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ConnectMeNow v3 – Mount Network Shares Quick and Easy on a Mac

ConnectMeNow v3 – Mount Network Shares Quick and Easy on a Mac
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macOS is great – I really like it a lot – but one thing it doesn’t handle all that great is … network shares.

In this day and age a little weird to still see this, especially from a company like Apple. We are more network connected than ever before – at home, in school and at work. We have network shares on our computers, want to access company network shares, or have a dedicated file server or NAS (Network Attached Storage) to store our information or make our backups.

Unfortunately, it is still cumbersome under macOS X to connect to those “shares” (also known as mounted network “Volumes“).

In Finder, a server doesn’t always appear right away, we need to go through a list of shares on a given “server”, get confused if we need SMBCIFSFTPSSHWebDAVNFS or AFP, and I’m not even mentioning the need to enter a username and password on protected shares.

For this reason I created ConnectMeNow – initially just for personal use.
But the arrival of the 64 bit requirement, mandatory signed applications, and notarization requirements, and Catalina issues, my original old version was simply outdated.

So after months of work, I’d like to present ConnectMeNow v3, which hopefully makes working with shares easier for you as well.




Content Overview

Mounting Network Shares with ConnectMeNow

So, let’s start by explaining what “mounting network shares” means.

The simplest explanation would be:

Mounting Network Shares
Attaching a directory located on a different computer, shared over a network, to your computer as if it was a local disk drive.

Note: this is most certainly not the most complete, technical or most correct description, but for most regular users this will suffice.

The “different computer” can be another computer, a NAS (Network Attached Storage – like from QNAP, Synology, Western Digital, Seagate, etc.), or even a full size server. The Operating System of these “computers” does not need to be relevant. For example a QNAP NAS runs a Linux variant, however can share directories in a Windows originated format (SMB), and be accessed by a macOS computer.

Out of the box, under macOS, you’ll need to go through some hoops to “open” such a Network Share.
Either the “server” is listed in Finder on the left, and you’ll have to click it to be confronted with selecting a share-name and entering username and password, OR you have to use “Go” menu in Finder and select “Connect to server” option – which comes with even more questions.

Both options are rather cumbersome, if not slow, if you ask me (Apple: please pay attention here – this is a rather poor user experience!).

So this is where ConnectMeNow is supposed to come in. I just got tired of doing all this manual labor.

On that note: The Finder is even with ConnectmeNow not the best way to get to your mounted network shares.
When using ConnectMeNow, the easiest way is by going to the “/Volumes/” directory on your Mac where you’ll find all mounted network shares that are active.
More about that later, since ConnectMeNow also allows you to create your own directory where a mount should be placed and ConnectMeNow has the option in the menu to reveal the mount in Finder with a single click.

ConnectMeNow – What happened to version 2?

Just a quick note on the versions of ConnectMeNow, because I already hear folks asking: what happened with version 2?

After having released the original version (1.x), I started tinkering with a new version. The missing version 2.
However, the arrival of Catalina forced me to bring out a beta of version 2, as the original ConnectMeNow is only 32 bits.
This unfortunately was not my only application that was affected by the shift to 64 bit – so I started running out of time – big time.

My quick and sloppy fix: compile the beta as a 64 bit application – which worked, but it was unfinished and Dark Theme support was kind-a crappy.

Having learned more about the inner workings of macOS, I decided to start again from scratch.
I’ve called that new version, version 3 to avoid confusion with the outdated version 2.

Quick overview of Features

I think ConnectMeNow has quite a lot to offer,… to name a few:

  • Protocols support for SMB, AFP, NFS, SSH, SSHFS, WebDAV and FTP.
  • Dark Theme support
  • AutoMount at startup, after a network change, and after waking up from sleep or standby
  • Support for Fallback servers, for when a server is not available
  • SSHFS (OSXFUSE) support with password entry or SSH keys
  • SSH support with automatic password entry or SSH Keys
  • Assistance to generate and install SSH keys on your server
  • Mount, unmount, and Reveal in Finder from the menu
  • Open or Close SSH connections from the menu
  • Indication in the menu if a connection is active or not
  • Grouping options in the menu
  • Official Mount (Apple API) or Fast Mount support
  • Mount in /Volumes/ or in your own prefered mount directory
  • Mount/Unmount notifications
  • Detection of Mount, Unmount, Standby/Sleep/Wake up, and network changes
  • Sharing of configurations amongst multiple Mac’s
  • Optional Ping and/or Wake On LAN before mounting
  • Run script after mount completion
  • Configuration backup and restore options

 

Heads-up!

FTP – Read only! 

Unfortunately, Apple’s implementation of the FTP protocol only allows us to mount an FTP connection as “read-only“.

SSHFS requires OSXFUSE (free!) 

If you’d like to use SSHFS, and I can actually recommend giving it a try, then you must install OSXFUSE and their SSHFS extension.

Note: to my surprise, SSHFS is often faster than SMB. Added bonus: OSXFUSE allows you to add other filesystems to your Mac as well (ext3, NTFS, etc).

Your Mac keeps waking up … 

Even though not related to ConnectMeNow; Something I have noticed on my Mac Pro – after midnight it kept waking up frequently, no matter what settings I used (incl. Disabling Power Nap, waking up from network traffic etc). I found that WiFi seems to be triggering this – I disabled WiFi and since then my Mac kept sleeping all night long … (Catalina 10.15.1 and 10.15.2)

 

Getting started with Mounting Network Shares and ConnectMeNow

Ok, so much for a quick intro, let’s get started with ConnectMeNow.


p.s. if you like ConnectMeNow, then a friendly request to please like it at Alternativeto.Net as well.

Download ConnectMeNow

ConnectMeNow is now 64 bit, signed, notarized and Catalina compatible. You can downloaded here:

DOWNLOAD - ConnectMeNow-v3.0.1-macOS.dmg 

Filename:  ConnectMeNow-v3.0.1-macOS.dmg
Platform:  Apple macOS
Version:  3.0.1
Size:  3 MB
Date:  2019-12-10

Direct reference link:  https://www.tweaking4all.com/downloads/ConnectMeNow-v3.dmg
 Download Now 

Installing ConnectMeNow

Installation is easy: open the DMG file you have just downloaded and drag the ConnectMeNow icon to the Applications directory.

