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After a rather long development cycle, Private Disk 2.12 is officially released. What has changed?
Major changes under the hood
On lack of admin rights - one of Private Disk's strengths is the ability to start directly from USB flash disks, requiring no installation on the computer. This is a widely used feature, but its use is impeded by the fact that mounting an encrypted disk requires administrative rights. This is a show-stopper, you realize this as soon as you attempt to access your encrypted files in an Internet-cafe, or on a computer at work (university, or any other non-home environment), where administrative privileges are revoked.
Private Disk introduces "Explorer mode", which provides read\write access to the encrypted disk's contents. This mode is invoked automatically, if the required privileges are not available. If you wish to start Private Disk in Explorer mode even if you have admin rights, use the /explorer command line argument.
This is a unique feature for disk encryption software of such kind. To take things one step ahead - we made sure that this works for all the file systems used on Windows - FAT, FAT32, NTFS. Thus you can be absolutely sure that your files will be accessible in any circumstances, regardless of how the planets are aligned in the sky.
Handheld computers and phones - another significant improvement is Private Disk's ability to access encrypted data on Windows Mobile and Windows CE handhelds. This is achieved by adding compatibility with SecuBox from Aikosolutions. In plain English, it means that:
Another interesting bit worth mentioning in this context is that if you already own a license of SecuBox, you can get Private Disk with a discount; and if you already have Private Disk, you can buy SecuBox with a discount.
Here's how SecuBox looks like on a handheld, notice how the interface closely resembles that of Private Disk.
Looks familiar, doesn't it?
Private Disk suffered just a few cosmetic changes, most of the hard work was invested into things that are under the hood. Here are the simple bits:
Installation - you will notice a prettier and a friendlier installer, it sets up Private Disk in 3 clicks (in the past it took about 7). A few clicks are not essential, but they do make a difference.
Playing nice with Windows Vista/Seven - as of Vista, Microsoft made some changes in the way the system behaves. The new version of Private Disk takes that into account and plays nicely with UAC, requesting admin rights when necessary.
Tricks on 64-bit platforms - Private Disk has been updated to behave well on 64-bit computers, which ensures a consistent functionality on any Windows computer; regardless of the hardware you have - Private Disk works in the same way, you don't have to change anything or learn anything new; Private Disk takes care of the details.
Per-user settings - Private Disk keeps user-specific settings, rather than system-wide settings. In the previous releases, the changes made by one user would affect others in the system; that is not the case anymore. Each account on the system can have their own preferences (ex: hotkeys, program icons, etc).
Splash screen can be disabled - I have mixed feelings about this one. On one hand I like the fact that people can see the Dekart logo and Private Disk's icon; on the other one - I always turn splash screens off when possible. You can do that too, the command line argument is /nosplash.
There are some other changes that I will mention here, but I'll ask you not to tell anyone about it ;-)
What has NOT changed?
A few things haven't changed, they are:
What happened to v2.11?
Private Disk jumped directly from 2.10 to 2.12 - that's what you see if you observe what happens on the site. However, a 2.11 release does exist, it was made available for the Japanese market only.
P.S. Private Disk turns 10 soon.
P.P.S. Thanks for reading it all the way down to this point. Patience pays off, here is a link to purchase disk encryption software with a discount. :-)
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