An Unencrypted Look at FileVault
Subject:   How to turn off FireVault
Date:   2006-06-05 01:19:06
From:   Wolf175
I used FireVault for a few weeks, but do not know, how to turn it off, when I travel and need to transfer my e-mail to a Hotmail-account, which I can open anywhere.
When I try to "turn off FireVault", I receive the following information: "There isn't enough space on your hard disk to turn off FireVault. Turning off Fire Vault requires an additional 4082.0 GB (!) of free disk space to create an unencrypted copy of the home folder...."
My iMac has a capacity of 70 GB, of which I use 53, leaving 17 GB available.
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  • FJ de Kermadec photo How to turn off FireVault
    2006-06-05 04:29:32  FJ de Kermadec | O'Reilly Blogger [View]


    Thanks for taking the time to write. I am not entirely sure why FileVault makes it impossible for you to access your email. Indeed, should the email be stored on an IMAP server, you should be able to access it from any machine. Should it be on a POP account, transferring it to Hotmail should not require that you disable FileVault.

    Nevertheless, the answer to your question on how to disable FileVault here is quite straightforward: since your iMac needs to make an unencrypted copy of your home folder before deleting the FileVault sparse image, it will need as much free space on your hard drive as your Home folder currently occupies. Hence, if your home folder takes 30 or so GB (a wild guess given your entire system uses 53 GB), you will need 30+ GB free on the drive.

    It therefore seems you will need to delete files from either within your vault to shrink it or outside to free space on your drive. Then, your iMac will have enough free space to perform its copy operation and, hence, disable FileVault smoothly.

    I hope this answers your question,
    • How to turn off FireVault
      2006-06-06 23:45:22  Wolf175 [View]

      Dear FJ
      Thank you so much for taking the time to answer! I am glad, I still found your site in the internet, because in the meantime my iMac collapsed and I lost - amongst many other things - all my bookmarks.
      If I am not mistaken, my iMac has to open each day (during my trips abroad) for a few minutes in order to receive my mail from my POP-account and forward it to my Hotmail-account, where I can read it in hotels etc. In order to open the computer with the FireVault-protection working, I had to type in my password ...
      That is, why I wanted to disable it.
      After reading your letter, I decided to disregard that erroneous message about having to delete over 4000 GBs (I thought, machines make no mistakes ...) and simply threw out all my music. That helped. I could disable the FireVault.
      But then I tried to install and use TECHTOOL PRO Version 4 in order to defragmentize my HD. - That was more, than my iMac could take. I could not start it again and had to re-install the system (which solved the fragmentization ;-).
      After the nervous breakdown of my iMac, I decided, that it is simpler for him/her, if I take out any information, that should not be read by intruders.
      Thanks and Cheers! Wolf175
      • FJ de Kermadec photo How to turn off FileVault
        2006-06-07 12:28:33  FJ de Kermadec | O'Reilly Blogger [View]


        You are most welcome, it is always a pleasure to hear from my readers!

        I see… Yes, you would indeed need your Mac to log in automatically so as to forward messages from the client side. Most email providers however offer the ability to automatically "forward" messages you receive to another address — a feature usually available through an account control panel of some sort. This would allow you to deflect messages from your POP account to your Hotmail address without the need for your Mac to get involved in the process.