Install ConnectMeNow

Install ConnectMeNow

Uninstalling ConnectMeNow

Removing ConnectMeNow is pretty easy as well: simply drag the ConnectMeNow icon from the Applications directory to the Trashcan.

You may also want to remove the configuration files, even though they are small, by simple dragging this directory to the trash, where “<username>” is your username. Note: In case you used a custom location for your configuration file, then you’ll have to remove those as well.

These are the only files related to ConnectMeNow.


/Users/<username>/Library/Preferences/ConnectMeNow

 

Supported Protocols

The protocols, you may or may not have heard of, supported by ConnectMeNow are:

SMB, one of the most commonly used protocols for so called “Windows shares” or “Samba Shares’.
Note: back in the day there was CIFS. macOS still supports (kinda) CIFS, by implementing this in SMB. This can come with some issues, but it usually points to your server or NAS being very old and in desperate need for an update so it starts working with more recent SMB versions.

NFS or Network File System started in the mid 80s as a protocol to share disk space amongst different computers. It is still supported by quite a few platforms, but it is not used as much as SMB. You will find NFS on most Linux/Unix based machines, where it has its origins as well (Sun).

AFP or Apple Filing Protocol is Apple’s protocol for working with network shares. Obviously this protocol is typically only used on Mac based computers, and if the stories are true – which I think they are, even Apple is dropping it in favor of SMB.

FTP or File Transfer Protocol, has been around for quite some time and is often used to share files with a web server. For the longest time, FTP was the only way to download files from the Internet. It still is one of the most used protocols for those accessing web servers, but then I’m more talking about developers or admins who know what they are doing (most of the time anyway hahah).

  Warning concerning FTP: a network share can only be mounted as read only! This is a limitation of the FTP implementation under macOS.

WebDAV or Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning, is not used very much either. I’m not 100% sure if this is really the fact, but to me it feels like an alternative to FTP, allowing the user “easier” and more reliable access to their web servers (WebDAV is afterall a HTTP extension – read: web server)

SSHFS or SSH File System, is maybe a little bit of an odd duck here. It runs file sharing over the SSH protocol. This comes with interesting possibilities, especially when a server or NAS is already running SSH (Secure Shell, kinda like a remote DOS prompt), since there is no need to install another network sharing protocol. The latter being great when you have no say in what is being installed on said server.

Now that I mentioned SSH: I do have to get into my NAS every now and then with SSH, so I have added SSH support as well.

  SSH is not a network file share protocol like the other protocols mentioned here. It is most commonly used for a remote terminal/shell/DOS prompt.

Protocol Parameters

For sharing a directory using a network share, most protocols rely on these parameters:

Server address, directory or share-name on the “server”, username and password.

Some protocols allow for some extra wiggle room, where the user can define a specific network port.

In a more professional environment, SMB shares can also require you to provide a so called “domain” name.
The use of domain is something you’ll see in companies, rarely at home.

 

ConnectMeNow in More Detail

I’ve included quite a few features and options in ConnectMenNow, so I’ll try to list them.

After starting ConnectMeNow, you’ll see a new icon in the menu bar of your Mac.
As you can see, ConnectMeNow does support Dark Theme:

ConnectMeNow in your MenuBar

ConnectMeNow in your MenuBar

At first start, the menu will be quite empty – after all, you’d still have to add your shares.

ConnectMeNow - Empty Menu at First Start

ConnectMeNow – Empty Menu at First Start

But once you’ve created shares, some additional features will be revealed.

The menu will show icons based on the selected protocol and they will indicate if a share or connection is active.

Additionally we can make groups in the menu, either by just using a horizontal line, or by adding a group name.
Here for example the group “QNAP SSH” – the horizontal line will always be there, except for the first item in the menu.
When setting a group name, it will show greyed out under the horizontal line – but using a group name is optional.

When clicking an inactive item (for example “Bender AllShares (SMB)”), ConnectMeNow will try to mount or activate the connection.
However when the connection is already active (eg. “Marvin AllShares (SMB)”) then a sub-menu will appear.

For mounted network shares this will show the option to reveal the mounted share in Finder (“Reveal in Finder“) or to “Unmount Share“.
With active SSH connections, you will see the option to “Close SSH Session“.

ConnectMeNow - Menu Features

ConnectMeNow – Menu Features

Adding Shares to ConnectMeNow

Adding shares is done by selecting the “Preferences” option in the ConnectMeNow menu.
This will open the preferences window where you can define shares, do some generic settings, and review Network info.

Adding a new network share or SSH connection is done by clicking the “Create new share or SSH connection” button ( Add a new Share or SSH Connection ).

Basic Settings

By default you will be presented with the basic settings. Not many users will need the advanced settings.

Example Basic Settings

ConnectMeNow – Example Basic Settings

Buttons and their purpose

On the left side, you’ll see a list of defined shares. At first this list will be empty of course.
Below that list you will see a few buttons and this is what they can be used for:

ConnectMeNow Buttons
 Button  Purpose
Add a new Share or SSH Connection Add a new network share or
SSH Connection
Add Menu Separator Add a new Horizontal Line
or a Menu Group
Copy a share Copy the selected connection which
can then be used as a base for a new share
Mount a share for testing Open/Mount the selected connection
which can be used to test a settings
Unmount a Share Eject/unmount or close the selected
network share or SSH connection
Move this share one position up Move selected share one position
up in the list/menu
Move share one position down Move selected share one position
down in the list/menu
Sort shares by name Sort all shares alphabetically
This will ruin menu groeps!
Delete selected share Remove the selected share
Delete ALL shares Clear the entire list
This will remove ALL shares!

 

After clicking the “Add new share” button, a new form will appear and in this form you can start by entering what the name should be in the menu, by entering this in the “Menu Label” field.

