Windows – recovering unsynced files from Sync Center / delete profile and lost files

I ran into an unfortunate situation: I had a user on a machine that I removed from the domain. The domain was set-up to sync files to the server via Sync Center. Unfortunately the computer was no longer in the domain.

I removed the computer from the domain, which was fine. However, when I went to copy the files from the old user profile, they were not there.

So, where do the files go when they are unsynced, not on the server, but not in the user’s “Documents” directory?

The answer is quite simple. They are in:

C:\Windows\CSC

Once you get in that folder, you will find copies of any unsynced files, including files from a user that you may have removed and can no longer log-in as.

The only caveat is, you may have to grant yourself permission to see the folder and sub-folders. How to do this exactly is different in different versions of Windows, but generally speaking you need to:

1. Right-click “CSC” and click properties
2. Click the “Security” tab then “Advanced”
3. Click “Change” to change the owner
4. Assuming you are an Administrator on your computer, choose “Administrators” to make all Admins the Owner
5. Click “OK”, and if there is an option to “apply permissions to all subfolders” do this as well
6. Once you are the owner, you should be able to give yourself permissions to work with the files. Now, you can navigate into the CSC folder and find the appropriate user