folder, with each share configured to use different settings. Then, point your users to the appropriate share.
  • If you store user data on a shared folder, and users are pinning that share as offline available to their clients, do not enable the Continuously available option on that share.
  • If you want to use Continuously available functionality on a user data share, disable the offline files option on that share to prevent users from pinning data to their clients.