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When checking out documents using Office 2007 from a SharePoint library, the user is offered to copy the document to their local drafts folder. Is there a way to disable this option? I want all documents to stay on the SharePoint server and avoid local copies. I am using Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. Thanks.

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You can make it unchecked by default. According to this forum post there an option on the client. Change the Save / Configure option from "The server drafts location on this computer" to "The web server".

There is also a registry key that appears to achieve the same thing mentioned here:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Common\Offline\Options]
"Local"=dword:00000000

I don't think you can remove the checkbox from the dialog altogether. Another registry key described on that page hides the check out dialog completely. Test thoroughly before deploying this as it may have unintended side effects:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Common\Offline\Options]
"ShowCheckOutDialog"=dword:00000000
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Changing the "Local" registry value from 1 to 0 does default the Save Local Draft option to off (i.e., box is unchecked), but unfortunately, the "ShowCheckOutDialog" didn't seem to have an effect, and this is ideally what I would like. I was expecting this to be a server-side configuration option; I hadn't considered that this is really a client-side Office issue. Thanks for the enlightenment. --Steve –  Steve Sep 22 '09 at 13:50
    
@Steve: Yes, it's all tied up with the ActiveX controls installed with Office 200x (the "Windows SharePoint Services support" option in client setup). –  Alex Angas Sep 22 '09 at 15:55
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The desire to disable this feature is probably due to a misunderstanding of what exactly this does. Use (or not) of this folder does not affect document version control in any way.

It means that while you have the document checked out, Word will save your changes locally instead of over your net connection. As soon as you check the document in, the local copy is automatically deleted.

If you are NOT using a local drafts folder:

  1. then all saves and autosaves are done over the network to the server cache.

Seems pretty innocuous on the surface, right? But it's not.

  1. This results in taking longer for saves and autosaves.

Okay, not great ... but how bad can that be? It depends on the size of the document and of course the number of documents open at that time.

  1. It also means that if you have any connectivity issues you run the risk of word crashing and you lose all your work since check-out.

Yikes! And keep in mind for those with multiple documents open, when one doc crashes in Word, they all do.

As a contractor and technical writer, I've had it happen a number of times at different locations and different SP implementations. Especially with larger, complex documents, Word can become unstable. Handling documents over a network; Word can become unstable. Lesson learned: ALWAYS use a local drafts folder. Then if Word crashes you will have your last save in your local folder, and maybe something useful in autorecovery (less likely when working from the server cache). You can open your document from there and not lose your work, or at least not much of it.

If opening from that location doesn't show the option from within the file to check it in, use the upload feature with "add as a new version to existing files" option and check it in that way. This preserves your version history and you just saved all the work that would have been lost had you not been using a local draft folder.

Even Microsoft recommends usign the local drafts folder, and not just once but on two consecutive pages:

Though they don't do it in terms that talks about Word crashing.

Users are confused?

Tell them it's just a way to help reduce network traffic. Tell them it's a way to protect their changes before they check the file back in. Tell them it helps to reduce crashes. Tell them it is a way to shorten interruptions of their work when Word does an autosave. Tell them Santa Clause will put coal in their stockings if they don't use it. Tell them whatever you have to tell them so they will go away feeling educated and secure AND will use a local drafts folder.

Don't sacrifice the security of your work in progress to pander to lack of training.

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