FileVault 2 and network drives

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by svento, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. svento macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2007
    I have been excited about Lion allowing full disk encryption of external drives. I have a usb hard drive connected to my Airport Extreme which I use for Time Machine backups. Since this is an easily stolen item, I really want it encrypted. However, I can't figure out how to enable encryption on this in lion. It seem that the "encrypt this drive" option in Time Machine doesn't allow you to use it on a network drive. Also the FileVault prefs pane won't show the network drive (only my local drive). Am I missing something?!
  2. jmmo20 macrumors 65816

    Jun 15, 2006
    apparently you can't. I'm on the same boat, except that my time machine drive is a drobo connected to a mac mini.

    it seems absurd that the OS creates an image sparsebundle in the destination HD but does not encrypt it.
  3. Brammy macrumors 65816

    Sep 17, 2008
    My understanding is that FileVault can only encrypt boot devices. They don't do any sort of attached storage, because I think they are afraid of what happens if the drive is swapped to another Mac.
  4. rotax macrumors regular

    May 17, 2010
    You can do it another way. If you go to disk utility you can format the drive and encrypt it at format time. Currently there is no way to convert an unencrypted drive to encrypted except for the boot disk. Once you format the drive as encrypted you should then be able to select it as a time machine drive.

    I am noticing another bug however. I have encrypted internal and external non boot disks on my mac pro and they are mounted on my laptop via the network. Neither of them can be seen or are selectable by time machine as a backup disk on the remote MBP. The local mac pro can use either.
  5. HiRez macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    There is a way to do it without erasing the volume, but it requires the use of the command line and I wouldn't recommend it unless you know what you're doing and can afford to lose the data (just in case). And needless to say, it's probably not officially sanctioned or supported by Apple. John Siracusa writes about it in his Lion review. Search on this page for "Lion doesn't make encrypting disks other than the boot disk particularly easy."
  6. Celeron macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2004
    I don't think an Airport Extreme or Time Capsule can read an encrypted drive. Even if it could, I would seriously question what sort of performance you'd get out of it. FileVault2 is using AES 128 encryption. Transfers to an Airport Extreme USB drive are already slow as it is. Putting the burden of encryption on top of it certainly wouldn't help.

    I'm backing up over the network to an external drive connected to my Mac Mini. I've upgraded the Mac Mini to Lion and have enabled FileVault2 on the boot drive. Then, I told the Mini to use the external drive as a Time Machine drive and to also encrypt it. When I did this the Mini CONVERTED the drive from non-encrypted to encrypted. Now, when my Macbook Pro backs up, to the same drive, over the network, the contents of its backup are also encrypted. Fully encrypted end to end. I like it.

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