Is your USB drive recognizable after encrypting with FileVault?

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by Lorenzo F, Jan 13, 2017.

  1. Lorenzo F macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    Not entirely sure if this belongs in this particular forum, but someone let me know if I need to move it.

    I just purchased the Western Digital My Passport Ultra 3TB disk (old model WDBBKD0030BBK-NESN) for use on my MacBook Pro 15 inch mid-2015 running OS X El Capitan 10.11.6. I plan to use the drive as a backup for a backup. The original backup has 3 partitions of 1 TB each partition. While trying to figure out if Carbon Copy Cloner would automatically create partitions on the destination drive (i.e. the WD My Passport Ultra), I stumbled upon this info on CCC's website:

    "Some versions of OS X have difficulty recognizing USB devices that have been encrypted with FileVault. The Western Digital My Passport Ultra 3TB disk, for example, works fine as a bootable device when not encrypted. In our tests, however, this device was no longer recognizable when FileVault encryption was enabled. This problem appears to be limited to OS X 10.11 El Capitan. The same volume was accessible using older and newer OSes, and also functioned fine as an encrypted startup device using older and newer OSes."

    Searching online, I found an instance of one person experiencing this, but haven't seen any others.

    Has anyone experienced their WD My Passport Ultra or other USB drive becoming unrecognizable upon encrypting with FileVault? I haven't opened my drive yet and would rather just return it if is incompatible with OS X 10.11 and FileVault.
  2. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    El Cap can be weird with some external HDDs. After encrypting several WD RE4s and HGST UltraStars, they would not show up with just plugging in. In order for El Cap to recognize them, I have boot with them plugged into the computer and turned on prior to starting the computer. This applied to ones I used as bootable drives as well as ones I did not, so the issue is somewhat different from yours.

    If after the computer was started, I plugged them in and powered them on, they would not show up. I originally thought this had to do with the hub, then thought it had to do with the 'put hard disks to sleep' option in the power settings, but it definitely has to do with the OS. So my solution now is to unmount them when not in use, as opposed to ejecting.

    I'm not sure if that will help you or not.
  3. Lorenzo F thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    Thanks for this. I ended up keeping the WD My Passport Ultra but haven't yet opened it (oy procrastination). But once I do I'll see if your suggestion about unmounting as opposed to ejection helps any.

    I'm curious: did you upgrade to macOS Sierra and still have the same problem?

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