Knox – For OS X

Knox, as in Fort Knox, is Mac software that manages encrypted disk images. I came across Knox while looking for a replacement to Stuffit Deluxe. I’d been using Stuffit to create an encrypted archive as part of my backup process. This was the only piece of Stuffit Deluxe that I used and I don’t want to install it on my new Mac.

Knox is used to manage OS X encrypted disk images. At $30 it’s targeted to people who use a lot of encrypted disk images but don’t want to use FileVault to encrypt their entire home directory. I only have one encrypted file and wouldn’t use more than one or two more, so it’s not worth the price for me, but it’s still potentially useful to others.

Knox can be displayed in the menu bar or the dock and there’s an option to keep Knox running after restarts. Open vaults can also be automatically opened with restarts. Vaults can be opened from the Knox menu rather than hunting for them on disk and having to manually open them.

When you create a new vault you’re prompted to name the vault and provide a password. There’s an option to save the password in the keychain. You can optionally set a maximum vault size, select a location, allow Spotlight searches withing the vault and select files to be added at creation. The vaults use the “sparseimage” format so they can expand as needed and can be compacted when space is freed up.

One very nice feature is the ability to schedule vault backups to disk, network drives, iDisk or iPods. The vault won’t be backup up if it’s in use at the scheduled time. You can also manually trigger the backup and configure how many historical backups you want to save.

If Pathfinder is present Knox will use it instead of Finder.

Knox is useful for managing encrypted disk images but $30 seems a bit much for how little I would use it. It doesn’t really do anything you can’t do manually since it uses the encryption from OS X. If, like me, you only have a couple encrypted disk images which are already part of a backup plan then it’s probably not worth the expense. If I start using more encrypted disk images I’ll revisit Knox.

Links:
Knox website: http://www.knoxformac.com/ (You can download a 30 day evaluation from their website)
Macworld – Mac Gems article on Knox: http://www.macworld.com/weblogs/macgems/2006/10/knox/