“No complaint about the lack of windows”: the new era of Apple multi-platform environment

Yesterday at WWDC 16 Apple presented its new macOS Sierra – the spiritual successor of OS X 10.11 El Capitan. The era of “OS X” as part of the name has ended.

With the new name, macOS Sierra focuses mainly on cross platform experience, continuity, and iCloud.

To start with, Apple announced a new auto-lock feature which allows Apple Watch wearers to unlock their Mac simply by opening it or walking into its vicinity. The other newcomer is a universal clipboard – a shared clipboard between macOS and iOS that allows users to easily share text, images, or video between Mac, iPhone, or iPad.

Apple also brings Apple Pay to the web, allowing the authentication of online payments on Mac via Apple Watch or iPhone with Touch ID.

Apple Pay

The trend is clear – Apple is trying to make the experience between devices seamless. Siri on the new macOS is the cherry on the cake. After allowing Siri to introduce herself, like it was done in the original 1984 Mac demo, Craig Federighi showed off several Siri desktop features that should look familiar to iOS users, like calling up playlists, creating tasks, or searching the Web.

Talking about iCloud, it now plays an expanded role in synchronization, making your desktop folders and files visible on other Macs and iOS devices. Another new feature called Optimized Storage can sweep through old files and move them to iCloud, thus making room on local disk space for other purposes. Moreover, it can automatically delete your trash, clear your Web history, old mail attachments, and do other behind-the-scene clean-ups.

Optimized Storage

Another feature, that wasn’t introduced on the presentation, is the new file system which is available in a pre-release macOS Sierra beta version for Apple developers and is scheduled to ship in 2017.

“Apple File System is a Next-Generation File System for Apple Products” – says the Apples guide published yesterday, – “HFS+ and it’s predecessor HFS are more than 30 years old. These file systems were developed in an era of floppy disks and spinning hard drives, where file sizes were calculated in kilobytes or megabytes. Today, solid-state drives store millions of files, accounting for gigabytes or terabytes of data. There is now also a greater importance being placed on keeping sensitive information secure and safe from prying eyes. A new file system is needed to meet the current needs of Apple products, and support new technologies for decades to come”.

Accordingly, Apple File System, or APFS, is a next-generation file system for Apple products based upon the iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS software platforms, ranging from the Apple Watch to a Mac Pro. It’s optimized for Flash/SSD storage and features strong encryption, copy-on-write metadata, space sharing, cloning for files and directories, snapshots, fast directory sizing, atomic safe-save primitives, and improved file system fundamentals.

In conclusion, it seems like Apple is making steps to ease the multi-platform experience. However, it takes time to reach perfection and during this lengthy journey, Paragon Software products including HDM for Mac, NTFS for Mac, or EXTFS for Mac can help you to always be on the cutting edge.

Сircumventing the security challenges of OS X El Capitan

OS X El capitan may be more resistant than ever to malicious software, but its arrival means new challenges lie ahead for some third-party developers.

SIP: Forcing developers to think different

OS X El Capitan 10.11 offers serious defense against malware on a number of fronts, most notably System Integrity Protection (SIP for short). SIP removes administrative overrides for processes running in the background and disables root access to /usr, /bin, /sbin, and /System, preventing ANY user or application (with the exception of Mac-native installer software) from writing to those locations or modifying files residing there.
In doing so, Apple has for the first time rejected a key Unix principal by limiting the access privileges of a “superuser” (better known as root). Traditionally, users with administrator privileges could install software and generally access any part of the root-level system they so desire, while regular users had more limited access.
Although this approach has generally worked well since OS X debuted in 2001, there was always the potential threat of local or remote attacks from rogue Trojan horse software that gained access to root. By implementing SIP, veteran Mac power users now consider the operating system to be “rootless.”
It should be noted that Apple has provided power users with a workaround to temporarily disable SIP, simply by booting into the Recovery partition and selecting Utilities > Security Configuration from the menu. Next, uncheck Enforce System Integrity Protection, click Apply Configuration, and restart for the change to take effect. However, it’s clear that SIP is the way forward, so developers and end users will need to adapt accordingly.

