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  An Unencrypted Look at FileVault
Subject:   Forced Restarts
Date:   2003-12-21 13:30:51
From:   anonymous2
Re: File Vault being senstive to forced restarts

Gakk!!! MacOS X is not that stable. Wish it were true but it ain't so. I would _never_ turn on FileVault due to this problem alone. Sensitive information I encrypt myself. 99.999% of my information does not need encryption and I don't personally like the trend toward having the system handle everything. I like still thinking for myself. :)


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Showing messages 1 through 8 of 8.

  • Re: Forced Restarts
    2003-12-22 12:18:38  anonymous2 [View]

    HFS+ is a journalled filesystem, so forced restarts are not such a big problem. What does a journalled filesystem do? It essentially ensures that any change made to the filesystem is "atomic", which means that it either entirely completes or does not happen at all. If you force-restart while the disk is in the middle of an operation then the next time the computer starts up it will look at the filesystem's journal and detect that an incomplete operation occurred. It will then undo the incomplete change. (Note that this is how a journalled filesystem *could* work in principle, not how HFS+ actually works AFAIK.)

    In other words, it's much harder to corrupt a journalled filesystem even if you force-restart or lose power.
  • Forced Restarts
    2003-12-22 08:43:06  anonymous2 [View]

    I've been using FileVault since 10.3.1 and have suffered at least half a dozen forced restarts due to the iPod getting funky. My home folder is more than 10GB in size and nothing bad has happened to the encrypted home folder.

    As I side note, I reformatted the iPod and everything is fine as ever.

  • FJ de Kermadec photo Forced Restarts
    2003-12-21 13:36:08  FJ de Kermadec | O'Reilly Blogger [View]

    Hi !

    I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing issues with Mac OS X. Indeed, you should be able to enjoy a rock-solid installation !

    May I suggest that you have a look at the installation instructions I posted on the forums ? Clean-installing Panther and making sure that you do not use any incompatible third-party applications ( be especially careful about disk utilities ) should allow you to unleash the full potential of Mac OS X.

    • Forced Restarts
      2003-12-21 14:04:24  anonymous2 [View]

      I've clean installed every single version of the MacOS since 1.0. I'm an IT geek. :) I know how to get that part right so that is not the issue.

      Unfortunately Apple occasionally has problems in their own software (egads, bugs on the Mac OS???) (inserting PCMCIA memory cards in a PowerBook can cause lockups in certain circumstances if the Finder is in the background on a clean system under MacOS X 10.2.6 - old news).

      Plus we have to live with Third-Party apps that screw up - Apple doesn't provide everything. Part of the whole point of MacOS X was it was supposed to provide a safe environment to catch those before they took down the rest of the system.

      The end result is MacOS X still crashes from time to time. If this crashing is going to produce problems with File Vault then that is a big issue. Losing all your data is scary.

      Best to just encrypt by hand what really needs encrypting (not much) and then keep good backups (encrypted or not encrypted as your little heart desires).

      By the way, speaking of encryption and backups, be aware that if the vendor who makes the software that you are making backups with stops supporting that software or file format or they go belly up and it is in a proprietary format (even worse encrypted) then you are up the proverbial creek without even a canoe never mind a paddle. Think ShrinkWrap from Aladdin... Much like this File Vault situation.
      • FJ de Kermadec photo Forced Restarts
        2003-12-21 14:17:52  FJ de Kermadec | O'Reilly Blogger [View]

        Hi again !

        I am glad to hear that you are an experienced user :-)

        However, may I still suggest that you post on the Apple Discussions, call Apple or your usual support provider ? Indeed, you really should not experience issues.

        Its architecture allows it to be very resistant to faulty third-party applications. However, using such software in your workflow is not recommended either !

        Apple always does its absolute best to improve the quality of its products and welcomes your feedback. Would you think that you have located a bug, there are many feedback channels available. Also, would you have some coding experience, you can become an ADC member membership is free.

        For your information, FileVault does not use a proprietary encryption system. More information may be found here : http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/filevault/

        • Forced Restarts
          2004-01-28 14:36:10  mclaincausey [View]

          I never have kernel panics or forced restarts, and I'm using an old Yikes! G4 350MHz with only 480MB of RAM. I don't see how OS X could be regarded as "unstable." It is the most stable desktop OS on the market.

          Sure, you can find headless Unix boxes with uptimes of several months, but to have a desktop capable of that kind of stability is amazing. When he says OS X is "unstable" I can only think he's been unlucky and/or is comparing it to server OSes, which is unreasonable.

          Long live OS X!
        • Don't use 3rd Party Apps???
          2003-12-21 17:29:47  anonymous2 [View]

          F.J. wrote:
          > Its architecture allows it to be very resistant to faulty
          > third-party applications. However, using such software in
          > your workflow is not recommended either !

          That is an interesting statement. Are you seriously suggesting that users should only use Apple products on their Macs? What about Excel? Word? Photoshop? TurboTax? X-Plane? Are you aware that Apple specifically promotes the use of 3rd party applications on the Mac? They do encourage other people to develope for their hardware and software...
          • FJ de Kermadec photo Don't use 3rd Party Apps???
            2003-12-22 09:18:30  FJ de Kermadec | O'Reilly Blogger [View]

            Hi !

            I am afraid you misunderstood my previous reply : sorry if I have been unclear.

            I just wanted to say that relying on *poorly-written* third-party applications in a workflow was to be avoided.

            Of course, there are millions of excellent third-party Mac OS X applications available that can be used safely ! I know that Apple does its absolute best to help developers and am always glad to see new applications coming to the Mac.