You’ll see a few options below that line allowing ConnectMeNow to automatically name your share based on selections you’ll make, like name of the server, connection type (mount type), remote path and if it utilizes Wake On Lan or not.

Mount Type

The next step is making a selection of what type of connection we’d like – set “Mount Type” to the preferred protocol.
When doing so, you may see some fields change or even disappear. This is related to the capabilities of the selected mount type.

In the next steps, the selected protocol may or may not support an option and therefore it will or will not be shown.

For example:

SSH and SSHFS do not support the selection of the path on the server – so that field will not be shown.
SSH additionally will not create a mount, rather it will open a shell window – so there is no option to reveal it in the Finder or define its mount path.

Use HTTPS

The WebDAV protocol supports HTTP and HTTPS – it is recommended to use HTTPS by leaving “Use HTTPS” checked.

Mount At Start

Each connection can be setup when ConnectMeNow starts by selecting “Mount At Start“, usually when you start your Mac or login to your Mac.

Reveal on Mount

Optionally, you can have Finder automatically reveal the mount after a successful mount, by checking “Reveal on Mount“.

  SSH will not mount to a directory, so Reveal on Mount will not be available with this protocol.

Server Address

For every server “kind” we will need to enter the “Server URL” – I mean, where else would we go right?
This can be an IP address or a computer name.

  This should be only the IP address or computername – do not add the path on the server!

  Note: Using computer names only works well, when your DNS knows the IP address that goes with this computer name. Not all setups work equally well with this when your Mac cannot retrieve the IP address based on the computer name.

Port

Some protocols allow you to use a specific TCP/IP port number, for example: SSH, SSHFS, WebDAV and FTP.

  Unless you know what you’re doing: leave the port number blank or to its default value.

Ping Test

This button allows you to do a quick ping to the server to see if it responds, which can be convenient to verify the Server Address.

  Not all network devices allow you to ping them. Some have ping disabled intentionally.

Path on Server

Not all protocols support this (for example SSH and SSHFS), but this is typically the share name on the server (SMB) or the actual path on the server (FPT).

  When left blank certain protocols, for example SMB and AFP, may result in a popup window asking for what share you’d like to access when mounting a network share – or the mount may fall all together.

Domain

The “Domain” name is only needed in a corporate setting where a domain is being used.
This is rarely used at home, and when used in a corporate setting you may want to consult with your IT administrator.

Mount Location

The mount location is used for all protocols except for SSH (since SSH doesn’t really “mount”).

In the mount process, a network share will be “linked” to a specific directory, for this specific mount (so each “mount” has its own directory) – your Mac creates this directory for you and it is by default located in the  /Volumes/ directory.

Now in ConnectMeNow, we can actually replace  /Volumes/ with something else, and ConnectMeNow will create a unique directory name for your mount, in that custom directory for you if needed.

We have 2 options here:

  • Use the default mount location, which mounts your share in  /Volumes/
    This is the default macOS mount location.
  • Use a custom path, which allows you to mount your shares in a different location.
    The default path I use is the directory “MountPoints” in your home directory ( ~/MountPoints/).

 

  The main reason to use a custom path is SPEED. Mounting to a custom path seems to go a lot faster.

  You can set a different custom path per share, however I would not recommend that – stick to one “Volumes replacement” directory to avoid confusion.

  Since SSHFS uses OSXFUSE, mounting in the default location is not supported since Apple has locked down this directory. Third party applications have no direct access to  /Volumes/.

Login

Naturally we like to keep things secure so login credentials can be used as well (username and password),
If not entered, when mounting a share, you will be asked for username and password.

The password can be revealed, however you will be asked for permission to reveal this information. This can only be done by an admin (which usually is you).

  For SSH and SSHFS: Generate & Install SSH Key – ConnectMeNow supports using a password for SSH and SSHFS. However, using SSH keys instead of a password is safer. Please read the section at the end of this article, on the use of SSH keys for more information.

Fallback Server

The Fallback server allows you to select another server for when the mount to this server fails.
Which can be practical for the use of backup servers, or for example use share1 for when you’re at home, and share2 for when you’re at work (laptop).

If the fallback server fails as well, then ConnectMeNow will try to mount the fallback server of the fallback server, etc.

  A fallback server must to be defined as a regular share before it appears in the list.

  This fallback server must be using the same protocol.

  To avoid endless looping, only 4 fallback servers can be set in sequence.

Warning Messages

In some scenarios a helpful tip or warning will be displayed at the bottom of this form – please do take the time to read these messages!

Advanced Settings

To accommodate some special wishes, you can also do some advanced settings by clicking the “Go to Advanced Share Settings” button.

Returning to the basic settings is done by clicking the “Back to Basic Share Settings” button when the advanced settings are being displayed.

ConnectMeNow - Example Advanced Settings

ConnectMeNow – Example Advanced Settings

Ping before mount and/or Wake on LAN

When checked this option will first send a quick ping for a share is being mounted.
This can be useful when a server, or other network device, switches to a low power mode (for example spinning down the hard disks).
The ping can then possibly trigger the server to spin up its disks, allowing for a speedier mount process.

  When Wake On LAN is enabled, this ping will be done before the Wake On LAN – just in case the server is already awake.

Wake On LAN before mount attempt

It is not uncommon, to save money on power, or because you are environment conscious, to have your network devices to go to sleep when not used for a while.
This option allows you to send a wake-up call to the server, so we can actually reach it and mount our share or open up our SSH connection.

You’ll find a few functions here that may make things a little easier.
For example a button to paste the MAC address or IP mask (“Paste“),
a button to have your Mac try to find the MAC address (“Detect“) which will be based on the “Server Address” field in the basic settings,
and a button to “Test Wake On LAN“.

  See also: miniWOL v2 – Quick and Easy Wake On LAN Utility where you can also find more information on how Wake On LAN works.

Run script on mount

This was a special request; some users like to run a shell script after mounting a network share.
Since I have no use for it myself, testing has been minimal so your mileage may vary.

Attempt Auto Mount on Network Change

ConnectMeNow keeps an eye on your network connections. When checking this option, ConnectMeNow will try to mount this network share if the server is available.

