How long does it take to encrypt a 4TB drive?

blackxacto

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 15, 2009
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Middle TN
17,1 iMac, 10.14.2, 24GB RAM, - TO - a Time Machine formatted WD Passport USB3 4TB external Hard Drive. It's been over 24 hours and Mojave is only 3/4 finished encrypting my 4TB drive.

Is this normal for 4TB drive using USB3?
 

niji

Contributor
Feb 9, 2003
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tokyo
at least 36 hours. maybe even 72 hours.

it does depend on what your connection is: wired or wireless. and if its wired, is it USB3.? what standard, etc etc.

wireless can take days, and at the end of it finish with an error message.
 

blackxacto

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Original poster
Jun 15, 2009
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3.0 vs 3.1 is about a day or so difference in time.
Are you kidding? I appreciate you responding, I've only owned a 2TB Fusion + 128ssd. Forgot about 2, 1TB external drives. Just don't remember it taking this long. There isn't anything on my drive. What is it encrypting?
 
Last edited:

niji

Contributor
Feb 9, 2003
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tokyo
Are you kidding? ...There isn't anything on my drive. What is it encrypting?
that's the point.
that's what i also discovered in the past:
i have started to use a drive for Time Machine but decided later to encrypt it.
takes forever and ever and ever and ever.
even if there is NOTHING on the disk.
therefore, what i have learned is its just better and MUCH quicker (were talking minutes vs days) to just quit the entire process. and format it from the beginning with encryption from the very first. very quick if done that way, vs. later applying encryption to an even "empty" drive.
 

blackxacto

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 15, 2009
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Again, I appreciate your time to respond. Had no idea that the faster the technology the slower somethings get. Thanks again.
 

Easttime

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2015
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Day 4 of encrypting a new 1TB Seagate external hard drive in the Time Machine setup process on a 2016 MacBook Pro. I’ve been letting it run 7x24. Only 66% done. I didn’t know one could encrypt it first before setting it up for Time Machine.
 
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blackxacto

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 15, 2009
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3+ days and still running. Wouldn't mind knowing just what is so complex about turning on encryption in Mojave.
 

LogicalApex

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2015
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Converting a previously unencrypted drive to an encrypted drive requires a sector by sector encryption and secure wiping process. HDDs don't "delete" data when you delete it instead the pointer to the data is removed from your file system. Without the previously mentioned process a raw HDD read could expose previously unencrypted data on an encrypted drive.
 

blackxacto

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 15, 2009
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Middle TN
Why would an encrypted disk, need wiping. As an encrypted disk hides everything to anyone who doesn’t know the key. The only way to use the disk, without using the key, is wiping and reformatting. So why waste time wiping what is already my data.
 

LV426

macrumors 6502a
Jan 22, 2013
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Forensic tools exist that can extract and analyse disk contents sector by sector, whether the content is encrypted or not. So making sure that every sector is encrypted is the way to go.

Why would an encrypted disk, need wiping. As an encrypted disk hides everything to anyone who doesn’t know the key. The only way to use the disk, without using the key, is wiping and reformatting. So why waste time wiping what is already my data.
 

Lorenzo F

macrumors member
Sep 13, 2014
62
13
Oakland, CA
that's the point.
that's what i also discovered in the past:
i have started to use a drive for Time Machine but decided later to encrypt it.
takes forever and ever and ever and ever.
even if there is NOTHING on the disk.
therefore, what i have learned is its just better and MUCH quicker (were talking minutes vs days) to just quit the entire process. and format it from the beginning with encryption from the very first. very quick if done that way, vs. later applying encryption to an even "empty" drive.
Can anyone explain what the difference is between these two processes? Is a disk better encrypted (i.e. more secure) if you encrypt it later after saving contents to it versus formatting it and encrypting initially before saving files to it?
 

blackxacto

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 15, 2009
734
58
Middle TN
17,1 iMac, 10.14.2, 24GB RAM, - TO - a Time Machine formatted WD Passport USB3 4TB external Hard Drive. It's been over 24 hours and Mojave is only 3/4 finished encrypting my 4TB drive.

Is this normal for 4TB drive using USB3?
SOLUTION: BAD CABLE
Lately, I again trashed the data on the 4TB WD Passport external HD, reformatted and encrypted. Today I discovered the cause of my slow encryption/backup issue with this new drive from WD. The new from the box usb/microB cable was bad. Switched it out today and the disk came alive. The activity light began flashing fast. Encryption ended immediately on the empty drive and Time Machine began backing up.
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
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2,158
You can interrupt the encryption process by gratefully dismounting the drive. You don’t need to encrypt the entire thing in one shot.
 

blackxacto

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 15, 2009
734
58
Middle TN
Well, tonite, the encryption didn't take long, but the backup is turtle slow, I'm estimating .01GB/sec. Have decided to purchase a USB3.0 4TB disk to match my iMac USB 3.0 5GB bus speed. OWC chat says it will be speedier. The first issue was the cable which was bad right out of the WD box. Next, even with a working USB cable, I've got a USB2.0 drive. Will report back when the new drive is running.
 

blackxacto

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 15, 2009
734
58
Middle TN
The new OWC 4TB USB3.0 drive is running. It took 3 days to encrypt, but writing to it and formatting was very fast. The write indicator light on the WD 4TB drive crawled, the light on the OWC blinks furiously. There must be more to the WD drive slowing things down than being USB 3.0 compatible, there was something sluggish about the device. Don't know what, but won't make the mistake of trying a drive designed for the PC platform again. JMHO.
 

Tech198

macrumors G5
Mar 21, 2011
14,824
1,898
Australia, Perth
17,1 iMac, 10.14.2, 24GB RAM, - TO - a Time Machine formatted WD Passport USB3 4TB external Hard Drive. It's been over 24 hours and Mojave is only 3/4 finished encrypting my 4TB drive.

Is this normal for 4TB drive using USB3?
4TB is allot.... It takes more than 24 hours to encrypt my "internal" NAS drive. So, just as a taste, USB3 be slower
 
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