Disable Check Out To Local Drafts Folder

When checking out documents from SharePoint get a pop-up window with the option to “Use my local drafts folder.” Using the local draft option can potentially cause issues with the check-in and check-out process. Changing the default on this pop-up cannot be performed within SharePoint. It is a behavior specified by the local Office client.

To change the drafts folder default options you have two options

Configure locally on client

This option needs to be configured for every single client.

  • Open Microsoft Word 2007 or 2010
  • Go to the Word Options (Office Button > Word Options)
  • Under the “Save” section, change the “Save checked-out files to” option to “The web server” (Office 2007) or “The Office Document Cache” (Office 2010)

Configure for all users (within AD domain)

This will configure the setting using the group policies.

  • In Office 2007 this can be done by configuring the following entry in the registry using group policy:
    Key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Common\Offline\Options]
    Registry Value Name: Local
    Registry Value: 0 (DWORD)
  • In Office 2010 this can be set using group policy templates:
    Category: Microsoft Office Document Cache
    Policy: Check-out to local disk
    Associated Registry Key: [software\policies\microsoft\office\common\offline\options]
    Registry Value Name: UseLocalDrafts
    Registry Value: 0

After a logoff or gpupdate a client should not use the local draft by default.


About Cloud Architect Joran Markx
I have been working on Microsoft Technology since 2003. In addition to (lead) developer and software architect, I am certified Microsoft Specialist and active in design and implementation of Hybrid Cloud platforms. In 2011 I have achieved a Master of Science in IT Management. This made me capable to solve complex issues from the business in an efficient and structured way. As Cloud Architect I am working on various challenging projects with a variety of clients. Within my organisation I fullfill a leading role when it comes to internal development and sharing of knowledge. My goal is to provide reliable and predictable services to our clients with a strong focus on the results achieved for the organisations I am working for.

14 Responses to Disable Check Out To Local Drafts Folder

  1. Doug Boling says:

    When the dialog box appears, the check box is “unchecked”. what controls this behaviour. I would prefer it to default to “checked”. More importantly, if I forget to check the box, where is the file saved?

  2. It will still use a temporary space to store your file, different from the SharePoint Draft folder is the ability to work and save the file while you are offline.

  3. Jodie says:

    In 2010, you can check out mulitple files at once….but you don’t see the pop-up and the files aren’t copied to the local drafts folder – anyway you can control this behaviour?

  4. GVPd says:

    Hi Joran,
    I am not getting the pop-up window with the option “Use my local drafts folder” when I check-out any file from sharepoint. Due to this I am unable to check-in or check-out any file. I am using Windows 7.

    Thanks in advance..

    • Hi Gunjan,
      Probably the document library is not configured to require check-out.

  5. czar says:

    Hi Joran,

    When I use these steps I get an error message saying, “Object reference not set to an instance of an object.”

  6. tejas says:

    My question is similar to Doug’s, is there a way to make Use my local drafts folder – “Checked”?


  7. If you want the local drafts option “Checked” you will need to use the registry value 1 instead of zero.

  8. John says:

    Is there a way to disable the “Use my local drafts folder” box to where the end user cannot check or uncheck the box? The setting would be set by an administrator.

    • There is code availlable which should remove the option, haven’t tested it, but you can give it a try.

      • John says:

        I came across that article as well but I was hoping there were other options since I am not familiar with VS. Thank you.

  9. AdamKWatts says:

    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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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 security to pander to lack of training.

    • Josie says:

      using a local drafts foldr also causes lots of problems in my experience, it does not check the document back in when you close it and then the majority of users don’t realise that even though they have saved the changes and closed it the changes are not in SharePoint and then a few days later when they realise that, the SharePoint site has lost the connection to the SharePoint drafts folder. Sometimes its better not to use the local drafts folder.

  10. Pingback: Office Local Drafts Issue/Verbose Logging…Do I see anything regarding a Check-Out | Andrew J Billings

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