Adding Groups to the Menu

Adding a group works in a similar way. Click the “Add Menu Separator” button ( Add Menu Separator ).
This will create a new horizontal bar for the menu.
Optionally you can give this “group” a title by entering text in the “Menu Label” field.

Notes :

  • If the horizontal line is the first item in the menu, then this line will not be shown (a limitation of the menu),
  • In case you used a group title (Menu Label) and want to remove it; simply blank the “Menu Label” field,
  • The Menu Label, or Group Title, will show as greyed/disabled in the menu to distinguish them from actual network shares.

 

Preferences & SSH Keys

The tab “Preferences & SSH Keys” gives you access to some more generic preferences.

ConnectMeNow - Preferences and SSH Keys

ConnectMeNow – Preferences and SSH Keys

Default Values for new Shares

In this section, you can predefine some values for when you create a new share.
This can save you some time when having to enter a lot of shares, or for example when you always like to use the same settings.

The displayed fields work the same as the same fields seen when you create a new share.

An additional option you will find here is the option to make a backup, or do a restore of your settings and your shares – which can be convenient for backup purposes or for when you’d like to copy the settings to another computer and you do not have the option to share these settings for example through DropBox (more about the below).

When restoring a backup: keep in mind that your current settings will be overwritten!

ConnectMeNow Settings

These settings are for ConnectMeNow in general.

With the option “Start ConnectMeNow on computer start“, your Mac will automatically start ConnectMeNow when you boot your Mac and/or login to your Mac.
This will add or remove ConnectMeNow from the “login items” in your Mac’s System Preferences.

Next to this option you will see the option “Remount shares after waking up from sleep“.
The purpose of this function is to check if all mounted shares are still available after your Mac wakes up from standby or sleep mode.
ConnectMeNow gets notified by macOS when your Mac goes to sleep, and at that point quickly checks which connections are active.
macOS will also notify ConnectMeNow when your make wakes up again.
At that point, ConnectMeNow will compare existing connection with the connections that existed before your Mac went to sleep.
If there are connections missing, ConnectMeNow will try to remount those connections automatically.

  Remount after waking up does not waste any extra resources – macOS will just notify ConnectMeNow automatically.

ConnectMeNow can show mount/unmount event notifications, but not all of us are fond of these kind of notifications.
Unchecking the “Show Notifications” mutes all ConnectMeNow notifications.

Having mentioned notifications; ConnectMeNow has been setup so that macOS will actually tell ConnectMeNow when a network share is being mounted or unmounted – this way the icon in the menu can show you if a connection is active or not.

However, an SSH connection is not really a mount action and therefor macOS will not report a new SSH connection or the disappearance of such an SSH connection.

The work around in ConnectMeNow is using a timer, that during idle time will check and see of an SSH connection is active or not.
This is activated through the “SSH Status check“, and every x number of seconds, if idle, ConnectMeNow will check the SSH status.

If you have “SSH Status check” disabled; the menu of ConnectMeNow will not show you if an SSH connection is active or not. So if you don’t care for this indication for SSH, or if you do not even use SSH: feel free to disable this option.

Now the next item is the “Custom Preference Location” – one of my favorites.
The idea behind this was to share my ConnectmeNow preferences amongst all my Mac’s and with the old ConnectMeNow I have seen some users even do this company wide.

Naturally, sharing my settings through a network share would work, but it kinda defeats the purpose since we’d need to mount the network share first before ConnectMeNow can actually access these settings.

So for this purpose I use DropBox – since DropBox is synced amongst my Macs automatically (same for Google Drive, OneDrive etc.).
In my case I’ve created a separate directory in DropBox that holds my settings and each Mac uses ConnectMeNow, pointing to this DropBox directory.
Each time I change my settings, the other Macs will be in sync as well.

In case you’re selecting a location that already holds ConnectMeNow settings, then ConnectMeNow will give you a choice: use the existing settings or replace them with the settings it just found.

Note: ConnectMeNow v3 is NOT compatible with settings from older ConnectMeNow versions (v1 or v2)!

By default the Preference window will open in the center of the screen, and not all of use “love” that.
So I’ve added the option to “Remember window position” so the next time the Preference window opens, if this option has been enabled, it will open in the same place again.

SSH RSA Key

See the section below on SSH keys for more detail.

In short: here is a tool that can generate an SSH key for you, or verify that it exists.

The default location will be used for this (  ~/.ssh/  ) and it will generate the files “id_rsa” and “id_rsa.pub” for you.

Network Info

This tab is more of an information tab than anything else. I’ll admit … I loved playing around with this, but I’m not sure anyone really needs it, but it has been quite helpful for me while testing and I enjoyed tinkering with it.

You will find 3 sections here:

ConnectMeNow - Network Information

ConnectMeNow – Network Information

Network Info

This section shows you the existing network connections your Mac is aware off.
You can see per connection if they are active, what their IP address is and what their device name is (en0, en1, etc).

WiFi Info

In this section you can see the WiFi access points that your Mac is seeing … or totally nothing if you do not have WiFi or WiFi has been disabled.

Per WiFi access point you can see the channel, signal strength, if it is password protected, what the access point name is and (bold) if your Mac is using an access point.

Current ARP Entries

This is a list of entries ARP on your Mac, is aware of.
This list keeps changing over time, and pressing “update” every now and then will show you more and more devices your Mac seems to see in the network.

SSH Logins – Use a Password or a SSH Key …?

Standard SSH can be used with either a username and password, or by using a username and a so called “SSH Key”.
The latter being more secure and often much faster than just using a regular password.

ConnectMeNow supports both methods, and deep down this is also used for SSHFS, since SSHFS uses SSH as well.

Now, using those “SSH Keys” is all nice and dandy, but it can be a little cumbersome if you have never used it, or only have used it maybe once or twice in the past.

  More detail on how these “keys” work can be found in the article: SSH Login without a Password

ConnectMeNow does provide a few tools that can make life easier;

 

  You have to create these keys (a private and a public key) only ONCE!

  If you generated new keys, for some reason, you will need to copy the new keys to server again!