Disk Utility vs. Third-Party Drivers

The El Capitan version of Disk Utility has also been through major changes — both cosmetically and under the hood. Once you get used to the glossy new user interface, veteran users might notice Apple has entirely removed the option to repair disk permissions. That’s because Apple no longer allows permissions to change in any way, with the exception of an automatic repair run during software updates.

But that’s not all: Disk Utility no longer manages disks mounted by third-party drivers, at least not through the program’s graphical user interface. The reasons for the change don’t make a whole lot of sense to outsiders, especially when disks mounted by non-native drivers can still be mounted, formatted, or repaired by using the command-line diskutil.

Making OS X more like mobile

An additional security improvement removes the possibility of using unsigned kernel extensions (kexts) which modify the core of OS X. Starting with El Capitan, developers must sign kexts with a valid Apple certificate in order for them to continue working. This means perfectly good drivers for discontinued products or expensive hardware could suddenly become unusable after upgrading to the new OS — with no easy or reliable downgrade available!

By adopting such changes, Apple aims to make OS X a more user-friendly and secure platform similar to iOS, which powers the company’s popular iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch products. Although this move will surely benefit average users and protect them from the ever-increasing threat of malicious software, the additional layers of security temporarily complicate matters for advanced power users and Mac developers whose livelihood depends upon OS X.

The challenge for developers

If you already purchase most of your software from the Mac App Store, chances are you’ll never notice (or care) about the under-the-hood changes Apple has implemented with OS X El Capitan. But there are plenty of third-party developers who will be affected, especially those who offer software outside of Apple’s walled garden ecosystem.

The makers of popular utility software like Default Folder X have already discovered solutions to work around El Capitan’s new challenges, which required a complete overhaul of the existing application in order to implement. Paragon Software faced a similar challenge with NTFS for Mac, which adds the ability to write to Windows-formatted volumes, which can’t natively be done with OS X alone.

Like many other developers, Paragon products have traditionally stored application components in the very places El Capitan no longer permits. For example, the NTFS for Mac driver would be installed in /System/Library/Filesystems, while auxiliary command-line utilities were located in /usr/sbin.

Because of SIP, NTFS for Mac 14 and higher now place this driver in /Library/Filesystems, relocating associated utilities to /usr/local/sbin/, where root still has full privileges. It’s not only a reasonable alternative, but also remains proper Unix etiquette. Likewise, the NTFS for Mac 14 driver is properly signed as a kernel extension, making it a required update for owners of earlier versions prior to upgrading to El Capitan.

Meet the new NTFS for Mac 14

In addition to the under the hood changes outlined above, the familiar NTFS for Mac preferences pane has been overhauled with version 14. Since Disk Utility can no longer be used to work with Windows-formatted volumes, NTFS for Mac 14 now includes built-in format, verify, and mount functionality.

In addition to Windows NTFS, other file systems supported by OS X can also be used with this preference pane — for example, if Paragon’s ExtFS for Mac driver is already installed on the same system, NTFS for Mac will also be able to format, verify, or mount Linux-native Ext2/3/4 disks as well.

Here’s what NTFS for Mac 14 looks like when launched:

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And here’s a look at the new way to format volumes as NTFS:

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NTFS for Mac 14 can also be used to verify a volume for possible file system errors:

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For those comfortable with Terminal, the same actions can also be performed with Paragon’s command-line utilities. Advanced users familiar with Unix will have access to additional options through this interface:

  • fsck_ufsd_NTFS finds and repairs errors on NTFS disks.

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  • fsck_ufsd_NTFS formats a volume to NTFS.

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  • mount_ufsd_NTFS mounts or unmounts NTFS disks.

Finally, support of the Windows NT file system is automatically added to the command-line diskutil during installation of the NTFS for Mac driver.

Download and try NTFS for Mac 14 for free!

Paragon Camptune X can now add up 2 GBs to your BootCamp partition

The updated version comes with a redesigned user interface, and allows owners of the free edition to also work with Boot Camp.

New and improved features:

  • 2GB can now be reallocated between OS X and Windows absolutely free, particularly convenient for urgent, last-minute changes to available disk space.
  • The new interface design is more intuitive and user-friendly.

