Paragon ExtFS for Windows 4 has been released! Extended Ext4 Linux File System Support, Higher Transfer Rate

We have finally released Paragon ExtFS for Windows 4 – an updated version of the utility software designed to grant full read and write access to Linux file systems under Windows. Paragon ExtFS for Windows simplifies data sharing, providing users with the ability to transfer files between otherwise incompatible systems at a higher data transfer rate than native file-system performance.

New features:

  • New! Supports nearly all of the latest Linux format Ext4: 64bit, dir_index, extent, extra_isize, ext_attr, flex_bg, has_journal etc. (Linux bigalloc, journal_dev, meta_bg features are not currently supported.)
  • New! The driver now works much faster, even when the Linux volume is short on free space. The product is able to transfer a larger amount of smaller files at twice the speed, with an increased rate of random read/write operations.
  • New! Unlimited trial version. Following the initial 10-day trial, the data transfer rate decreases to 5Mb/s, but the product otherwise remains fully functional.
  • New! For Windows users with less-frequent needs, the data transfer speed can be reset for up to 25 days free of charge by sharing with friends on Facebook via the in-app link.

The new version of Paragon ExtFs for Windows comes with extended support for Ext4 file formats, enabling the highest transfer speeds. The new ExtFS for Windows 4 mounts Linux volumes, including those over 2TB in size, up to two times faster than the previous version. Best of all, for owners of Paragon ExtFS for Windows Professional 3, the upgrade is free.

Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac

    • The new ExtFS for Windows mounts Linux volumes much faster, including large volumes over 2TB;
    • Ability to mount any number of Ext 2/3/4 partitions at once;
      • With ExtFS for Windows, the Linux logical volume manager retains all functionality, performing open, close, read, and write operations in the usual way!

 Learn more about Paragon ExtFS for Windows 4

ReFS Support added to Paragon Universal File System Drivers

Resilient File System (ReFS) was first introduced by Microsoft Corporation in the release of Microsoft Server 2012. Since then support of this file system has been integrated into Microsoft server and desktop operating systems like Windows 8/8.1, Windows 10, Server 2016 (Technical Preview).

ReFS was designed with one key goal in mind – file system integrity and the ability to verify and auto-correct data without need to run a separate file system checking utility.

To provide better NTFS file system compatibility for existing applications, Microsoft is using the same API for implementing file system semantics: “This code implements the file system interface (read, write, open, close, change notification, etc.), maintains in-memory file and volume state, enforces security, and maintains memory caching and synchronization for file data. This reuse ensures a high degree of compatibility with the features of NTFS that we’re carrying forward”.

Unfortunately even with the upper-layer engine nearly identical to what’s found in NTFS, up until now, only Microsoft platforms provided access to ReFS volumes; as a result, a Windows PC or a virtual machine running a supported Windows operating system would still be required to open files on Refs volumes from other platforms such as Linux, Mac, etc.

Paragon Software’s development team has been working on integrating ReFS file system support into our UFSD (Universal File System Driver) technology since 2012. We are happy to announce the present result of this work and release a Paragon UFSD driver that supports working with Refs volumes in read-only mode (full solution with both read and write support is under active development).

Introduction to the Paragon ReFS Universal File System Driver

1. Create a ReFS volume on Windows Server 2012 platform:

Create ReFS volume

2. Mount a ReFS volume on Linux:

Mount ReFS volume Linux

3. Copy data from ReFS on Linux:

Refs data copy on Linux

As you can see, with the help of the Paragon ReFS driver anyone can make a copy of their data from the ReFS volume on a Linux platform, without need for a Windows PC.

ReFS Compatibility within the Microsoft Ecosystem

With the release of Microsoft Server 2016 Technical Preview versions, Microsoft has shown that it continues to develop the ReFS file system. The newest ReFS version implemented into the Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 revision is not currently compatible with the previous Microsoft platforms, like Windows Server 2012 R2.

Attaching a ReFS volume from Windows Server 2012 to Windows Server 2016 (Technical Preview 5) – the ReFS volume is recognized:

Attach ReFS volume Windows Server

ReFS is now ready for your Read-Only workloads. If you want to to take advantage of this new technology, please contact Paragon’s sales team at sales@paragon-software.com.