  The “Generate & Install SSH Key” or just “(Re)Install SSH Key” will only appear if username and password are entered!

  ConnectMeNow will only use SSH Keys when the password is blank!

 

Generate Private and Public keys, and Push the Public Key to the server

For the server to work with these kind of keys, we will need to give the server our so called “public key”, which can be done with the button “Generate & Install SSH Key” or “(Re)Install SSH Key” (if you already have a key generated before) in the form where we define our shares.

  1. Your login credentials are required to push the public key to the server – so enter your password and username.
  2. Click the button “Generate & Install SSH Key” and ConnectMeNow will generate keys if needed, and it will try to push the public key to the SSH enabled device.
  3. Once successfully pushed to the SSH device: clear the password field – this way ConnectMeNow knows that it should use the keys instead of the password.
  4. Leave the username as is – it is still used to setup a connection.

Login with SSH keys

Once you’ve pushed the key to the server and you cleared the password field of the share, ConnectMeNow can start using the keys to login to your SSH enabled device. But it will only use the key if you actually cleared the password field.

All the steps combined in a short video

Here a short video how this works.
In this video we had not yet generated any SSH keys. We just started out with creating a new SSH connection.

The steps I followed in the video:

  1. Create a new share (click the Add a new Share or SSH Connection button)
  2. Enter a name for the share in the “Menu Label” field
  3. Set “Mount Type” to “SSH
  4. Enter the server address
  5. Check “Login with credentials
  6. Enter username
  7. Enter password (this is where the button becomes available)
  8. Click “Generate & Install SSH key
    (since you have a key after this, the button will read “(Re)Install Key” for the next connection you’d want to use this for)
  9. Click “Yes” when ConnectMeNow asks me to blank the password (button disappears now!)
  10. Click the “Mount a share” button to test the connection (click the Mount a share for testing button)
  11. Terminal pops up and logs into your SSH enabled device.

 

  Keys can optionally also be generate on the tab “Preferences & SSH Keys“, you’ll see a button “Generate SSH key” in case you do not have an SSH key stored in the default SSH directory on your Mac (  ~/.ssh/  ). This default directory is where SSH will try to find the key when you start a connection with a server.

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Comments


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  • Nov 25, 2019 - 8:16 AM Comment Link
    PingBack: www.tweaking4all.com

    […] requirements around it, I’ve created a completely new version of ConnectMeNow. Please visit this article where you can download the latest […]

  • Nov 25, 2019 - 8:32 AM - Simon Smith Comment Link

    Amazing software update, works perfectly!
    only issue i have is, i still cant connect to my stupid windows 7 guest share server
    is the anyway to enable the debug window like in version 2 to watch what the software does?

    Reply

    Simon Smith

    • Nov 25, 2019 - 9:11 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Simon!

      Thanks for the compliment! 
      Not required at all, but please do feel free to like it on AlternativeTo.net as well 
      OK after that shameless plug for my own tools …

      Debug Window

      You can enable the debug window by pressing the keys: CONTROL+OPTION+COMMAND (Windows keyboard: CTRL+ALT+WINDOWS).
      It will reveal the “Show Debug Log” button. While having the buttons pressed, click the button to open the log.
      I’ve hidden it intentionally, to avoid too many questions on my own debug log  .

      Windows Guest Shares

      Unfortunately, it will most likely not tell you what went wrong though.

      Ever since you first questioned this, I’ve been tinkering with Windows 10 and the guest login (I no longer have Windows 7 available), trying to figure out what the issue is. So far (as we already discussed) it seems a Microsoft choice to not allow guest logins. All the work-arounds I have seen on the Internet, have been useless, and none of them “open” the guest login option .

      Even though really utterly ridiculous, since Windows already comes with everything SMB, but maybe Samba can be installed on Windows … I’ve been looking, but haven’t been able to find it (yet).  It has been done on older MacOS versions, where they replaced Apple’s SMB version with an official Samba distribution. It was called SMBUp – but it not longer works (32bit vs 64bit).

      The only alternative I can think of, is making a specific users on that Windows machine, including password and access rights. But I fully understand that this is NOT what you’re looking for.

      Reply

      hans

      • Nov 25, 2019 - 9:22 AM - Simon Smith Comment Link

        thank you, i will have a play and see what i can do…
        i am still able to connect via the ‘Connect To Server’ in finder without any issues using the url ‘smb://Guest:@10.0.0.15/Hestor_Office’
        but you must use Guest as user and include the colon with a blank password!
        im not sure if your application sends a blank password if the user is Guest or not?

        also is it possible to have the debug window pop up rather than slide down as it doesnt fit on my screen https://i.ibb.co/ZmG0wHD/Screenshot-2019-11-25-at-15-14-43.png

        Reply

        Simon Smith

      • Nov 25, 2019 - 9:52 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

        You could try leaving the password blank and use the custom mount path.
        This utilized the mount function (and the functions derived from it).
        It should do the same as what you’re describing. I hope anyway. It builds the same command though.
        It formats as such: 

        mount_smbfs //<domain>;<username>:<password>@<serveraddress>/<remotepath>

        I can’t test it here, but maybe you can try it on your end.
        So the command would become:

        mount_smbfs //Guest:@10.0.0.15/Hestor_Office

        Note that using the default mount may fail, since I just pass username and password to the macOS API, and I do not know if this API call will then use “Guest:” or just “Guest”.

        I’m curious about your findings, since Windows 10 is a beast when it comes to sharing directories. 

        The log window; I’ll consider adding a button that allows the box to disconnect and show as a separate window.
        It will take some work, but it is not impossible, so I’ve added it to the To-Do list – thanks for the suggestion 

        Reply

        hans

  • Nov 27, 2019 - 4:08 PM - Michael Comment Link

    How can I mount all shares from my NAS at once (SMB share)? I can only mount one share a time when I enter in the path e.g. /video

    Any help is appreciated

    Thank you!!!!!

