Can the Promise driver for the M1 Mac models be uninstalled, and if so, how ?

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  • Last Post 02 June 2021
Barry Sharp posted this 08 May 2021

I've created an external Big Sur 11.4 Beta 2 on my OWC 1TB Envoy Pro EX. I used Recovery mode and the Startup Security Utility to set Reduce Security to allow loading the Promise driver version 6.2.16, but it does not seem to be loading as it should. I see no notice for it being blocked in the System Prefrences -> Secirity & Privacy.

All works when booted up on my M1 mini's internal SSD running Big Sur 11.4 Beta 2, but cannot get things to work using my external OWC Envoy.

 

I'm thinking that I need to unistall the Promise driver, but have no clue how to do that. Can it be uninstalled, and if so, how ?

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R P posted this 10 May 2021

Hi Barry,

The driver can be uninstalled, but first it needs to be unloaded.

This forum article should be of help, read down to PB's comments.

Note, Big Sur has added some complications, inbox drivers cannot be deleted and for the Intel Big Sur, the Pegasus driver (v13) is inbox. So on the Intel Big Sur, currently the inbox driver can't be deleted. But the M1 driver is a 3rd party driver, so you will be able to delete it.

Please note that Betas tend to break things. Normally betas are only used for compatibility testing on a MAC dedicated for that purpose. Using beta software on a production system is not a good idea and is normally not done.

Barry Sharp posted this 30 May 2021

OK.... I'm close to deciding on whether to hang onto my multiple Promise Pegasus units (I have several). The reason for arriving at this point is that migrating to Apple Silico Macs (I have the M1 mini) I find loading the /Library/Extensions/PromiseSTEX.kext (version 6.2.16) with the macOS set to Reduced Security is largely a hit-and-miss situation, and most importantly the loading of the kext fails consistentl when using an external boot device for the M1 mini even with its configured Reduced Secuity having been setup.

In my world I have to be able to run various versions of macOS Big Sur for testing things, and fighting endlessly with the loading of the Promise extenstion is both frustrating and a complete wastre of my time.

I understand that Apple is asking 3rd party folks to abandon their use of kernel extensions such as the /Library/Extensions/PromiseSTEX.kext for security reasons, and to use APIs instead. I assume with this change the current issues with having to ensure /Library/Extensions/PromiseSTEX.kext is loaded all the time will be unnessary.

My question here is: When will Promise stop requiring the need to load their kext for the macOS Big Sur and beyond ?

If I do not  get a response from Promise withing the next month stating they will abandon the kext loading requirement for their Pegasus units for Apple Silicon Macs running Big Sur and beyond, I will have no choice but to sell off my Pegasus units and invest in a different vendor's high-speed RAID storage This will be a shame and cost me money to make the transition. I've enjoyed the use of Pegasus units for many years and they have served me well, but the time has come where using the Pegasus has become a nightmare for me, and especially with the new Apple Silicon Macs that have really tightened the security for macOS with regards to 3rd party extending the kernel with kexts.

I request a response to this posting ASAP. Thank you..

Jadon Barnes posted this 02 June 2021

OK.... I'm close to deciding on whether to hang onto my multiple Promise Pegasus units (I have several). The reason for arriving at this point is that migrating to Apple Silico Macs (I have the M1 mini) I find loading the /Library/Extensions/PromiseSTEX.kext (version 6.2.16) with the macOS set to Reduced Security is largely a hit-and-miss situation, and most importantly the loading of the kext fails consistentl when using an external boot device for the M1 mini even with its configured Reduced Secuity having been setup.

In my world I have to be able to run various versions of macOS Big Sur for testing things, and fighting endlessly with the loading of the Promise extenstion is both frustrating and a complete wastre of my time.

I understand that Apple is asking 3rd party folks to abandon their use of kernel extensions such as the /Library/Extensions/PromiseSTEX.kext for security reasons, and to use APIs instead. I assume with this change the current issues with having to ensure /Library/Extensions/PromiseSTEX.kext is loaded all the time will be unnessary.

My question here is: When will Promise stop requiring the need to load their kext for the macOS Big Sur and beyond ?

If I do not  get a response from Promise withing the next month stating they will abandon the kext loading requirement for their Pegasus units for Apple Silicon Macs running Big Sur and beyond, I will have no choice but to sell off my Pegasus units and invest in a different vendor's high-speed RAID storage This will be a shame and cost me money to make the transition. I've enjoyed the use of Pegasus units for many years and they have served me well, but the time has come where using the Pegasus has become a nightmare for me, and especially with the new Apple Silicon Macs that have really tightened the security for macOS with regards to 3rd party extending the kernel with kexts.

I request a response to this posting ASAP. Thank you..

I too really want to know the answer to this! As someone looking to transition my entire setup to Apple Silicon, whatever is stated regarding the future development of Promise drives (and the stupid reliance on making a user switch that toggle in system security) will lead my purchase decision.

R P posted this 02 June 2021

I understand that Apple is asking 3rd party folks to abandon their use of kernel extensions such as the /Library/Extensions/PromiseSTEX.kext for security reasons, and to use APIs instead. I assume with this change the current issues with having to ensure /Library/Extensions/PromiseSTEX.kext is loaded all the time will be unnessary.

I have made sure that the development team was aware of the upcoming transition from kext to dext, but later I talked to one of their management team and found that they were already well aware of this.

The thing is, the original driver kit was very limited and did not support things like scsi devices. You could port kexts of the following types only...

  • Network controllers (note that this covers networking hardware, while Network Extensions cover software).
  • Serial devices.
  • USB devices that aren't already covered by the generic class drivers built into macOS (many webcams and audio interfaces, for example, work fine in macOS with no additional drivers).
  • Human Interface Devices (HIDs), which includes keyboards, mice, trackpads, specialized game controllers, and other devices that let you control the OS or specific apps.

SCSI support in Driverkit was promised at WWDC2020, apparently it was just added in the Xcode beta 3 release 2 months ago. This is still in beta. Whether and how it will work with RAID devices is another question being asked in the forum. There are lots of questions of this nature being asked on the forum.

The important takeaway is that the is still a work in progress, for every vendor.

And I'm reasonably certain that Apple won't drop kext support until dexts are stable and viable for all devices that need them.

Barry Sharp posted this 02 June 2021

Thanks for the response to my issue(s). The big issue for me at this time is that the protocol for loading 3rd party extensions such as the PromiseSTEX.kext Version 6.2.16 is simply a hit-and-miss situation. Sometime the extension will load and sometime not. It typical takes several attempts to make it stick. Only today I encountered the issue where the Promise extension inhibited my M1 mini from booting correctly and the consequence was that the system removed the Promise extension in order to successfully boot up.

At this time I cannot maintan a stable system using the 6.2.16 version of the extension. It's obvious to me that 3rd party extensions for Big Sur on M1 Macs is in a state of development and not really ready for prime-time production.

I think that in order to proceed with a relaible Mac for my production work, I'm having to consider purchasing an Intel Mac mini, and wait for Apple & Promise to sort things out for the Big Sur on M1 Macs.

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