Ivan Sidorin, product manager: “We have improved the overall impression of working with the Camptune X application, which has been redesigned to be more convenient from the user’s perspective. We pay close attention to how the user interacts with the software. The new version also improves overall reliability. Finally, we’ve made it more convenient for users of the free edition — for example, if you’re running out of disk space on the Windows partition and urgently need to preserve system updates or other files under 2GB in size. With Paragon Camptune X 10.10, you can now do it in just one click without having to purchase the full version.”

The apps supports OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard to OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

Download yourself and try now!

Get it from CNET Download.com!

Special for users of earlier OS X version: Try our full-functional Paragon NTFS for Mac Yosemite Free!

Despite its name, this multilingual product supports all OS X versions up to OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard!

Paragon NTFS for Mac eliminates boundaries between Mac and Windows operating systems, delivering full read and write support for NTFS-formatted drives on OS X. Paragon NTFS for Mac achieves the speed of native drivers and is the industry’s fastest solution for Mac users who want to share data between Mac and Windows systems, so that the user doesn’t even notice on which platform their files are.

Paragon NTFS for Mac 14

Paragon NTFS for Mac Yosemite Free is based on Paragon’s proprietary Universal File System Driver (UFSD) technology. Paragon UFSD provides full access (read/write, format, etc.) to volumes of the most popular file systems under all popular platforms (Mac, Windows, Linux, Android and DOS).

Availability:
Paragon NTFS for Mac Yosemite Free is available for download absolutely free of charge! For Mac users of El Capitan, the commercial 14th version is available at $19.99.
For other Mac products, please visit Mac ToolBox Portal.

Paragon Software Announces Storage SDKs for Android and iOS

New SDKs greatly simplify the creation of storage management apps for Android and iOS, and make it easy to add USB storage functionality to other apps.

USB storage is generally underused in mobile apps, even though there are various situations where it would be very convenient for users. Examples include on-the-go backup without relying on mobile data or Wi-Fi hotspots, and giving copies of photos or videos you’ve just taken to someone else without having to upload them. If you want to take movies on a trip to watch on the plane or in your hotel, for example, it’s much easier to save large media files on a flash drive, and this also avoids cluttering up the device’s limited internal storage.

Mobile OSes are beginning to incorporate USB storage support, but that support tends to be inflexible. This feature only came to Android in version 6 (Marshmallow), and that implementation only supports FAT32. That’s a problem for developers who want to produce apps that run on the majority of Android phones and tablets, and an even bigger one for those planning to create cross-platform apps. Furthermore, FAT32 imposes file-size limitations that can be inconveniently restrictive when dealing with large files such as HD and 4K videos.

Paragon Software’s new UFSD SDKs help fill this gap. Available for iOS (iPhone 5 and later, iPad 2 and later) and Android (version 3.0 and later), they abstract and implement support for multiple partitioning schemes (MBR, GPT and APM) and file systems (NTFS, HFS+, FAT32, ExFAT and ExtFS).

The UFSD SDKs will be of particular interest to storage vendors, as they can bundle Paragon’s UMS service and other Paragon FS drivers with portable USB storage products to ensure compatibility and interoperability with any OSes including iOS, Android, Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. Similarly, ISVs can use the SDKs to simplify the development of Android and iOS apps supporting multiple brands of mobile USB storage.

Since iOS provides a very limited support for external storage and only allows access to images stored on digital cameras via custom Lightning to USB adaptor, storage vendors entering the iOS market need a companion app that would support their storage media’s file system. Naturally, each vendor’s app only supports its own storage brand.

To provide a real-life example of how the UFSD SDK can be used, Paragon Software has developed a plug-in https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.paragon.tcplugins_ntfs_ro that adds USB storage support to the well-regarded, 4.5 star average rated, Total Commander file management app for Android. The plug-in has already been downloaded more than 400,000 times, which clearly demonstrates end-user interest in this capability.