    Reply

    Michael

    • Nov 28, 2019 - 4:21 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Michael,

      Very interesting question, I had not thought of that use-case! 
      What you could do, is mark all the SMB shares you’d like to mount at once as “Mount at start” (you’ll have to set this for each individual share).
      Selecting the menu option “Execute AutoMount” will then mount all the shares you have tagged.
      Keep in mind that this function was actually intended to have all tagged shares to be mounted when ConnectMeNow starts – so this may or may not be a desired side effect.

      Now,… if I’d implement a function to mount “groups”, I’d have to make some changes, but if there is a reasonable interest in such functionality, then I most certainly could consider it.
      For example by adding an option with each group (in the menu) saying something like “Mount Group”.
      I’ve added it to To-Do list as something to explore. If more users want this option, then I’ll try to figure something out 

      Reply

      hans

      • Nov 29, 2019 - 5:11 AM - Michael Comment Link

        Hans, thank you, much appreciated, it was never a problem with v1 until v2.1.4 Beta, groups were always working just be giving the IP, User and Password; Then a window opened to select the mounts; that was perfect for me, so I am sticking with 2.1.4 as for now :-)

        Thanks for your great work

        Reply

        Michael

        • Nov 30, 2019 - 5:01 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

          Hi Michael,

          Oh, did you mean the popup macOS presents where you select the mount?
          In v1 I have used AppleScript to do certain mounts. I kind-a would have expected to see the same type of message when mounting against /Volumes.
          But I suppose that isn’t happening.
          Didn’t you have to select an individual share there as well?

          Reply

          hans

          • Dec 1, 2019 - 1:50 PM - Michael Comment Link

            Hi Hans,

            I am always getting a warning Unknown mount or User when I use /Volumes as path; I can only get it to work, when I mount a specific share like /video

            Best,

            Michael

            Michael

          • Dec 2, 2019 - 4:48 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

            Hi Michael,

            OK, it was worth a try.
            To do a mount, the remote path needs to be defined, and it seems the Apple API wants that as well (just the the Unix “mount” and the command line “mount_smbfs”). Bummer.

            So what I could try to implement is a “group mount” function, but you’d still need to define the individual paths.
            At this moment I have no option to “explore” what mount directories a server would have. There may be a function for that, I’m just not aware of it.

            I’m not sure if this would be a workable solution?

            hans

          • Dec 2, 2019 - 12:54 PM - Michael Comment Link

            Hans, thank you again, I `ll stay with 2.1.4 for the moment, may be you will find a solution in the future

            Best,

            Michael

            Michael

  • Nov 29, 2019 - 2:58 PM - arlo Comment Link

    Great!

    So far so good except one little glitch.  I have two smb mounts that have spaces in their names.  when I try to mount them i get this pop up window from CMN that says “Access Violation”

    Reply

    arlo

    • Nov 30, 2019 - 5:03 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Arlo,

      thanks for the feedback. I’m surprised to hear there is a glitch with mounts that have spaces in it.
      Did you mean the remote directory path or the local mount path?

      Reply

      hans

    • Dec 2, 2019 - 4:54 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Something to try:

      Say your remote path is “some path with spaces”, try escaping the spaces like so: “some\ path\ with\ spaces”.
      Not sure if that will work, but worth a try.
      Does this happen when mounting to “/Volumes” (default) or when using a custom path?

      Reply

      hans

      • Dec 4, 2019 - 3:54 PM - Arlo Comment Link

        space in the remote directory path.

        tried escaping, it gets really weird then.  I’ll try to capture a shot of it tonight and post

        i’m mounting to ‘/volumes 

        Reply

        Arlo

        • Dec 5, 2019 - 5:35 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

          Feel free to email me at webmaster at tweaking4all dot com, since posting pics won’t work here in the comment section (intentionally, since in the past folks would post inappropriate pictures).
          I’d be happy to see if we can fix that issue! 

          Reply

          hans

          • Dec 9, 2019 - 3:07 PM - Daniel Comment Link

            I get the same problem, smb shares work great without spaces but the one I have with a space causes the access violation error. Im also using a domain if that helps.

            Daniel

          • Dec 10, 2019 - 4:36 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

            Thanks for confirming!
            I managed to reproduce the problem and I hope to resolve it today … 

            hans

          • Dec 10, 2019 - 4:54 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

            OK, weird as it is … I did find a way to fix this; replace spaces with %20 … (like in website URLs)
            I will implement this fix once I know for sure this is the best way to do it, but for now this trick works in the current ConnectMeNow.

            hans

  • Dec 3, 2019 - 4:10 PM - Christophe Comment Link

    Thanks for this new version!! I was actually holding off upgrading to Catalina because I rely on ConnectMeNow so much 

    I did run into an issue though – when I go into preferences, I can add my shares, however if I close preferences, and then go back into preferences, no matter what I click in the list on the left, the details section on the right stays empty – so I can’t edit any share once I have created it. Has anyone else reported this?

    Reply

    Christophe

    • Dec 3, 2019 - 4:15 PM - Christophe Comment Link

      I just found that when the Preferences window shows up, all I need to do is move the window a bit for the details the show when I click on a share!

      Reply

      Christophe

    • Dec 4, 2019 - 5:37 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Christophe!

      Glad you to hear you like ConnectmeNow 

      I presume the issue is resolved then?

      Reply

      hans

  • Dec 5, 2019 - 10:18 PM - Ray Knight Comment Link

    Tried ConnectMeNow 3.0.0 (Build 102) after upgrading to MacOS Catalina 10.15.1 and noticed that Apple once again broke how things so my Linux NFS shares would no longer mount.  Not having any success with ConnectMeNow either.  After configuring the mount I get:

    Mount failed

    Error: Mount Error

    Which doesn’t give me enough information to help discover what the problem might be.  If I use Default Mount location instead of custom path the error changes to:

    Mount failed

    Error: Error – Mount Failed (Error code: 1)

    Still not helpful.  Hoping you can tell me what I’m doing wrong!

    Ray

    Reply

    Ray Knight

    • Dec 6, 2019 - 4:33 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Ray,

      I’ve tested NFS with my QNAP NAS, since that was the only quick way I could test it.
      You could try using a custom mount point (so not using /Volumes) and see what happens?
      I presume it worked in the old ConnectMeNow, so if need be, I’ll try to incorporate the old method – but it will be a lot of work.

