Thursday 12 November 2009

MacBook – You can’t turn on FileVault to protect the home folder of this user account.


After finally figuring out how to get the MacBook to recognize the new Intel SSD (another post coming on this one), we ran into this lovely roadblock when enabling the home folder encryption setup called FileVault:


You can’t turn on FileVault to protect the home folder of this user account.

The home folder is located on a volume that isn’t in Mac OS Extended format.

Um, when we installed OS X 10.6 via the MacBook Pro DVD we chose the Mac OS Extended format for the hard drive. Though, we also included case sensitivity along with journaling.

So, what gives?

A few searches for the error turned up the following:

Essentially, we need to reinstall the OS via the DVD. Since this is a fresh install, it is not a really big deal. Apparently FileVault cannot be enabled when the disk was formatted to include case sensitivity in its structures.

This is a bit weird since the underlying OS for Snow Leopard is a UNIX derivative where case sensitivity has been a part of the OS setup since the beginning.

We have now learned that the type of disk format we use during an initial set up of any Mac will impact future uses of that Mac.

BTW, gotta love the non-descript error eh? It’s not like we haven’t seen those before in the Windows world! ;)

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*Our original iMac was stolen (previous blog post). We now have a new MacBook Pro courtesy of Vlad Mazek, owner of OWN.

Windows Live Writer

1 comment:

sampablokuper said...

Thanks for collating all this information in one place. I just ran into this error myself, and you've saved me a fair bit of time!

It's exasperating that Snow Leopard can't create FileVaults on partitions with case-sensitive HFS+! Case-sensitivity's important to me, since otherwise I face having to rename files (or risk them colliding) when I copy them across from other drives with case-sensitive filesystems. But security's also important to me: like many computer users, I want to keep my personal data encrypted.


So, I'm going to read through your links now, and if all else fails, I'll attempt to work around this issue by using an encrypted sparse image.