Encrypt External Hard Drive?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by legaleye3000, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. legaleye3000 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    #1
    If I wanted to encrypt my external hard drive so that anyone who plugs it in will not be able to see its contents, how would I do that...?

    Thanks
     
  2. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #2
    You can by external drive with built-in encryption, but I don't know much about those.

    The other option is to use DiskUtility to create an encrypted disk image that you store on the external. Don't store its password in your keychain, and whenever you mount it, you will need to enter that password to get access to the files in it.
     
  3. legaleye3000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Jul 31, 2007
    #3
    Yea, but wouldn't I have to create and make an image whenever I want to delete and add stuff...?
     
  4. redwarrior macrumors 603

    redwarrior

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    in the Dawg house
    #4
    No the image will remain there, you just don't have access to it until you type in your password.
     
  5. blodwyn macrumors 65816

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    Jul 28, 2004
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    Portland, Oregon
    #5
    Make sure you create a read/write disk image. You can make it either a fixed size (beware, a large encrypted image takes quite a while to create), or create a sparseimage which grows as you add to it.
     
  6. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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  7. legaleye3000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Jul 31, 2007
    #7
    Do I just choose "sparse" ? Because above, in Disk Utility, it asks for a size and I thought "sparse" is adjustable based on what you put in it...?
     
  8. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    #8
    It is asking you for the MAX size. I would go for a few GB. It will start very small.

    Edit: One downside is that sparse images don't shrink after you delete files, do a search on macworld.com on the terminal command to do it. Or PM me to remind me to either send you a link, or give you the automator script I use for shrinking the images.
     
  9. legaleye3000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Jul 31, 2007
    #9
    Now is there a program that will password-protect an external drive? Even if plugged into another computer?

    Thanks.
     
  10. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #10
    Automator script

    Instructions:

    1) Save the attached .ZIP file.
    2) Extract the .workflow file in the archive.
    3) Launch Automator from the applications folder.
    4) Open the workflow file.
    5) Verify the contents (Should always do that before executing someone else's script!) - you will see that it is shelling out to the bash shell and telling it to run the disk utilities application (hdiutil) to compact the file being passed in (compact "$@", where the funny characters refer to the file you select in finder when running the script).
    6) In Automator do a Save-As Plug-in
    7) Pick a name (same name as the script is OK)
    8) Select Finder as the Plug-in type


    Once that is done, you can right-click the image file and select Automator->Compact sparse image (or whatever name you chose for the script).
    It will then reclaim any space left by deleted files from the sparse image.

    This script was courtesy of an article from MacWorld.

    Enjoy! :D
     

    Attached Files:

  11. vwgtiturbo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    #11
    I just want to clarify some info posted earlier in this thread.
    There is NO reason to NOT save your password in the Keychain. Period. The item name and username are clear text but the password is ENCRYPTED. There is no way to access this data without the Keychain password.
    If someone boots your Mac from an installation medium (whether it be installation disc on a CD/DVD, USB drive, etc.) they CAN reset your system password. HOWEVER, your Keychain login is NOT changed to match it. They could TRY to change your Keychain password after they log in to match what they reset your login password to be, BUT you MUST have the old password to do it. In essence, you can save passwords all damn day in your Keychain, but without your password, the info is WORTHLESS.
     
  12. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #12
    I could only find my post that mentioned the keychain, so I assume the last post was a response to mine.

    If the data on the external is precious enough, there are cases where NOT storing the password on the keychain is valid:

    1) Your password is easy to guess :D
    2) You leave your computer unlocked and might have your keychain unlocked.


    3) (and this is the one I was thinking about, the ones above are weak), if your keychain is corrupted or you move that external drives between computers, you want to KNOW the password vs. rely on the keychain.
     
  13. uberjason macrumors member

    uberjason

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Location:
    Woodbury, MN
    #13
    Or you could use Knox, it let's you maintain the disk image, or create one with knox.

    http://www.knoxformac.com/

    I have been using it for over a year as I business travel with my MBP. Anything important is encrypted so if MBP is stolen, my data is safe.
     
  14. nplima macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    truecrypt

    hi


    if you intend to use that external disk on the move, be it with Windows, OS X or Linux boxes, you probably want to use Truecrypt instead of a OSX-only solution.

    http://www.truecrypt.org/
     
  15. jc1350 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #15
    truecrypt is my friend. VERY useful thanks to the price and cross-platform support.

    That price is 'free' btw.
     
  16. misterredman macrumors 6502a

    misterredman

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #16
    I also support truecrypt if you need to use the drive on different OS.
     
  17. Ikuanna macrumors newbie

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    Sep 9, 2008
    Location:
    Miami, Fl
    #17

    Attached Files:

  18. Ikuanna macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Location:
    Miami, Fl
    #18
    All done, I was selecting the hardrive, wich I should have been doing
     
  19. dlholmes3 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    #19
    TrueCrypt Use

    Very informative post, and just what I was looking for. I have a work laptop running windows and a personal MacBook Pro that I've been attempting to make it an easy transition to work off of when I'm not in the office and traveling. I recently purchased a 1.5TB Seagate external hard drive and want to use it to store both work (Windows Laptop) and personal (Macbook) files. For those that are using TrueCrypt, is it usual for it to take 2+ days to encrypt your external hard drive? Note that I had 200GB of data on it before I started the process.

    Also.. I started on windows, meaning that I downloaded truecrypt on my windows and am encrypting my external hard drive. In order to use with my Macbook will I have to go through the same process again? Or will it be as simple as plugging it into my Mac and typing in the password I set when I set it up on my Windows-based laptop.

    Thank you all for your help.
     

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