      Reply

      hans

    • Dec 6, 2019 - 6:01 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      My bad – I overlooked your statement; I see you’ve already tried default and custom mount point … 

      I do check the error messages returned from the API call (default) and the Mount statement (c-library). The useless error messages you see, are error I, or the function calls, couldn’t classify.
      Have you been able to do a manual mount (Terminal)? And if so: what is the statement you use?

      Reply

      hans

    • Dec 8, 2019 - 4:26 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      I did some testing (old ConnectMeNow, and Terminal) and found it to be failing in my test setup as well.
      From what I understand, and keep in mind that I’m a total newbie when it comes to NFS, is that the currently logged in user or userid (on your Mac) is being used to authenticate on your NFS server.
      I have to do some more digging though, and learn a LOT more on NFS in order to create a fix.

      Reply

      hans

  • Dec 7, 2019 - 12:30 AM - Troy Williams Comment Link

    Hi there! Thanks so much for writing this app! I’m a rookie to NFS and this app is much easier to work with, plus it’s a bit more useful in trying to troubleshoot what I’m doing wrong with a couple of NFS servers I’m experimenting with.

    I’ve been getting a few error codes though. It’d be helpful to know what they are so that I can try to pinpoint how my server is misconfigured. Would it be possible for you to post a list of them? In particular, Error Codes 5 and 13.

    Thank you!

    Reply

    Troy Williams

    • Dec 7, 2019 - 6:57 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Troy,

      I’m a total rookie when it comes to NFS as well and have come to the conclusion that the current user on your Mac is being used to setup the NFS mount. But I’ll need to do some more investigation and take a peek at my old ConnectMeNow version as that one seems to work somehow.

      From what I could find on the error codes;
      Error 5 indicates a communication issues (NFS3ERR_IO), which could mean pretty much anything from server not configured properly, to wrong server address or bad network cable.
      Error 13 is a “permission denied” or “access error” (NFS3ERR_ACCES), which means pretty much not much either. The server doesn’t allow access, so this could be the wrong server address, username, password etc.

      The RFC1813 document gives you more codes. These are NFS specific it seems, so I’m debating if I should or should not include them in ConnectMeNow.

      I did some command line testing and those failed exactly as you described (permission errors).
      I’ll try to dig into that some more, but it will take some time (since I’m a NFS noob as well).

      On that note, is there a specific reason why you’d want to use NFS (not saying that you shouldn’t use it)?

      Reply

      hans

    • Dec 8, 2019 - 5:44 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      While investigating what is going on here, I did find this interesting read: KODI – NFS Sharing from OS X letting us know that the “uid” is being used.
      I had just reconfigured my QNAP NAS, and I really never use NFS, so maybe I screwed up something there, not allowing my macOS uid to login (eg. my macOS username is unknown on my NAS).

      An additional note for QNAP, which may apply to other NAS devices as well, is the use of the correct port number (automatically) – source :
      By default, macOS connects to an NFS server using a “non-privileged” TCP/IP port, which means is a port number ≥ 1024.
      However, the [QNAP] NAS only accepts connections from a “privileged” TCP/IP port, so a port number ≤ 1023.
      For this purpose the option “resvport” needs to be set for Mac OS X to use a privileged port (command line mount).

      Note: command line access on my Mac still fails with “Permission Denied” or an “Operation not permitted”, even when using “sudo” for a mount.

      I’ll continue investigating this … feel free to post comments/suggestions that may help out 

      Reply

      hans

    • Dec 8, 2019 - 6:41 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Just bumped into a few “interesting” observations (besides a lot of people complaining about NFS on macOS). 

      First of all:
      While trying to use “mount” in Terminal, to mount a Public folder, I’ve noticed that macOS (in Catalina anyway) seems to require “sudo”.
      Also: passing username and password does not seem to be an option for either “mount” or “mount_nfs” when trying to mount an NFS share.

      Another thing I have noticed;
      In CMN3, if you create a NFS share pointing to a share on your server that can be accessed as a guest, then CNM3 will actually mount it when using /Volumes.
      Using a custom mount point will fail however, and username/password seems to fail as well.

      On that note: the CMN2-beta showed the same behavior.
      As an alternative CMN1 and 2, had the option to use “oscascript”, which you can try in Terminal:

      osascript -e 'mount volume "nfs://192.168.1.100/Public"'

      Which will mount to /Volumes. Passing username and password however fails on my setup as well (for shares that require a username/password):

      osascript -e 'mount volume "nfs://192.168.1.100/Someshare" as user name "myusername" with password "mysecretpassword"'

      Naturally, this failing could be related to my new NAS configuration.

      Reply

      hans

  • Dec 10, 2019 - 8:04 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

    UPDATE:

    Version 3.0.1 has been released today. Changes:

    – With NFS and SMB shares, the remote path can now also be selected from a dropdown list (note: for some servers you will need to enter username and/or password before this list shows)
    – Bug fix: mount shares with spaces and other characters in the remote path name

    Known issues;
    Mounting NFS shares that require authentication can fail. This seems related to username/password of macOS vs Server not matching. Any help or more insight is appreciated.

    Reply

    hans

    • Dec 13, 2019 - 4:35 AM - Simon Smith Comment Link

      thank you so much hans, not sure what you have changed or maybe its the new 10.15.2 update
      but i can finally connect to my windows 7 share with guest access, and no errors, it just works!!!

      Reply

      Simon Smith

      • Dec 13, 2019 - 4:45 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

        I think maybe Apple changed something? Very good to hear though that it now works! Awesome! 

        Reply

        hans

  • Dec 22, 2019 - 11:35 AM - Loek Comment Link

    Hi, first time user. For some reason another app I have been using for a long time (Automounter, see appstore, just gives me Finder crashes).

    What is with the notifications for Timemachine mount/unmounts ?