A demonstration of a sample iOS app using the iOS UFSD SDK can be seen via YouTube:

Paragon Software Group Releases NTFS for Mac® 14 – the Industry’s Fastest Solution for Full Access to Windows Partitions on OS X 10.11 El Capitan

Paragon NTFS for Mac 14 is the industry’s fastest driver giving OS X full read and write access to Windows-formatted NTFS partitions. The new version is fully compatible with Apple’s new operating system OS X 10.11 El Capitan, which was launched yesterday, and still supports all versions back to 10.8 Mountain Lion. Internal tests show Paragon NTFS for Mac 14 is the only solution on the market to match the file transfer speed of Apple’s native driver on SSDs.

Paragon NTFS 14 for Mac achieved 700MB/sec (write) and 800MB/sec (read) on the internal SSD of a MacBook Pro. It also performs as well as HFS+ with external storage: 250MB/sec write and 240MB/sec read on a two-SSD RAID device, and 210MB/sec write and 210MB/sec read on an ordinary external drive (2TB USB 3.0 Seagate Expansion Drive 3.5″).

To ensure a higher level of security, El Capitan delivers a new protection feature. System Integrity Protection prevents modifications to certain system files, folders and processes. This protects components on disk and at run-time, only allowing system binaries to be modified by the system installer and software updates. Code injection and runtime attachments to system binaries are no longer allowed. Paragon NTFS for Mac 14 is fully compatible with Apple’s new security policy ensuring fast, hassle-free and safe access to NTFS partitions from OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

Once the program is installed, the user can get started right away: conveniently navigate contents and read, edit, copy or create files and folders. The program guarantees advanced support of NTFS file systems and provides fast and transparent read/write access to any NTFS partition under OS X 10.11. Paragon has been the leader in cross-platform storage software for 20 years, delivering proven maximum performance, stability and security for cross-platform work between Mac, Windows and other operating systems.


Key functions:

  • Full OS X 10.11 El Capitan support.
  • Ultra-quick read/write access to NTFS files in OS X El Capitan.
  • No limit to file or partition sizes (within NTFS and OS X constraints).
  • Supports special NTFS functions in OS X El Capitan such as resource forks, hardlinks, symlinks and file permissions (POSIX file attribute).
  • The transfer rate during file operations on NTFS partitions is just as good as it is for operations on native HFS partitions.
  • Unparalleled stability – even during peak system utilization!
  • Simply install it and go to work. No further system adjustments are necessary once it has been installed.


System requirements

  • OS X El Capitan 10.11 and back to 10.8.

Availability:

Paragon NTFS for Mac 14 is available for immediate download for $19.99 at http://www.paragon-software.com/home/ntfs-mac/index.html All users who purchased NTFS for Mac 12 will get a free upgrade to version 14. They will receive an invitation to upgrade via email or they can view their real-time upgrade status at http://www.paragon-software.com/landing-pages/2015/ntfs-mac-el-capitan-upgrade/index.html

A Better Backup for Mac OS

Every Mac has a backup utility called Time Machine, but given the opportunity for a different backup software many Mac fans . Time Machine has its pros and cons. Under the hood of a glossy interface with “bells and whistles” it’s nothing more than a simple file-backup utility, which can’t even work with locked files on demand. There is no simple way of restoring your system after a disaster. You will have to restore the Mac OS then use Time Machine to restore all of your files. Obviously this isn’t an ideal situation and a rather long procedure.

I want to tell you about Paragon Volume Snapshot for Mac, an application, which implements a new level of data security in the Mac World. As it can be seen from its name Snapshot for Mac is a snapshot technology application (as opposed to Time Machine). In fact Paragon Volume Snapshot is the first snapshot backup solution for Mac.

Snapshot Backup for Mac

Basically a snapshot is a image of your entire hard drive including your OS and data. Snapshot for Mac is an online-backup technology, thus it’s able to work with locked files and folders at the time of archive creation. It’s closely related with the Disk Image utility, so in the end you will get images as well-known DMG files. And finally, you can boot your Mac with the Mac OS X installation disc; perform quick restore of your whole application environment from a DMG image in several minutes without any fuss; boot your Mac as usually and continue your work as if nothing had happened.

