I've set an external hard drive to be encrypted, it's been a while but still says encrypting?

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by -A113-, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. -A113- macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2015
    I just got a new MacBook Pro and an external hard drive for Time Machine, I realised if I'm gonna be carrying the two together then I should encrypt the hard drive otherwise the Mac's password is almost dud in terms of privacy.

    Anyway, it's been at least 15 hours now and it's still encrypting, any idea how long this is supposed to take? I've used up 240GB on it so far, is it encrypting the entire 1TB drive or the 240GB worth of files?
  2. beebarb macrumors 6502


    Sep 10, 2015
    Just the 240GB used. It can't encrypt what doesn't exist.

    It's just encryption can be a lengthy process depending on the files that need to be encrypted, and with the size of modern drives, a drive should ideally be set to be encrypted before it starts being actively used.
  3. CoastalOR macrumors 68000


    Jan 19, 2015
    Oregon, USA
  4. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    Microsoft Bitlocker from Window 8 could choose to only encrypt used space or the whole space. And from Windows 7, user can pause encryption in order to remove the disk if needed.

    Mac OS X Time Machine encrypt however, may only encrypt the whole area you are using. And I don't remember I can pause the encryption if I don't want that disk to be connected to Mac.

    And yes, encryption can take very very long time. Consider you are encrypting a 1TB disk, 15 hours should be reasonable.
  5. chabig, Nov 8, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015

    chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    I do not think that is correct. I believe it's called "full disk encryption" for a reason...that is, every byte is encrypted, whether it represents data or free space. That's why it takes significant time to encrypt a "blank" disk.
  6. paulCC, Nov 8, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2015

    paulCC macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2012
    There is a trick, if you are encrypting a new HDD, without any data - erase it in Disk Utility into the journaled, case insensitive, encrypted type, and it completes in few seconds. Again - this will erase all data, but it will be pretty much instantenous.

    One word of caution - if you plan to use it as a bootable backup disk for Carbon Copy Clone, you have to follow a procedure described on CCC Web site, or it will not boot.


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