un encrypt hard drive permanently

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by JayElDee, Dec 11, 2014.

  1. JayElDee macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2011
    I have an external hard drive that I access on my home network. It is encrypted and formatted journal.

    It is very slow to access across the network, often taking 5+ minutes to show up. I don't know if the encryption of the files plays a role in this delay, but at any rate the encryption is not necessary.

    Is there a way, short of backing it up and reformatting, to remove the encryption permanently?


  2. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    Look in Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault. Click on the lock (input current password) to unlock settings and turn off the encryption. It will take a while for it to complete. No need to reformat the drive etc.
  3. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    This is not FileVault, since this is an external drive. If your external drive is using the Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted) format then you can turn off encryption on the fly in Finder directly. All you need to do is go to Finder and right-click on it in the sidebar. There's an option to decrypt right there.
  4. JayElDee thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2011
    Thanks for the responses...BUT

    filevault is not turned on and it is an external drive. It is formatted in Mac OS Extended, and the one thing on it is a data sparseimage that is password protected.
    Getting to the data on that sparse image takes about a minute on my desktop, to which it is firewire connected, but when over home wifi it can take much longer, last night taking 15-20 minutes. It is a 4tB drive with over 2 tB of data, so it is big.

    I right clicked on the sparse image and I do not see a decrypt option. Right clicking on the parent drive shows an Encrypt option, but no decrypt choice. I've looked at the Get Infos for the sparse image and the parent drive and see no mention of encryption. When I formatted this drive a year or so ago I remember encryptng it at the lower of the two options... is that 128?

    I suppose this could represent a wifi issue? or that the drive is so big that delivering it's contents over a wifi chokes the speed? but once connected it performs nearly as well as on my desktop.

  5. KALLT, Dec 12, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2014

    KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    I see. You didn't actually encrypt your hard drive, but you created an encrypted, dynamically-sized image (think of it as a DMG file that you need to verify and decrypt before it is mounted, hence why it takes so long). That is not the same. If you want to decrypt all of that, the solution is rather simple too: move all those files to the root of your hard drive, out of the image, and delete the image once you're done. When you select all the content and drag them to the root, be sure to hold the command button (this will make sure the files are moved, not copied, so that you don't need additional space for this process).

    I would suggest that you try the hard drive encryption after that. It really is a lot faster than what you're currently experiencing. My drives mount within a couple of seconds.
  6. JayElDee thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2011
    oh wow, yes a dmg over 2 tb would take a while. Thanks, for the advice.
    And it would be still password protected via the encryption of the hard disk, so the only thing I would "lose" is the dynamic size, right?
    IOW, this would "password protect" the entire hard drive, and I would lose the sparseimage, correct? Delete it, the sparseimage, after the move, correct?
    The dynamic size is of no matter to me if the hard drive is password protected.

    Am I understanding this correctly?
    Thank you very much


    PS I think my wifi is slowing things down also, I've changed channels from auto on the router to experiment to see if that helps.
  7. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    Exactly. When you encrypt your hard drive, all files on it will be protected. Whenever you mount your hard drive, you have to decrypt it first with your password (this password can be saved with keychain, so you don't have to enter it manually). If you mount the hard drive on another Mac, you can't see or read its contents without the password, they are encrypted. You don't need the sparse image.
  8. JayElDee, Dec 12, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2014

    JayElDee thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2011
    Thanks, Kallt, much appreciated.

    finally got my machine to believe I wanted to move the files...at first it kept trying to copy rather than move.

    looks like this is going to take some time, like a couple of days to move 2+Tb

Share This Page