Let’s see how to use the Paragon Volume Snapshot utility. Just click on the installation package, choose where to install Snapshot for Mac and restart your Mac. The restart is needed for kernel extension installation.

Click the Paragon Volume Snapshot icon in the Applications window, the program’s main window will open.

Here you can see all available volumes on hard drives in the system. Choose one you want to backup and click the “Backup” button.

The program will ask you where you want to store the image, we suggest you to use an external media (HDD or a flash drive) for this purpose. You may be prompted to enter the administrator credentials to continue.

Then you are all set. The backup will begin and you will take your first image of your Mac and have it stored for easy recovery. The Disk Image utility takes approximately 50% of one CPU resources for the DMG packing; the process is rather quick: 1GB of data per minute.

In the end you will get a DMG file with your system and data. You can mount this image as usual and recover some files and folders, or restore your whole environment later.

Paragon Volume Snapshot for Mac is a simple but robust solution, which you can use for disaster-recovery backup of your Mac computers. It provides a new level of data security that cannot be achieved with the use of Time Machine.

If you are interested in doing an online review of our Snapshot for Mac product, leave a comment.

Let us know what you think about Paragon Snapshot for Mac or your favorite Mac backup solution and you could win a copy for yourself.

Volume Snapshot for Mac OS X

The only snapshot based backup solution for comprehensive protection of both data & systems!

Easily create an exact point-in-time copy of your data & system, and when a disaster strikes – get everything back in minutes. Unlike Time Machine and other file-level backup utilities, our solution has very fast backup and restore capabilities. Now you can backup running applications and locked system files, and if your system fails – there is no need re-install, just boot from the Mac® OS X Install DVD and launch the restore operation. This is a huge time saver compared to other methods.

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True live protection

Traditional backups involving file archiving has a number of drawbacks, like:

  • Running applications usually require exclusive rights for processed files, thus preventing a backup program from copying them.
  • During a volume backup to ensure accessibility of files and the data integrity, a program requires suspension and/or termination of all running applications. For high-capacity disk systems, this could take hours.

Snapshot-based backup easily solves these problems. It’s a common industry term denoting the ability to record the state of a storage device at any given moment (make a snapshot), and then preserve that snapshot as a guide for restoring the machine in case of emergency.

Fastest Recovery

The old way: In case of a system malfunction (it fails to boot), you should re-install the system first. To do that, you need to boot from a distributive CD and install the system (~40 minutes). After that, you need to set up Time Machine and roll back to the required state of the system. This process is time-consuming as it involves re-installation of the operating system.

The better way: With Paragon Snapshot for Mac you don’t need to re-install the system, just boot from a Mac OS X Installation DVD and restore via Disk Utility. Moreover, data retrieval from snapshot is accomplished through private interfaces, which is faster, than processing files on a file system level. Reduce the number of steps it takes to restore your system with Snapshot for Mac®.

Read more…

Read and write to an NTFS partition from your Mac

Another very good review for our latest NTFS for Mac 8.0. We appreciate all of the blogs that have given us their feedback on our software.

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Paragon NTFS for Mac OS X will be welcomed by anybody who finds themselves working with both OS X and Windows, but particularly anybody using Boot Camp in a dual boot environment. When opening, copying and editing files, transfer speeds of up to 90MB/s can be expected and performance is further enhanced by the fact that Paragon NTFS for Mac OS X feature full support for 64-bit Snow Leopard.

Software Giveaway: HFS for Windows – 50,000 License Giveaway

HFS for Windows, the only software that lets you read Apple iPods, Macs and iPad data from a Windows PC. It is a well known fact that Windows cannot read from and write to HFS+ partitions. This limits the ability to exchange or share files between Windows and Mac OS X file systems. Occasionally, users will rely on the services of FAT partitions which can be read and written to by both Windows and Mac OS X. FAT partitions have disadvantages and limitations as well for example you can’t store/create files greater than 4GB in size. Moreover, what if your data is already stored on a Mac-formatted partition and you want to migrate them to a Windows-formatted drive (NTFS) to preserve the integrity of the data?

HFS for Windows Giveaway Continue reading Software Giveaway: HFS for Windows – 50,000 License Giveaway