The Fake Network Drive (CAD Manager's Toolbox)

12 Feb, 2008 By: Robert Green

The Issue
You need to deploy your CAD tools via a network, but it is hard to test your deployments in a live network environment. After all, if you mess up a network environment, you’ll cause heartburn for all your users -- not just you. So how can you get around this problem?

The Solution
Simulate the network using a fake network drive, and you’ll make sure all your paths and files are correct without putting your real network at risk. Then you can upload all your changes to the real network after testing is complete.

Interested? Here’s how you do it:

  1. Disconnect your network drive using Windows Explorer. (For the sake of the example I’m going to assume you’ve disconnected your network Z drive.)
  1. Create a dummy folder on your hard drive that will act as the new Z drive, which we’ll create in the next step. (For the sake of the example I’ll assume that you’ll create a C:\Z folder).
  1. Use the DOS SUBST command to make your C:\Z folder seem like a network drive by using a DOS prompt as shown here:
  1. Now configure your software to work on the Z drive just like the real network drive. As you change the contents of the new Z drive, remember that all your files will actually be written into the C:\Z folder on your local hard drive. Change, test, and modify until you’ve got everything just right!
  1. Disconnect the fake network drive by using a DOS prompt as shown here:
  1. Reconnect your network Z drive using Windows Explorer.
  1. Copy the various files you created/modified from the C:\Z folder on your hard drive (the fake Z drive) to the actual network Z drive.

Now you’re all set to run your software on your real network drive, secure in the knowledge that everything is tested and ready to roll.

Do you have a suggestion/tip that should be included in the CAD Manager’s Toolbox? Send it to me at If I use your idea, you will receive a cool Cadalyst souvenir.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green