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FileVault Question

1158 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Feb 28, 2008 8:29 PM by J Michael RSS
J Michael Level 3 Level 3 (645 points)
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Feb 27, 2008 5:35 PM
I've got a 250 GB drive on my MBP, and 220GB is used. I decided to use FileVault to encrypt my Home folder but it says I need 157GB more space. Does it need as much empty space on the drive, as is used by the Home folder? If so, that pretty much defeats the purpose of the product.
MacBook Pro with lots of extra stuff, Mac OS X (10.5.2), iPhone in pocket, iPod in car, Nikon and Adobe everything
  • Niel Level 10 Level 10 (234,660 points)
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    Feb 27, 2008 5:42 PM (in response to J Michael)
    Does it need as much empty space on the drive, as is used by the Home folder?


    Yes. A second copy of the home folder is created during the process of turning FileVault on and off.

    (29916)
    iMac Late 2007 Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • William Lloyd Level 6 Level 6 (19,220 points)
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    Feb 27, 2008 5:49 PM (in response to J Michael)
    Your disk is to full to do the Filevault conversion at this time. If you clear enough space to do the conversion you can copy the stuff back at that point... FileVault of itself doesn't take much if any more space than not using it.

    That said... with a 250 GB drive and 220 GB in use... you're running close to where you'll start running into performance issues. It's generally a bad idea to let a drive get more than 85% full.
    8-Core Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • joshz Level 4 Level 4 (3,280 points)
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    Feb 27, 2008 6:09 PM (in response to J Michael)
    Also, FileVault is absolutely NOT necessary for the average user. According to most apple representatives, it is meant for government users only, or those with state secrets on your drive. With FileVault, you are basically entrusting ALL your data to ONE file-a disk image. If it gets corrupted, you lose all your data. Also, with FileVault, Time Machine CANNOT back up your home folder unless you are logged out.

    If you do have data you need to secure, then make individual encrypted disk images with Disk Utility (/Applications/Utilities, File>New>Blank Disk Image, and select, under encryption "128-bit AES Encryption").

    Good luck!
    17" iMac 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 1G DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz 160GB hard drive, Mac OS X (10.5.2), iMac dual booted to run Windows XP. iPod 5th gen with video 30GB.
  • Tim Campbell1 Level 3 Level 3 (570 points)
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    Feb 27, 2008 9:21 PM (in response to J Michael)
    As I tell everyone who is interested in using FileVault.... you are only a candidate for FileVault if you have the discipline to run regular backups. It sounds like you do since you say you have a backup boot drive.

    But...you mentioned that you take this backup boot drive with you. If you run FileVault, that's a bad idea.

    Time Machine does a lousy job with FileVault because it backups up the whole sparse image as an encrypted blob. It takes a lot of space, but worse is if you want to restore a file you end up having to restore the whole FileVault for that day. While you can get back what you lost, you might (probably will) end up over-writing files you didn't want over-written. You end up playing a big shell-game trying to restore your files without having the undesirable side-effect of wiping out files you did not want to restore.

    This leaves you with options of backup programs that make non-encrypted backups. I use "SuperDuper!". it's easy, clever, and makes a full bootable backup kept up-to-date but only takes the time needed to do an incremental backup. Unfortunately since FileVault is 'transparent' to the user in that you and your applications wont really notice that your home directory is encrypted, neither does your backup program. THAT means that your backup is actually not encrypted at all. That fixes the whole restore headache that Time Machine has with FileVault, but unfortunately if you carry this backup disk around with you and someone steals your laptop bag (with backup drive) then they have an non-encrypted copy of your data... which sort of defeats the whole point of using FileVault.

    So DO make backups... just DO NOT carry them with you.

    Regards,
    Tim

    Message was edited by: Tim Campbell1
    MacBook Pro 2.2 & 2.4 GHz 4GB, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • dwb Level 6 Level 6 (19,695 points)
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    Feb 27, 2008 10:59 PM (in response to J Michael)
    Sounds like you and I are fairly similar in our needs. I came to distrust file vault early on, to the extent that I refer to it today still as vile vault. If it becomes corrupt or if you develop a problem that involves your library folder things get ugly. If you insist on using it, make sure you have a second admin account already made to log into in an emergency.

    Instead of using file vault, I created a sparse image disk image with password protection. I keep it in my documents folder and put it on my dock to open it when I need it. (For a time I was using a short simple AppleScript to trigger its opening when I logged on but decided that was a little insecure for my purposes.) A nice side benefit is that by encrypting only those files that actually need it, I can carry my vital files in a flash drive when I need to travel with a backup.
    MacBook (black) / 24" iMac, Mac OS X (10.5), Win • Linux • iPhone
  • dwb Level 6 Level 6 (19,695 points)
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    Feb 28, 2008 12:16 PM (in response to J Michael)
    Open up the Disk Utility program (inside your Utilities folder). In the top bar is a button *New Image*. You'll see options for size, encryption, etc. Look in help to learn more about your options. While a disk image can be resized manually with Disk Utility, the advantage of a sparse image is that it grows as you add items to it without any intervention. (Though it doesn't shrink on its own.) Since so much software is delivered in disk images today, you are already familiar with them, right? Double-click on a disk image and it mounts a drive on the desktop. Eject it and its gone.
    MacBook (black) / 24" iMac, Mac OS X (10.5), Win • Linux • iPhone
  • Niel Level 10 Level 10 (234,660 points)
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    Feb 28, 2008 6:44 PM (in response to J Michael)
    But my question is still, can I open the image, add files to and from, then close it again?


    Yes.

    And, in so doing, does it save the files that have been added to it?


    Yes.

    (29962)
    iMac Late 2007 Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.5.2)

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