NetDrive allows you to map a drive on a Windows, Novell, or Linux server via FTP, SFTP, WebDAV or iFolder so that it shows up as a regular drive in explorer and behaves very much as a local drive would in the Windows file system. You can map multiple servers to multiple drives and assign each one the drive letter of your choosing.
Whether you are a developer and/or work with websites or you use an FTP server to store and back up your files, using an FTP client like FileZilla is a daily routine for many of us. Imagine how cool it would be if your FTP server is mapped to a windows drive that behaved just like any other drive in the windows file system, whereby you could edit and save files just as you would on your hard drive or simply drag, drop and manage your files within explorer.
I recently came across a software called Red Drive Shell Extension which is supposed to do just that; unfortunately, although in theory it seemed to work on my system, it kept flashing constant error messages which made it impossible to use. Another program I found, FTP Drive, exhibited the exact same behavior. That is when I found and installed NetDrive and found, to my delight, that it worked perfectly. Note that this program is abandonware; it was developed by Novell and is the precursor of another very similar for-pay program that eventually superseded it.
Here’s a list of things I like about this program:
- Installation was a breeze; straightforward and intuitive. Click here for step by step installation instructions.
- System tray icon makes it easy to interact with NetDrive and quickly access any number of operations that you might want to perform (see screenshot).
- Provides a very reliable, seamless experience of a local hard drive. Your explorer context menu and most Explorer extensions will work within your new “drive” as normal.
- Stays connected (I am assuming that it disconnects and quickly re-connects); I have not witnessed any lockups in 3 days of almost continuous use.
- Allows you to connect to multiple servers simultaneously mapped as different drives.
Things that I do not like so much:
- Navigation can be rather sluggish, but that is probably to be expected since the virtual drive is actually connected to a remote server. It will further adversely affect the speed if your windows explorer and/or your system in general is laden with many extensions and programs that the virtual drive needs to interact with. You will be able to find the files/directories you are looking for faster using an FTP client such as Filezilla.
- Changes made to your FTP client independent of NetDrive may not be reflected when you browse using NetDrive until you flush the cache (easily performed through the tray icon).
The verdict: I like this program insofar as it provides the ability to create shortcuts on the desktop to frequently used directories on the FTP server, and to open, edit, and save files just as if they resides locally; however, for many operations a proper FTP client might prove to be more efficient and reliable in practice. Still I am now using it on a daily basis and do not foresee uninstalling it anytime soon.
Version tested: 4.1
Compatibility: Windows 95 or above; no info on VISTA.