While Apple’s new file system promises the snapshot, Paragon Software delivers it

One of the most exciting features Apple announced at WWDC 2016 was a new file system APFS (Apple File System) that’s going to replace CoreStorage, FileVault, FusionDrive, and the more than decade-old HFS by eventually becoming the default file system for all Apple gadgets in the coming years, from the Apple Watch to Mac computers.

Among other novelties APFS, currently available as part of the macOS Sierra beta, brings a long-anticipated file system mechanism called snapshot. In short, snapshot allows users to grab an instant copy of the file system at a specific point in time — effectively “freezing” data — while continuing to use and modify the file system while keeping old data intact. It does so in a space-efficient manner, where changes are tracked and only new data blocks take up additional space, which is extremely valuable for regular backup.

There are various snapshot technologies on the market, but the most well-known today is Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), which is integrated into Windows XP and later. It’s no wonder most PC backup vendors utilize it instead of developing their own online backup solutions: Invoked by a supported backup utility (requestor, in Microsoft parlance), VSS saves the initial state of data blocks residing on disks by creating shadow copies for each volume involved in the process as virtual read-only devices. The backup utility then copies data from those shadow copies to a backup location, while OS and applications continue writing to the original volumes. This trick ensures consistency of backup data at any given moment, while allowing standard read/write operations for target storage devices during a backup process. Once the backup task is completed, the shadow copies are deleted.

Obviously, the arrival of similar snapshot functionality in APFS promises big changes to Time Machine, which promises to completely replace the creaky, aging mechanism of hard links that it builds and maintains – a slow and resource-consuming process. Currently, Time Machine has to wait until user applications are closed and locked files become available to process files, while ignoring system files at all, which is why OS X has a two-step restore procedure: Users first reinstall the operating system before restoring apps and user files from a backup image. Snapshot opens the door for fast, regular backup imaging of the entire system including user files, running applications, and operating system. By only saving changes when a file is updated, a snapshot-based backup app also requires much less disk space. All this promises that in the not-too-distant future, Time Machine backups could be faster and occupy less space than they do today.

In the meantime, the only snapshot technology available to Mac users is our Snapshot for Mac OEM. The concept of the Paragon Snapshot for Mac technology is based on embedding a special filter driver into a kernel input-output (I/O) stack between a block device and the file system. The goal is to save the initial state of data blocks on a disk at the time the snapshot is taken to provide backup data consistency, while the OS or applications continue modifying data on the same disk.

When attempting to write something to a block device for which a snapshot has been taken, the filter driver first copies existing data from the targeted blocks to a special temporary file called the backstore, and only then the writing operation is allowed. This way, Snapshot for Mac doesn’t prohibit rewriting data on the block device snapshot, but only postpones it until old data is copied to the backstore. Thus, for data blocks changed after a snapshot is taken, Snapshot for Mac provides a backup engine for initial data from the backstore, while unchanged blocks are stored directly on the device.

If you develop your own backup solution for Mac or represent a vendor of disaster recovery solutions for businesses of all sizes, you can make it even more robust by accelerating backup routines while increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Paragon Snapshot for Mac will help you to increase your target audience with companies whose businesses rely on Macs: For example, design firms, movie production studios, and more.

Paragon Snapshot for Mac OEM allows you to easily and quickly back up running applications and system-locked files, create RAW disk images, or an image of any volumes (e.g. NTFS or ExtFS-formatted Windows or Linux partitions).

In the newly updated version, Paragon Snapshot for Mac OEM doesn’t require a post-installation reboot, no longer loads and runs in the background when OS X starts up — all of which helps minimize any potential slowdown for the Mac. We designed it to achieve maximum productivity with a minimum of required operating system resources.

While Apple’s new file system promises the snapshot, Paragon Software delivers it — check out the full features of this amazing solution on our website!

Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac

  • The first snapshot technology for OS X;
  • The only solution for sector-level imaging;
  • 2-4 times faster than file-level backup/restore procedures!

Learn more about Snapshot for Mac OEM