Below is an overview and definition of DriveMaker Freeware and DriveMaker Plus features.
DriveMaker allows you to connect to an FTP site via a mounted drive, so that all FTP files and folders become accessible from all your applications, for example on the path F:\
What Can I Do With DriveMaker?
DriveMaker opens the door to a range of possibilities, especially when you also own BackupChain, which includes multiple DriveMaker Plus licenses for free.
BackupChain Cloud Storage: If you are currently subscribing to the BackupChain Cloud, you can use the cloud storage now via a drive letter, for example from your desktop PCs in addition to your cloud backups. Now you can use the BackupChain cloud in many more flexible ways directly from your favorite applications and directly from your desktop PCs, which your servers continue to upload their backups to the cloud independently.
Set up your own cloud: You could use BackupChain as the receiver at your home office and use DriveMaker on your laptop or office computer to access your home files.
Web designers: Edit web sites on the fly without tedious uploads and downloads. You can now edit your WordPress files directly on your servers as if they were local files.
Team collaboration: Using DriveMaker you can set up a central storage location online where several people work together and share files.
Share files online: You can use DriveMaker to access a file repository online that you control.
Backup your websites and webservers: Use DriveMaker to map a drive to your web server and pull all files to make a full backup. Or, you could use DriveMaker’s drive letter in BackupChain to pull backups of your webservers automatically.
Run Anti-Virus on your web server to check your websites: Once DriveMaker mounts the web server contents as a drive, you can run any anti-virus product of your choice to scan all files.
Connect home office to office. Connect teams to partner office. Allow sales reps to access their office files when in the field: DriveMaker on a laptop can do miracles. Say you are a sales professional who needs to access files at the office. Once your IT staff sets up an access point for you, you can safely and securely browse your file share from work from anywhere.
Do you run a law office or are you a physician? Set up BackupChain at home or at your second office, and back up files to each other. Access your important documents from anywhere and have them stored at a place you trust.
Command Prompt: You can use command line utilities to access your webserver files as if they were local.
Windows Search: You could use DriveMaker to index all files you have on your FTP site so you can search them.
What DriveMaker Is Not
DriveMaker will save you a lot of time accessing your files remotely and editing them in place; however, just like all products out there, it can’t be used in certain scenarios.
Not a Real Drive
If you want the contents of a real drive mapped, you need to look into iSCSI. FTP only offers very primitive file access and nothing more.
Not a VPN Alternative
Multi-user environments are OK but won’t work if users actively edit the same files. You can have many users doing their work in different subfolders of your FTP server. You can have many users read the same files everywhere. But if users work on the same files, you will run into problems.
FTP does not lock files.
FTP does not offer random file access and is hence not suited for live database access directly from storage, by multiple users, unless it’s all read-only. Individual users can open and edit an Access database, for example, without issues. The database will be entirely downloaded into the cache and the file will be uploaded in full when the database is saved or closed. As you can see, this will lead to issues if multiple users access and edit the same Access database simultaneously.
Not a Universal Access Tool
You may find incompatibilities when using Linux-based FTP servers and other various FTP server products other than IIS7+ or BackupChain FTP server.
This is because not all FTP servers adhere to the full FTP standard and not all FTP servers use NTFS as their underlying file system.
Note that SFTP is not supported. DriveMaker supports another secure variant: FTPS, which is explicit FTP over TLS/SSL, and is as secure as https.
The section below discusses the settings in the DriveMaker’s user interface:
What are FTP Server, User, and Password?
This is the info you received by the IT administrator of the FTP site. The address, user name, and password are needed in order to find and authenticate against the FTP server.
What are FTP Port and Local Port?
The FTP port of a standard FTP site is 21; however, your IT administrator may be using a different port for security reasons.
The Local Port shown in DriveMaker is a free internal port the program needs for processing. If you see ‘access denied’ errors when you attempt a new connection, it may be due to the port being in use. Try a number other than 7789 if need be.
What is FTP Passive Mode?
You would definitely want to keep this option ON. Since FTP is a dinosaur protocol from the 1970s, active mode allows the server to connect to the client. Back then this may have seamed like a flexible way to do things. But today this requires that you open the firewall on the client side to receive server connections. This type of method basically turns the client into a server and is a security risk in itself. However, in some very rare conditions active mode may be the only way to get the connection to the server working.
See more details here http://slacksite.com/other/ftp.html
What is FTP Keep Alive?
Keep alive instructs DriveMaker to try to reuse connections when possible, in order to reduce overhead and reduce the chance for TCP exhaustion, see also below.
What is the Maximum File Size?
Given that the average internet connection is relatively slow, a 4 GB file takes a very long time to upload and download. For that reason, it makes sense to limit the file size DriveMaker is allowed to upload/download as it would hang drive access for quite some time. You adjust the upper limit to suit your connection speed.
What is Name Transcription?
Name transcription is a feature to improve compatibility with some non-compliant FTP servers. DriveMaker replaces certain characters, including spaces, with their respective codes to avoid access issues. Note that this feature may help for certain FTP servers but not for all if you run into compatibility issues.
What is Metadata Caching?
Metadata caching is a useful option when you are the only user accessing the FTP server, or a subfolder section of it. DriveMaker buffers folder contents for some time and this dramatically reduces overhead and access time. If you have several people working on the same folders, you have to wait a few minutes to see the other person’s changes. If you expect to have many users working on the same files and folders, you should turn this option off. Keeping it off increases the chances for TCP exhaustion on the server, however. See below for more details.
