Having recently purchased a 2014 Explorer Sport and of course wanting to know how things work (or don’t work) I coughed up the $170 to Helm for the service manual CD.
Ford doesn’t exactly use a copy protection scheme on their disks as much as a bootlegging protection scheme. You can make as many copies of the disk as you want but only the original disk can be used to install the software on your PC. After that, you can run the program but one of the copies needs to be in the drive used to originally install the software. This gets to be a pain after a while since every time you click on something, the drive has to spin up and access the data on the CD. Not to mention that you’ll need a bunch of copies in case of the inevitable disk damage and if you’re dragging the laptop out to the garage you have to remember to bring the disk. Also laptop CD drives tend to take a while to spin up. During installation (with the original disk) the software is configured to ALWAYS look to the D: drive (the usual letter of the CD drive) for the data disk.
There is a way around this.
Right Click on My Computer. Click on Manage - Disk Management and scroll to the CD ROM drive area. Right click and change the drive letter designation to something you don’t otherwise use (In my case I used N)
Put the original Ford disk in the drive and install the program normally.
After installation, create a new folder either somewhere on your hard drive or on a network file server (I have a server and intend to configure it so that I can use a laptop to access the data). Now just copy the entire contents of the CD to that new folder. If you only have a single computer, copy the disk to C:\explorer or some such.
Right Click on My Computer. Click on Manage - Disk Management and scroll to the CD ROM drive area. Right click and change the drive letter designation back to D:
Open My Computer, click on Tools, then click on Map Network Drive. Select the drive letter previously used (in my case N) and Browse to the folder where you copied all the data from the disk and select this location to be mapped as the N: drive.
Run the program. Every time you click on a link in the manual it will access your hard drive rather than the CD drive. Quick and no copy disk needed.
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