There are many functionalities of USB and Firewire external drives that make things easier — saving directly onto them, backing up to them as a drive, and easiness to mount and see in Finder. These features have finally been brought to servers and online drives with ExpanDrive.
ExpanDrive, by Magnetk adds the functionalities listed above to network drives and servers. It treats all drives equally. Now, there are already a lot of file transfer apps and apps that connect to servers, but ExpanDrive is much different from all of these. Instead of having an external application to connect to a server, ExpanDrive uses Finder directly. It mounts a new drive in the Finder that is treated as a regular external drive rather than a server.
ExpanDrive makes it extremely easy to add a new drive — you simply click the New Drive button. The window that opens gives you the normal options for adding a server. If you choose to do so, you can even save the password for that server by clicking the “Save” checkbox. This is a great feature because you don’t have to enter the password in every time you connect to that server. It is as easy as that to add a new drive into ExpanDrive.
Once you have created a drive, you (in the ExpanDrive main window) either double click on the drive, hit command-k, or click Connect from the pull-down menu with the gear. What ExpanDrive will now do is mount a drive in the Finder which it sees as a normal USB or Firewire drive. However, you can not use rsync to backup to it, save to it, or treat it equally to all other drives.
In ExpanDrive’s menubar you can show the Drive Manager in case you close it on accident. This is also where you see recent drives, so you can connect with just a click. You can also view the preferences from here. They are very simple: Start at Login starts ExpanDrive at login so you don’t have to start it later. Show Drive Manager, when launched, just shows the drive manager window when you open the application. Warning When Quitting warns that you have drives mounted (with ExpanDrive) in the Finder. It warns you, because as soon as you quit, these drives will be unmounted. It would be very nice if, in the Finder, there was a universal keyboard shortcut that connected to the most recently used drive.
ExpanDrive, by Magnetk retails for $29, but you can pick it up through Facebook for $9. All you have to do is join the Facebook ExpanDrive group, and you will be able to get it for only $9! $29 may seem a bit on the expensive side for what ExpanDrive does, but ExpanDrive is the only app (that I have ever heard of) that will treat all drives equally in Finder. And remember, if you have a Facebook, you can pick it up for $9.