Tyler Clemons

Beware FileVault

by on Nov.12, 2008, under General, OS X, Random

I use a Macbook that I purchased last year.  It has OS X 10.4.5, or Tiger, installed.  It’s a pretty good machine.  So I decided to upgrade to 10.5.4, or Leopard.  Yea, it has been about a year and yea, 10.6 is coming next year, but that’s beside the point.

I Installed Leopard without any problems…until I tried to login.  For some odd reason, Leopard decided it could not recognize or repair my damaged FileVault protected home folder.  FileVault encrypts my home directory.  You can turn on FileVault under System Preferences -> Security.  Of course it was not damaged before I tried installing Leopard.  Leopard either has some compatibility issues with Tiger’s FileVault, or it damaged some of my files.  Whatever the reason, I can’t login. 🙁

So the only solutions are to:

  • Login as another user, impossible for me considering I don’t have any other user accounts.  Of course google produces terminal commands to make new users.
  • Clean install and use a backup.  Nice, but only good if you create frequent backups (and you should!)
  • Use another Mac or HD to copy your files.

So obviously, I recommend creating a backup before installing Leopard and turning off FileVault, if you can.  The only problem with doing that is the space requirement.  FileVault requires a large chunk of HD space to unload.  At the time, I probably couldn’t have because we all know how large the Macbook HDs are 🙂

Of course this isn’t the first time Leopard installs have caused fits.  The first day it was released, many users reported their machines hanging.

Spoke to a Mac guy about the situation and he says not to use FileVault unless one works for the CIA.  Sensationalizing, sure, but I would add, don’t use it because it causes problems.

I did fix this problem.  I used the third method with an external HD.  Put the Leopard CD into your Mac.  Plugin your external HD.  Install Leopard on your external HD.  You may have to format the HD into a special format, GUID.  Click HERE to learn how to do that.  Install Leopard, and let it restart.  It reboots to the new install on the external HD.

Login into your new OS install, and you should be able to see your old HD mounted.  Click on it, and browse to Users/Your_account and you should see a Yourname.sparseimage.  Drag that to your external HD.  Click on it, and it should ask you for a password.  Enter your account password and ignore the warnings.  Now you should be able to recover your files.  Just be sure you locate any and all important program files HERE for a link that has information about how to track down application files.  It’s about uninstalling applications but it yields information about how application data is stored on your machine by OS X.

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