Using FileVault on Mac OS X

FileVault encrypts the contents of your home directory as one file. Once set up it is transparent to the user - you enter your password at login and the encryption takes place 'on the fly'.

If you have a lot of large files in your home folder that do not need to be encrypted, it will improve speed and reliability if you move them elsewhere. For example you could move your iTunes and iPhoto libraries into /Users/Shared.

Note that it is recommended when using FileVault that you keep a backup of your data to protect against corruption of the encrypted file.

To encrypt your home folder using FileVault, follow these steps:

  • Go to System Preferences > Security . You will see the following window:
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  • First of all you must set a master password for the computer. Ensure you choose a strong password for this.
  • Ensure that 'Require password to wake this computer from sleep or screen saver' is ticked.
  • Ensure that 'Disable automatic login' is ticked.
  • Ensure 'Use secure virtual memory' is ticked. This prevents unencrypted copies of your encrypted documents being written to the hard disk.
  • Click the button ' Turn on FileVault' . The following dialog box will appear:
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•  If your home folder already contains sensitive data, tick 'Use secure erase' to ensure all traces of the unencrypted versions are removed from the disk.

•  Click 'Turn On FileVault'.

Page last modified on 05 jul 13 14:41