Excel 2007, Compatibility Mode, and offline files



Scenario (the short version):

Excel 2007, SBS 2003, Vista clients using offline-files for a share. Let us
presume that an excel 2003 file is present (perhaps emailed from a business
partner, etc.) Right click on the file, view properties, hit the offline
files tab. The file is online. Now open the file in excel. Excel opens the
file in compatibility mode. Right click on the file again, check status, and
the file is OFFLINE.

Another user can now open the same file WITHOUT A WARNING that the file is
in use. Excel 2003 used to warn that the file could be opened read-only.
Not so with 2007 compatibility mode. But, I digress. Back to scenario.
Make a change and close the file (saving the change.) Check file status.
Still offline. Wait a half-hour. Check again. STILL OFFLINE (not even
background syncing!) Disabling offline files fixes the problem (obviously
the file can't go offline) and the read-only warning appears as expected.

Bottom line, upgrading to Office 2007 killed a feature we rely on in our
environment. Office 2003 didn't have this problem. Excel 2007 with native
..xlsx doesn't have this problem. It seems to be a bug in Excel 2007's
compatibility mode. So, is there fix, registry hack, hotfix, or workaround?
We already have excel 2007 files in play (some using new features) so
downgrading is not an option...even with the converter. We can't lose that
functionality. We also CANNOT disable offline files, as it is used way too
heavily for our laptop workforce.

I'm getting desperate here. I don't want to investigate alternatives, but
so far I can't find any answers. This is my last hope...


After more testing, I can say this with certainty.

It occurs on Vista RTM and SP1 (tested with a virtual machine) connecting to
Windows Server 2003 and 2008 (also, tested with virtual machines) and, so
far, appears to *only* happen with ROAMING PROFILES. This is important!! A
file I opened with a local profile would stay ONLINE. Even more odd, after
converting the profile to a roaming profile, THAT ONE FILE would still open
online, but other files never previously opened would revert to the behavior
outlined below. I haven't yet tested to see what happens if I blow the
profile away and try from scratch...but this definitely seems to be a bug
with Excel and roaming profiles. HELP!!!

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