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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

What Was the Windows Briefcase Used For, Anyway?

The Windows Briefcase was introduced in Windows 95 and was the Dropbox of its day. It’s still part of Windows 7, but was deprecated in Windows 8 and is no longer part of Windows 10.

The Briefcase Was All About Syncing Files

If you’re old enough, you’ve probably seen a “My Briefcase” icon on a PC’s desktop at some point, even if you’ve never used the Windows Briefcase.

The Windows Briefcase was designed to make synchronizing files easier in the days before solid Internet connections. For example, you might use it to take essential files from your workplace home on a floppy disk. Or, you might synchronize files from your workplace’s local network to your laptop before you disconnect.

It wasn’t just about copying files back and forth, which you can do just with copy and paste. The briefcase was all about keeping those files synchronized. If you edited the copy of the files in the briefcase, you could then synchronize them back to the original location. Or, if you had copies of some files in the briefcase and the files were updated at the original location, you could synchronize the Briefcase, updating the briefcase copies to match the originals.

How the Briefcase Worked

Here’s how you would’ve used the Briefcase:

First, you’d store the briefcase on a device that travels with you. For example, if you had a laptop, you could keep the briefcase anywhere on your laptop. If you had a desktop PC, you could place the briefcase on a floppy disk and take that floppy disk home with you.

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