Access FTP and SFTP Sites With a Real Drive Letter: DriveMaker Freeware
DriveMaker Freeware mounts or maps an FTP, FTPS, or SFTP site to your desktop or Windows Server as a drive letter, for example: D:. Now you can use all kinds of different software to access the files on your FTP / SFTP server just like the files you have on your PC, including the command prompt, anti-virus, Microsoft Excel, Word, etc.
You can also use Drivemaker to set up your own cloud backup server with BackupChain, our backup solution, which has a secure FTPS server built-in.
Completely Free for Personal as well as Commercial Use
The basic version of DriveMaker is free, even for commercial purposes, forever. (Redistribution is not permitted, however. You need to download DriveMaker each time from the link above on this page). Runs on Windows Server 2008 or Vista and later.
DriveMaker Plus is the paid version with additional features.
The Innovative Alternative to FTP Clients: Mount FTP Drive Instead
FTP clients require you to download files before you can edit them. Then, you need to upload them back to your FTP / SFTP server after you’re done. Not only is this inconvenient, it may also lead to data loss when you forget to upload your file back to the FTP / SFTP site. DriveMaker gets rid off this inconvenience by mapping FTP sites to a virtual local drive.
Use Your Favorite Applications to Edit Online Files In-Place via Mapping a Drive
Using BackupChain DriveMaker you can simply set up a drive letter, for example X:\, to access your FTP files via the application of your choice. DriveMaker enables standard Windows applications to access your FTP files, so you can edit your files on the web directly from Microsoft Expression Web or FrontPage without downloading and uploading them all the time.
Use Your Anti-Virus Program to Scan Your FTP / SFTP Site Online Through FTP Drive Letter
Because your FTP site is accessible via a drive letter, such as X:\, your anti-virus software will automatically scan it when you access files on it. In addition, you can scan the entire FTP site using your standard anti-virus program.
Search Files via Windows Desktop Search, Google Desktop Search, or Other Tools
Since all FTP files and folders are mounted locally as an FTP drive, you can use standard tools to search your files, such as Windows Desktop search, WinGrep, and even a DOS command prompt command, such as: dir myfile*.* /s
Command Line Support
Using DriveMaker you can use the command prompt to access your FTP / SFTP files as well. For example: xcopy, dir, move, etc. Older DOS tools can hence be utilized on online files located on a mapped FTP site:
DriveMaker Freeware and DriveMaker Plus are both limited to file sizes of 4 GB. Files larger than 4 GB cannot be handled by DriveMaker; however, given the nature and delays involved with remote drives, you wouldn’t want to access larger files via a virtual drive. Very large files above 4 GB are best handled by backup software, such as BackupChain, which also handles broken links and offers far more features than just file transfer. Alternatively, an FTP client could be used for those types of transfers, which could take hours to complete depending on your internet access speeds.
NEW: SFTP Support!
SFTP is supported since v4. Note that DriveMaker also offers “explicit FTPS” which encrypts FTP over TLS/SSL and is also secure.
DriveMaker also assumes the target FTP server is fully standards compliant. Unfortunately, many FTP servers are not, such as some FTP servers embedded in many Linux powered NAS devices. Ideal FTP targets to be used with DriveMaker are Microsoft IIS7 or later, BackupChain FTP server, and the BackupChain Cloud Service.
SFTP and FTP Can Function as a Limited VPN Solution
This has to do with how FTP works and is not a DriveMaker limitation. You can use FTP in a multiuser setting but FTP is not meant to be used as a full replacement for VPN, especially not in a multi-user environment. FTP does not offer a way for files to be locked. In addition, FTP does not allow random file access, meaning that you cannot read from and write into files a specific points. Hence, you cannot use FTP to run databases directly from storage and similar scenarios where random file access is required to occur in-place.
It is possible to open Microsoft Access databases directly from storage and they will work fine but the Access file won’t be locked. The database changes will be uploaded when you close the database. In the meantime, however, the database is not locked, so you can’t have several users accessing the database simultaneously, unless it’s a read-only database.
Files are cached locally and uploaded in full when you finish editing. The same happens with directory contents for better performance. You won’t see immediately changes made by others if the other users are working on the same files or inside the same directory.
DriveMaker offers a Virtual File System
There are limitations with FTP itself as well as by the FTP server’s underlying file system. If the operating system at the FTP server side doesn’t support certain file names, lengths, or certain characters, the file transfer will not work properly with such files. NTFS supports unlimited file sizes and Unicode file name lengths of over 32,700 characters, whereas most other file systems do not. In addition, certain file names are valid on some operating systems and not on others. You may run into such issues when you use FTP servers that run on operating systems other than Windows. Use IIS7+ or BackupChain FTP server targeting NTFS volumes for best results.
Random file access is not supported by FTP, as mentioned above. Files are downloaded in full, kept in a local cache, and then uploaded when closed. Ergo, while edits take place the file is not locked because FTP offers no file locking mechanism; hence, other users may delete or edit the file in the meantime before the edits are uploaded again.
FTP only offers a way to download and upload files and to view directory contents; these are all the functions you can expect when connecting to an FTP site.
Limited Compatibility with Certain FTP Servers
To confirm whether DriveMaker works with your FTP / SFTP server, use the freeware version for as long as you like. Use IIS7+ or BackupChain FTP server targeting an underlying NTFS volume for best results.
A Linux-powered FTP server and some Windows-based FTP servers may work for certain types of uses and not for others. That’s because some products do not implement the entire standard or use their own dialects, or the FTP server does not run on top of NTFS and you have files that require NTFS support.
We offer tech support for DriveMaker Plus when used with Microsoft IIS7+ or BackupChain’s embedded FTP/S server.
Download and installation only takes a minute; there are no drivers to install and no reboots are required. On Windows Server platforms, you may need to add the feature “Desktop Experience” via the Server Manager (which subsequently may require a reboot to complete). Also, DriveMaker requires .Net Framework v4.
Ideal Usage Scenario
As a complement to your remote backup software, DriveMaker is ideal for regular business file usage (files less than 4 GB), targeting a Microsoft IIS 7+, BackupChain FTP Server, or the BackupChain Cloud Backup Service.