Network Setup for Drake Tax

How do I share and map a network drive for Drake Tax?


The following information is meant as a basic outline for establishing a network. Because operating systems exist in a number of different versions, network setup and security can vary widely. You may need to contact an IT professional for assistance with establishing your initial network. Once your network is established, you will be able to easily install and maintain all licensed versions of Drake Tax on the same network. 

Basic Setup

Generally, Drake network setup involves the following steps:

  1. Establish the network. You must complete this basic step yourself. If you are not familiar with office networks, get help from a competent network technician. The success of your office will depend on a reliable network.
    1. The physical network. Link your office computers in a hard wired or wireless network. Internet access is necessary for all machines on which Drake will be installed.
    2. Network architecture and security. You must determine the following before installing:
      1. what operating system will be used (review the Drake Tax system requirements to ensure compatibility),
      2. which computer will be the Drake server (dedicated servers that are not used as a workstation are also supported), 
      3. how the network computers will communicate with each other and with the internet.
        • Note: Generally, wireless networks are slower and less secure than hard-wired networks.
      4. the level of security for network equipment, users, internet and other possible internal and external network access.
  2. Configure the network for Drake.
    1. On the server, you will need to set up permissions and share on the network the location where Drake will be installed.
    2. Set user permissions to ensure all workstation operators can access that location.
      • Note: Creating a folder on your server and sharing that folder is a good way to share information within your office while maintaining security. 
    3. On each workstation, map the workstation to the shared network location so that a permanent connection exists between the workstation and the shared location. Upon completion of this step, each workstation can open the shared network location in the same way that it can open a local hard drive. This is also called mapping a network drive, even if the server location is a folder and not a hard drive. 
  3. Install and configure Drake as required for NW Client or Peer-to-Peer (see the “Installation & Setup” chapter in the Drake User’s Manual). Test and troubleshoot the installation at all computers where you will run Drake.
  4. Adjust any network security or permission, and configure any hardware or software firewalls that interfere with the functionality. You may need a technician for these adjustments.

Supported Network Types

You can install Drake on a network in one of two ways, NW Client or peer-to-peer. Please note, that if you install to a network, that the installation is on the root of the networked drive. Any attempts to run the software from a sub-folder will cause errors. 

    NW Client (recommended)

    • In this configuration, you install and configure Drake only on the network server, a shared folder or disk drive accessible to network workstations. You then run an accessory program, NW Client, from each network workstation to complete workstation setup.
    • Advantages:  an NW Client installation is easier to run and maintain. All data is kept on the server (or on paths defined in Drake on the server), all e-file transmission occurs from the server, and there is only the one installed copy of Drake on the server to be updated.
    • Disadvantages:  the server must be adequate to the task of running multiple copies of Drake simultaneously, or network speed suffers.


    • In this configuration, you install and configure Drake on the network server, a shared folder or disk drive accessible to network workstations. You also install and configure Drake on each workstation. All client data files are kept on the server (or on paths defined in Drake on the server), where workstations access and save them. Optionally, the workstations can also share Drake configuration files on the server.
    • Advantages:  For a given server, network speed is higher because the workstations run Drake locally, sharing the load.
    • Disadvantages:  You must update each copy of Drake on the server and workstations, so each must have internet access. You must pay attention to file sharing to make sure all workstations are using the same data and basic configurations. If you mistakenly transmit a return from a workstation copy of Drake, you may damage the office e-file data base (which, for example, can interfere with printing a taxpayer’s refund check or retrieving acks properly).
    Contact an IT professional for assistance. Contact Drake Software Support for questions at (828) 524-8020.