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Copy the file locally, disconnect the network and open the project, then set proxies for all the files. You're probably referring to using the Shift key, which will suppress thumbnail generation, but it won't prevent scanning for footages. Also note, that you really must disconnect, otherwise your operating system may create alternate path mapping with the native URIs even if the drives are not visible/ mapped and then you're back in square one.
You can just change the name of the folder where your sources are stored. Then change it back when you want the files "online" again.
- Jonas Hummelstrand
>You can just change the name of the folder where your sources are stored.
That works well for Windows, but Mac OS is a little trickier. The OS keeps track of folder name changes (even on network directories) and will re-direct requests appropriately. Very cool for users, very bad if you're trying to fool a program like AE. (Had to struggle with this about a month ago to offline some files.)
The only way I was able to make it work was by changing the name of the folder from a different computer while the main computer was disconnected from that server.
Actually Windows can do that as well in some environments, depending how the admin configured the servers (safe folder renaming, server announcement broadcast update settings etc.)...