    Reply

    Loek

    • Dec 24, 2019 - 8:45 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Loek,

      First off – You can disable the notifications: Preferences -> Preferences & SSH Keys -> uncheck “Show notifications”. 

      The mount/unmount messages are given to ConnectMeNow by the macOS API, and this API has no option to filter out certain messages (like mounting TimeMachine shares).
      I’ve stopped using TimeMachine a while ago (ran out of disk space on my NAS), so I’m not sure what these mount/unmount messages may look like.
      If there is a generic part in it, I could include it in the filter in ConnectMeNow that filters certain messages (it already filters messages like when Recovery is temporary mounted and such).
      The mount/unmount of TimeMachines shares is done by macOS by the way.

      Reply

      hans

  • Jan 3, 2020 - 10:03 AM - Jim Termini Comment Link

    Good Morning!  First time attempted user here.  I am, unfortunately, running Mac OS X El Capitan (10.11.6).  Due to a long standing bug in AppleScript, we are unable to upgrade beyond 10.11.6.

    When I download ConnectMeNow-v3.0.1 and attempt to open the .dmg file I get an error stating “The following disk images couldn’t be opened” –  “no mountable file systems”

    Any idea what might be happening?  I’ve had not other problems with other DMG files.

    Reply

    Jim Termini

    • Jan 4, 2020 - 5:50 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Good morning Jim!

      Sorry to hear you’re running into issues with the DMG. 10.11.6 is quite old and I do feel for you not being able to upgrade.
      It could be that the older macOS version doesn’t support signed applications and/or notarized DMG’s – at least, that would be my guess.
      Aside from that, I do not know if ConnectMeNow 3 would run under macOS 10.11.6 – I quickly created a ZIP file for you (not notarized, not signed) to see if it works. Download here.

      Reply

      hans

  • Jan 8, 2020 - 7:24 PM - Rob Espinosa Comment Link

    I’m on MacOS Catalina 10.15.2 and could not get the app to work with either mounting of AFP or SMB shares on my Synology. I kept getting error code 2 failure on mount point regardless of what I did.

    I am able to mount through Mac Finder- Connect to Server and strangely ConnectMeNow even gave me a notification when I did it the standard way.

    I was also able to do a successful Ping Test from within the app.

    I spent half an hour trying everything I could think of, even manually setting the Path on Server and Mount Locations when the default options didn’t work.

    Is there just a problem with the new version on the latest Mac OS?

    Reply

    Rob Espinosa

    • Jan 9, 2020 - 5:29 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      I Rob,

      Sorry to hear you’re running into issues.

      I’m on Catalina 10.1.52. as well and use it daily for SMB mounts on a QNAP NAS, SSH for my NAS/Website/LibreElec, and SSHFS for my NAS and website.
      All without any issues, so I’m wondering about your settings and the log file. Instead of posting them here: feel free to email me at webmaster at tweaking4all dot com. I hope we can figure this out together. 

      Also, these are settings that should happen automatically:
      Check under  – “System Preferences” – “Security & Privacy” – “Privacy”:
      – Under “Files and Folders” check if “ConnectMeNow” is listed and has the option “Network Volumes” checked.
      – Under “Automation” check if these are checked: “System Events”,  “Terminal” (possibly listed twice)

      Reply

      hans

  • Jan 9, 2020 - 6:50 AM - Loek Comment Link

    Rob,

    I am also using 10.15.2. This app works like a charm with my two QNAP NAS (running latest FW).

    Small remark for the 4-disk TS-451, sometimes the connection is lost after returning from sleep mode, but either the app itself reconnects or a manual reconnect solves it. However, this occurs rarely (maybe once per week, my iMac is on for the complete week).

    Reply

    Loek

    • Jan 9, 2020 - 11:56 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      I noticed certain shares to unmount when my Mac (Mac Pro and MacBook Pro) is sleeping as well – which kind-a annoyed me, so that’s why I did an attempt to have ConnectMeNow restore the connection after coming out of sleep mode in case a previously mounted share had been unmounted. So far it has been working well for me. 

      If you look in the log of ConnectMeNow then you may see some interesting info on how often your Mac wakes up. I noticed, with WiFi enabled, that my Mac wakes up a LOT after midnight for unclear reasons. Disabling WiFi (I’m relying on wired ethernet anyway) calmed things down and my Mac actually sleeps when it is supposed to sleep. For the log I rely on the macOS API and event notifications.

      p.s. opening the log is done by opening “Preferences” and after that pressing CONTROL+OPTION+COMMAND  (CTRL+ALT+WINDOWS on a Windows keyboard) and the “debug” button should appear – clicking it will reveal the log.

      Reply

      hans

  • Jan 9, 2020 - 12:08 PM - Loek Comment Link

    Thanks for the suggestion about the log file.

    I have fixed ethernet and WIFI enabled (main reason was to have Airdrop enabled), but don’t see wake ups due to strange reasons. The iMac is in sleep mode when it’s supposed to be and only wakes up when I’m using it.

    Reply

    Loek

    • Jan 9, 2020 - 12:12 PM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Loek,

      My Mac Pro (2013) is maybe a little old by now (even though it runs great), maybe that’s why I get weird wake ups when WiFi is enabled 

      Reply

      hans

  • Jan 9, 2020 - 12:31 PM - JMV Comment Link

    Hi,

    In the overview section, list of supported protocols, you write *SMN*.

    Do you mean SMB ?

    ;-) best,

    Jean-Marc

    Reply

    JMV

    • Jan 10, 2020 - 5:01 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Jean-Marc!

      yeah … good catch! I did meant SMB … I’ve corrected the typo. 

      I had to laugh when I read that just now 

      Thanks for catching that and letting me know. It’s very much appreciated.

      Reply

      hans

  • Jan 15, 2020 - 9:59 PM - Pete Comment Link

    This software rocks! Thank you for making such a great software

    Reply

    Pete

    • Jan 16, 2020 - 5:16 AM - Hans - Author: Comment Link

      Thanks Pete!

      I very much appreciate that you took the time to past such a nice compliment!
      Definitely a motivator to keep doing this 

      Reply

      Hans



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