|Version 7||Product: ExpanDrive 7 for Mac|
Dave, Jeff and Jonathan started ExpanDrive in a Stanford University dorm in 2004 right before completing our degrees in Computer Science. We had always wanted to start a company whose goal was to make great software that solved difficult technical problems. We relocated to Boston to work on our first product, SFTPDrive- A fast network filesystem for Windows that could mount SFTP. Some of our earliest customers used SFTPDrive to connect to the Strongspace online storage service. In August of 2009 we acquired Strongspace from Joyent and have been developing it since.
- ExpanDrive 7 for Mac adds cloud storage like Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, SFTP (SSH), Box, OneDrive and Sharepoint to Finder and Explorer.
- Smart Offline Sync:
Choose files for offline access and work without an internet connection. Synchronization to the cloud takes place automatically when you’re back online. Other files are accessed on-demand from the cloud, taking no disk space.
- Integrated Search:
ExpanDrive hooks into Spotlight Search on Mac and Windows file search. Quickly search your remote storage for whatever you’re looking for. The integrated storage browser has additional support for blazing-fast server side search.
- ExpanDrive now propagates lock files in Microsoft Office documents across the cloud. If a user is editing an Office document, other users will only be able to open that document read-only until the editing user closes it.
- Easily access older versions of files on cloud storage backends that support versioning, including Box, Dropbox, S3, Google Drive, OneDrive and Sharepoint.
The new updated user interface introduces a built-in file browser allowing users to view, download, rename, move, or delete without mounting services in the Finder. There’s even shareable link support for services like Google Drive.( see image below )
Just select a file and use the right mouse click toped a small menu with selectable options.
You can adjust the width of the Connections pane easily to support volumes with long nicknames. Automatic or manual “Check for Updates” button is placed in Settings.
Although the new UI is more visually pleasing, there’s lack of visual feedback when hovering on icons which could be improved in new versions. ‘Connected and connecting’ visuals are not nicely placed.
Check the image below on Big Sur 11.3 .
The interface providing most relevant information does lack refinement of font-type and layout, although I do understand it all comes down to personal taste. And I admit being fond of not often found smooth aesthetically pleasing layouts.
Nice looking or not, ExpanDrive 7 is definitely faster than ever. The earlier version improved up to a 500 percent increase in transfer speeds due to a multi-threading StrongSync kernel engine, where this latest edition speeds things up to truly fast levels, particularly with larger files. Browsing remote connections in the Finder finally feels as accessing and working on local hard drives. This is a major break through as most others ( CloudMounter and Mounting Duck ) experienced connection stability problems. No, ExpanDrive has none of these problems and provides very, very stable and fast connections. Better as aspected so we are impressed.
Such performance improvements can largely be attributed to intelligent caching, and ExpanDrive 7 addresses one longtime limitation by allowing users to change the location of such files to any volume, rather than consuming precious internal resources. ExpanDrive also nicely integrates with Spotlight, so search queries now show results from remote volumes alongside local drives.
Most external WebDAV connections need an extra addition to your normal path, in my case; remote.php/webdav/ check your provider for information if you run into problems.
Expandrive and Strongsync cover transport encryption (TLS), but we should also need to ensure the endpoint is encrypted and not by the endpoint itself but on the client side as well. This feature is found in CloudMounter but sadly not yet in ExpanDrive. In case of FTP use, we recommend to always opt for FTPS or SFTP (SSH transport).
ExpanDrive provides loads of possible external storage connections, and will be sufficient for most users. The connecting proces is done really easy and has no learning curve. You only need to enter your credentials for any external storage like Google Drive where Google needs you to confirm data access from ExpanDrive and in return provides a link which you need to enter in ExpanDrive and confirm. Your Google Drive is installed in Finder and a HD icon is placed on your desktop. You now have full access to Google Drive as if it was a local drive.
Files transfers are fast and even ‘sharing of links’ is a basic feature. In Big Sur 11.3 we get nice looking icons on the desktop where CloudMounter adds non iMac ugly icons. And as explained above I do like aesthetics even for my icons.
Security nowadays is a major concern for every internet user, as our private data is like honey for the bears ! ( just my own invented expression ☺︎ ) Users on the internet would like to have an additional choice to make use of encryption on their client side. You may argue about its validity as ExpanDrive only exist on your computer and has no link to whichever external cloud based storage. It only sits in your software as a means of data transportation. So does the absence of client side encryption makes you more vulnerable to the honey bears?
In a perfect world, this absence would be no issue, however in the present world it would be best to have encryption integrated in any application. If you wish to make use of external storage, you as a private person should never leave your sensitive information on a server, period. Hacks are done daily, people loose Bitcoins daily all due to hack-experts searching for the honey-pot. However, if companies store their data on external servers, this should always be encrypted to keep others from reading in case of data-theft.
Many cloud storage services utilize the OAuth 2 protocol to authenticate users and provide applications like ExpanDrive an API key for usage. ExpanDrive opens an embedded web browser connecting you to directly to Microsoft, Google, and others so that you can authenticate directly with them without the ExpanDrive app ever needing to capture and save your credentials.
Like any company, ExpanDrive claims fast file handling, but how does this perform in practice when compared with the likes of CloudMounter or Mountain Duck? Well to find out I ran a simple test copying blocks of large and smaller files from the iMac’s Finder to in this case Google Drive. FTP behaviour is too much influenced by connection factors to make a fair judgement.
Check the dramatic difference in transfer speed of file sizes, where small files make no much difference where large files make a huge difference in transfer speed/time. ExpanDrive is about 77% faster with large files as small files are equal in transfer speed.
CloudMounter in comparison surprised us again with a frequent error popup.
ExpanDrive 7 for Mac really is best in class in terms of speed and stability. The interface could be nicer and better in terms of text placing, but it does perform as it promises. Stability is even more important than speed to me, and this is another feature where ExpanDrive beats the competition. Client-side encryption would be a good feature for future versions. Still ExpanDrive is your best Cloud-Toolbox for a fair price.