Knox FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Andrew_AGAndrew_AG

Team Member
edited April 2018 in Knox

Important Update

Knox is not currently available for sale. Our focus is on 1Password right now, and will be for the next while, so further Knox development is not really happening at this time. This might change in the future, but it seemed unfair to continue selling it if it is not under development at the moment. We're very sorry for any inconvenience this causes.

What is Knox? Why do I need it?

Knox is an app that lets you easily create, access, and backup encrypted sparse bundles, which we call vaults. The vaults are great for storing large numbers of files of any size: confidential documents, source code, application data files, etc.

Knox vaults are compatible with sparse bundles created by the OS X Disk Utility application on your Mac.

Knox was originally developed by Marko Karppinen & Co. LLC and was acquired by AgileBits in 2010.

How is storing files in Knox vaults different from attachments in 1Password?

Both 1Password and Knox encrypt stored information.

Knox vaults appear as a disk on your Mac, and any application can directly access the files in the vault while the vault is open. In 1Password, you first need to save the attachment before another application can open it.

Also, unlike 1Password, there is no limit on number of files or the size of the file.

How do I get started with Knox?

Please see https://help.agilebits.com/Knox/getting_started.html for a quick guide to getting started with using Knox. (Please note that this is an old guide that hasn't been updated for the latest version of Knox yet, and is currently offline, so there will be differences in the way Knox looks now, but it runs pretty much the same.)

Can I sync Knox vaults using Dropbox?

Unlike 1Password data files, Knox vaults cannot be opened on multiple computers at the same time. You have to make sure that only one Mac is using the Knox vault at a time, otherwise you risk corrupting the vault and losing files.

At this moment, there is no safeguard mechanism to prevent you from opening the same vault from multiple computers and we DO NOT RECOMMEND sharing Knox vaults using Dropbox or any other cloud-based solutions. You can still use Dropbox for backups, however.

Is Knox integrated with 1Password?

At this time there is no integration between 1Password and Knox. We are looking into various integration options, however, and are interested in your feedback.

How do I back up my system with Knox?

The backup functionality in Knox is intended for backing up Knox vaults. It is not really suitable for backing up your whole system, including your applications and OS X itself. Here at AgileBits, many of us store our documents in separate, per-project Knox vaults. We then schedule backups in Knox for these vaults.

Does Knox compress data?

No. In Knox vaults, your data takes up as much space as it would elsewhere.

How do I delete a Knox vault?

Go to Knox > Preferences > Vaults from the Menubar in Knox, choose the vault(s) you want to delete, then click Move Selected to Trash.

By default, the vaults are stored in the ~/Documents/Knox/ folder (the ~ at the beginning refers to your Home folder), and can be deleted manually in the Finder as well.

Do Knox vaults work on Windows, iOS, or Android?

No. Knox is Mac-only because it uses Mac OS X’s encrypted disk images to encrypt data. This technology is not available on Windows, iOS, or Android.

What versions of OS X is Knox compatible with?

The current version of Knox requires your Mac to be running OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher, but previous versions of Knox can be installed from https://app-updates.agilebits.com/product_history/KNOX if you're on an earlier version of OS X.

Can I back up Knox vaults to Time Machine?

Time Machine is not a good match for Knox vaults, and we actually recommend disabling their backup in Time Machine preferences and using Knox’s own backup feature to schedule their backups. You can (and probably should) back up the backups that Knox creates to Time Machine, however. Put the backups in a separate folder from the actual Knox vaults on your Mac so you can exclude just the vaults themselves from Time Machine while still backing up the vault backups.

Why would I use Knox rather than Disk Utility?

It’s all in the user interface. We think creating and managing disk images manually is a chore, and Knox was created to help. We also automated backup functionality. Try Knox for 30 days to see if you think it’s worth the price. If you don’t, the vaults you created will continue to work just fine with Disk Utility.

How about FileVault?

FileVault has definite advantages, and can be used in conjunction with Knox. On the plus side, FileVault is very easy to set up, and encrypts your entire hard drive (or just your Home folder if you’re on a version of OS X earlier than 10.7). The downside is that all of your files are easily accessible to anyone who has access to your account on your Mac. With Knox, you can easily create a bunch of vaults, one for each of your projects or clients. You can open and close Knox vaults on demand, so that only the one you’re working with is open at any given time.

Could you add a feature for closing Knox vaults automatically after some time?

We get requests for this every once in a while, but we recommend just using a password-protected screensaver instead. With automatic unmount, we’d either have to err on the side of data safety (do not unmount if there are open files), or on the side of security (force unmount even if there are open files). We really don’t want to make that call on behalf of our users—with thousands of you out there, we’d surely make the wrong choice from someone’s point of view.

How is the Knox whole-disk vault feature implemented?

Knox whole-disk vaults, like other Knox vaults, are encrypted disk images. But when reformatting a drive as a whole-disk vault, Knox hides the underlying host volume so that you only ever see the encrypted vault. This gives you the user experience of an encrypted drive with the superior compatibility of an encrypted disk image.

Should I choose a stretchable or a fixed-size whole disk vault?

In almost all cases, you should choose the default stretchable type. It’s fast to create and easy to backup, as the encrypted disk image only takes as much space as the content you are encrypting. There are a couple of specific instances where you might want to use the fixed-size option. It creates an image that fills the whole disk with encrypted data (initially, encrypted zeroes). This can take a while if you have a large disk, but has some potential benefits as well. First of all, a fixed size vault does not reveal the amount of data you have stored on it to those without a password. Second, write speeds to the vault can be more consistent since the system does not need to stretch the vault as you write more data onto it. Finally, since the underlying non-encrypted volume has almost no free space, you can be more confident that someone will not accidentally store files on it.

How do I uninstall Knox?

Just drag and drop the Knox application into Trash. There are no other components that need to be deleted. By default, the vaults are stored in the ~/Documents/Knox/ folder (the ~ at the beginning refers to your Home folder) — you can delete that folder too, if the vaults don’t contain any information you want to keep, or leave it if you prefer since they will continue to work without Knox installed.

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