What is Encrypted Link SSL?
DriveMaker Plus allows you to connect securely via TLS SSL to an FTP server (FTPES / FTPS). This type of connection is more secure than plain FTP.
What is Encrypt Files on Server AES 256?
This is a unique feature in DriveMaker Plus. Every file created by DriveMaker is encrypted on the fly and decrypted automatically when read. This is completely transparent to the user and application and uses military-strength encryption AES 256. Please stick to one password. If you change the password often, some files will be using older passwords. Since DriveMaker doesn’t prompt you for a password on each file, if the password is incorrect, the files won’t load/open correctly. Obviously, do not forget the password!
What are .fnenc Files?
This file extension is added automatically to files on the server (you won’t see it unless you turn off file encryption) when DriveMaker creates encrypted files. It’s a marker so that DriveMaker knows which files are encrypted on the server and which are not.
Free Disk Space Reported
The free disk space reported in DriveMaker is not the disk space available at the remote site; it’s the disk space available on the system drive because DriveMaker uses the system drive as a temporary cache and also FTP does not offer a way to query the remote site’s storage size.
What is Data Password?
The data password is used for file encryption only. Do not change it. Stick to one password. If you must change your password, start a new subfolder or delete all files. You could copy all files to your computer to decrypt them, then change the password and clear the FTP site. Then upload them again, which will use the new password.
Does DriveMaker Work with all FTP Servers Out There?
DriveMaker will likely work with a good percentage of FTP servers out there but not all. Unfortunately only few FTP servers implement the complete standard. In addition, each FTP server is just an interface over the underlying file system, which may impose its own limitations; hence, if the FTP server isn’t fully developed or if the underlying file system is not NTFS, you may sooner or later run into access issues, depending on how you use DriveMaker. Especially path depth, file name length, file size, an special characters may become issue on some Linux-powered NAS devices with FTP interface.
To develop and support a software product that works with the majority of FTP servers out there would be very costly and consequently we wouldn’t be able to offer such a high-maintenance tool as freeware. As mentioned above, certain access will never work between incompatible systems, for example when trying to upload a path that is over 32,000 characters long to a non-NTFS FTP server.
What is TCP Exhaustion?
FTP uses TCP and on IPv4 there are only a small number of sockets available, max 65K; however, many FTP servers are configured to use much less. If the number of accesses within 30 seconds exceeds the number of available sockets on the server, you will run into access errors.
Ideally you will want to use Metadata Caching (see above) and limit the number of server requests depending on what the FTP server you have can handle.
What is Max. Requests/sec?
To prevent TCP exhaustion at the client as well as the server side, you can limit the number of requests per second to a maximum of 25. At 25 hits per second, the server will need to reserve between 750 and 6,000 sockets just for that one client (max TCP sockets is around 60,000 per IP address), so you may want to go lower if your server has to deal with a lot of simultaneous and heavy data users. Note that browsing directories leads to peak FTP requests per seconds as each folder request requires a new socket. Uploads and downloads are also one request each, but usually take some time so they don’t usually contribute much toward TCP exhaustion.
How to Fix “Error 67: Network Name not Found”
Windows loads the service “WebClient” on demand; however, when the boot phase takes a long time, the service may load after DriveMaker starts up. In the Service Manager in Windows, you could simply set the service properties to “Automatic” startup instead of “manual” so that Windows starts “WebClient” immediately when booting.
No SFTP Support
Please note that SFTP is currently not supported. If you need encrypted link support, DriveMaker offers “explicit FTPS” which encrypts FTP over TLS/SSL and is also secure; however, SFTP is a different protocol.
Not a VPN Solution
DriveMaker is not meant to be used as a 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 DriveMaker to run databases directly from storage and similar scenarios where random file access is required to occur in-place.
You can 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 read-only.
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.
Not a File System
DriveMaker is limited by FTP limitations 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, DriveMaker will fail. NTFS supports unlimited file sizes and Unicode file name lengths of over 32,700 characters, whereas most other file systems do not. Use IIS7+ or BackupChain FTP server for best results.
Random file access is not supported directly from storage, as mentioned above. Files are downloaded in full, kept in cache, and then uploaded when done. Also, while edits take place the file is not locked; 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. NTFS offers a numerous features beyond that, such as file locking, that are not available.
Not a Real Drive
DriveMaker will not map a real drive remotely. It will simulate drive access and file access will be limited, see previous sections.
Limited Compatibility with Certain FTP Servers
To confirm whether DriveMaker works with your FTP 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.
We do not offer tech support if you are using the freeware edition or if you use FTP servers other than IIS7+ or BackupChain’s embedded FTP server.
Can’t Find the Service WebClient?
If you install DriveMaker on Windows Server you need to install the feature “Desktop Experience” from the Server Manager first.
How to Fix Parameter Is Incorrect Error
In case the connection works (see DriveMaker log box to confirm connection was successful) but you receive ‘parameter is incorrect’ errors when using Windows Explorer, check the following:
- DriveMaker internal port issues: try switching off AV and firewall for a test, try a different internal port
- File issue: invalid date, invalid chars in file or folder name can cause this error
- Folder permissions may cause this error if the FTP user has limited access rights.
- PASV port issue / connection issue. The PASV port range needs to be forwarded correctly. Sometimes ISPs on either side block certain ranges.
- SSL cert issue. If connecting via FTPS, try FTP. Sometimes a broken SSL certificate causes this issue