File Vault Destroyed All Data On My Hard Drive

Discussion in 'macOS' started by wagi123, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. wagi123 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    #1
    Hi
    I just wanted to let people know about an experience I had the other day. After using my Powerbook G4 for about 4 years with some files encrypted with File Vault my Mac suddenly refused to let me log into my user account. I took the Mac to an authorized Apple repairer and was told that a file in File Vault had become corrupted and infected the rest of my hard drive. I lost all my files and documents, photos, music - the lot. When it happens, all you get from Apple is "Sorry about that, but there is nothing we can do - You should have backed up all your files".
    I'd just like to warn people not to use File Vault.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    Two things, actually three.

    First, I feel for man, that's really bad :(

    Second, your story isn't unique, unfortunately. Given how its designed, filevault is one large encrypted file - a container file if you will that hold your data. If any part of that becomes corrupt, you lose the entire file meaning your data is lost forever. There's just too many stories on the net that echo yours so much so, many people recommend avoiding filevault and I question why many people embrace it.

    A better solution is to use an encrypted dmg. Placing your sensitive data in that while leaving your home folder intact.

    Finally, let this be a lesson to always, always back up your data. I'm not sure how TimeMachine handles filevault but everyone really needs to have a backup strategy, be it FileVault, or CarbonCopyCloner or what other tool that's out there.

    Good luck, its too bad that you learned the hard way about the risks of using the FileVault "feature"
     
  3. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #3
  4. The ArchAngel macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    #4
    FileVault and Time Machine (Specifically when using a Time Capsule) doesn't work the best, but you could always decrypt/backup/encrypt once a month or however frequently you think is necessary to protect your data.

    Just keep in mind that crypto solutions are designed to make data unintelligible, and in the event of a failure you must have a backup or you will not be able to recover the data.
     
  5. tekio macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    #5
    If somebody steals my laptop I wouldn't want them having access to sites like paypal or my email, an encrypted dmg doesn't protect against that.

    It's not just a filevault problem it could happen with any encrypted system, encryption or not if you don't have backups you can easily loose everything.
     
  6. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #6
    Unfortunately, in an effort to protect files against theft, too many people end up protecting their files from themselves! :eek:

    And count me as one that favors a backup strategy
    Hard disk space is always cheaper than file recovery

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #7
    And that's why I recommended using an encrypted disk image (dmg) You get all of the benefits of encryption and zero the risk of losing your entire home folder.
     
  8. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #8
    If you're worried about saved passwords being accessed (i.e. Safari knowing your Paypal password), can't you set your Login Keychain so that it requires a password before any app can access it?
     
  9. tekio macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    #9
    :confused: how does that protect email, saved passwords etc? haven't seen an option in Mail to save email in a certain folder.

    Never tried it, but is the password same as your login password?
     
  10. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #10
    I think by default that's the case, but if you right-click on the Login keychain, you can set the password to whatever you want.

    You can also set the keychain to automatically relock after a certain number of minutes of inactivity, and to lock when the computer goes to sleep.
     
  11. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #11
    It doesn't but you can also make sure your keychain is protected as the other poster mentioned.

    There's various trade offs with any given security measure, given the high probability of problems with filevault, the advantages do not outweigh the risks especially given that there are other solutions, which include protecting the keychain, the use of encrypted dmgs, not saving IDs and passwords in safari, etc.

    If you want to encrypt your entire home directory then there's really only one option but personally, I think there's better, safer solutions that are much more safer.
     
  12. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #12
    FileVault isn't one big encrypted file anymore (as of Leopard), it's a sparse image, so one file getting corrupted doesn't ruin the whole thing. I've been using FileVault for years now and no serious issues. HD corruption can happen whether things are encrypted or not. The smart thing to do is to backup your files. I use CCC to backup my entire MacBook. I can restore individual files too without having to restore my entire home directory. There's many misnomers about FileVault on the web because they were based on the Tiger version. Many improvements were made for Leopard, though they have room to continue improvement.
     

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