What Was the Windows Briefcase Used For, Anyway?

The Windows Briefcase was introduced in Windows 95 and was the Dropbox of its time. It is still part of Windows 7, but has become obsolete in Windows 8 and is no longer part of Windows 10.

Briefcase was all about file synchronization

If you're old enough, you'll probably have seen the "My Briefcases" icon on a PC desktop, even if you've never used the Windows Briefcase.

The Windows Briefcase has been designed to make it easier to synchronize files in the days before strong Internet connections. For example, you can use it to recover essential files from your home on a floppy disk. You can also synchronize files from the local network of your workplace to your laptop before you log out.

It was not just about copying files, you can just copy and paste it. The briefcase was only meant to keep these files synchronized. If you have edited the copy of the files in the Briefcase, you can then synchronize them to their original location. Or, if you have copies of some files in the briefcase and the files have been updated at the original location, you can synchronize the briefcase and update the copies of the document. Briefcases so that they match the originals.

How the briefcase worked

Here's how you would have used the briefcase:

First, you store the briefcase on a device that accompanies you. For example, if you have a laptop, you can keep the case anywhere on your laptop. If you have a desktop, you can put the briefcase on a floppy and take this floppy disk home.

You can move the My Briefcase object from the desktop to your floppy disk or right-click on any folder and select New> Briefcase to create a new one.

You drag all the important files that you want to take with you into the Briefcase. For example, if important documents are stored on the network file server in your workplace, you can drag them to your laptop's briefcase. Or, if you use certain files on the desktop PC in your workplace, you can drag them into the briefcase on your floppy disk.

You can also drag entire folders to the briefcase, and Windows synchronizes these folders.

Now you can disconnect your laptop from the network or remove the disk and take it to another PC. The briefcase of the laptop or floppy disk contained copies of the files you put in the briefcase. You can view them offline and even make changes. You just open the briefcase and then the files that it contains.

Windows processed briefcase as virtually any other folder. You can open a file directly from the Briefcase and save it directly in the Briefcase.

Later, you will return to work and connect your laptop to the workstation. local network or insert the floppy disk into the desktop. To synchronize the changes, open the Briefcase and click the "Update All" button on the toolbar. All changes would be synchronized. For example, if you have modified the files in the Briefcase, your changes will be synchronized with the original locations of the file. If the network files in your workplace have changed, the copies of your briefcase will be updated.

You can also use the "Update Selection" button to update only a few files. And, whichever method you choose, you will be prompted to choose the files you want to update. So there is no mistake.

Unlike Dropbox, you can not synchronize files on multiple computers with the Briefcase. The contents of a briefcase can only be synchronized with one location, that's all. So, when you were away from your workplace, the idea was to work only with the files stored in the briefcase and not to drag them out of the briefcase or try to synchronize them elsewhere.

What happened to the briefcase?

The Windows Briefcase was great when it was introduced in Windows 95, but it became less and less important over time. Despite this, the Briefcase was still part of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. It was considered "obsolete" in Windows 8. The Windows Briefcase was disabled in the initial release of Windows 10 and could not be enabled only with registry setting. It was completely removed with the release of Update of the creators.

In the end, the briefcase became much less important thanks to the Internet. With access to broadband Internet connectivity practically everywhere, there is usually no need to keep copies of offline files and synchronize them. Even if you need network file shares, you can connect to your work network from anywhere via a VPN.

The briefcase has also been completely replaced by services such as Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive. Like Windows Briefcase, these services synchronize copies of your files between your computers. So, even if you're offline, you can have offline access to your files, which will sync when you come back online.

Unlike a briefcase, these services allow you to synchronize files on multiple computers. All synchronization is also done automatically. You do not have to click the "Update All" button to manually apply the changes. The Windows Briefcase is now obsolete.

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