This FAQ applies to Mac® OS X® 10.3 or later. It addresses repairing FileVault®-protected Home folders that were encrypted with FileVault under Mac OS X 10.3-10.6, aka Legacy FileVault.
This FAQ specifically applies in the following situations:
- You are running Mac OS X 10.3-10.6 and have encrypted one or more Home folders with FileVault.
- You are running OS X 10.7 or later and upgraded without first disabling FileVault protection on Home folders encrypted with FileVault under Mac OS X 10.6 or earlier.
This FAQ does not apply to FileVault 2, i.e. FileVault disk encryption as implemented in OS X 10.7 and later. FileVault 2 encrypts the entire startup disk, not individual Home folders. If you upgraded to OS X 10.7 or later without first disabling FileVault encryption on Home folders encrypted under Mac OS X 10.3-10.6, those Home folders remain encypted with the earlier version of FileVault and you cannot enabled FileVault 2. Note that Apple® documentation for OS X 10.7 and later — such as Help information — refers to FileVault 2 as FileVault and refers to FileVault in Mac OS X 10.6 and earlier as Legacy FileVault.
FileVault-protected Home folders are encrypted disk images. Under Mac OS X 10.3 and 10.4, the disk image is in sparse image format. Under Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6, the disk image is in sparse bundle format.
File system directory corruption can occur in any of these disk image formats. This is usually as the result of an improper shutdown, such as a power outage or using the power button to shut down the computer after a freeze or kernel panic. The following problems with a FileVault-protected account usually indicate that its disk image may be corrupted:
- Inability to log in.
- After logging in, the account appears to have been reset to a new account: the desktop and Dock are set to default values and all personal data is missing.
- Inability to disable FileVault, despite having the necessary free disk space.
Repairing the disk image that represents a FileVault-protected Home folder depends on the version of Mac OS X used to encrypt the Home folder: