21/12/2017

Paragon, allowing users to mount the world

Paragon Software makes software that allows users to mount disks from other operating systems. So say you're a Mac user, then you could mount a Windows disk that's formatted with NTFS and access it normally just as you would a disk that's formatted in a native macOS system. Once installed, the system should be rebooted, then external drives should appear as native drives through the file system.

On macOS Paragon support Windows NTFS and also extFS (used by Linux and supporting Ext2, Ext3 and Ext4 disks). There's also a 'value' pack which contains both and support for older Apple formats such as HFS+.

Windows users are also supported so there's support for HFS+ and Linux ExtFS.

Paragon have just announced Windows support for the new Apple File System, APFS and it's a FREE download. Again it will install so that drives are available through the Windows Explorer (and available to any Windows program). Drives will auto mount on start-up. Currently only read-access to the drive is supported.

The Mac version does work nicely and accessing an old hard disk from a Linux system was painless and fast. An added bonus is that it makes access RaspberryPi SD cards a breeze, use any of the SD card utilities to get Raspbian or other operating system on to the SD card, then access it as an attached disk and modify any of the configuration files before installing it into the Pi itself. Can save a lot of time rather than having to boot up the Pi, log into the Pi and then configure everything locally, reboot, etc.

Though not relevant to home users, Paragon also specialise in making drivers for iOS, Android and other embedded operating systems such as QNX and embedded Linux. There's also drivers for UEFI (i.e. the replacement for the BIOS on systems), so that a system, even before the operating system is loaded, can access various drives.

Embedded Linux is used in a lot of systems like Network Attached Storage (NAS) and the drivers allow the NAS to access content on external disks or SD cards in not native formats. QNX is used in a lot of system that use a Real-time OS and again the drivers allow access to non-native disks.

Pricing varies, ExtFS for Mac is £29.00, NTFS for Mac is £15.95 or the UFSD value pack (allowing NTFS and ExtFS on Mac and HFS+ and ExtFS on Windows) is $49.95 (oddly only seems available in dollars).

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