Friday, June 12, 2009
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FileVault warning

We interrupt this blog blackout again for a bit of public service.

I just want to relate my experience regarding OSX's FileVault.

It's supposed to provide additional security to your home files, where you presumably put your documents and other important files. With that sell, I turned it on.

The problem is, FileVault encrypts these files and lumps it all into a sparse image, essentially into one large encrypted file. That creates some issues. One, it puts your eggs into one proverbial basket. This means when this one file becomes corrupted, all your files may not be accessible.

Next, the additional step of encrypting for storage and decrypting for use creates an additional strain on processing and hard drive access. This may not be an issue at first or when you have a powerful Mac but the strain does add up. Imagine doing this extra process when your documents takes up monumental space. Imagine doing that additional step when your home folder reaches 100Gb.

Of course, storage creates additional disk space. FileVault will recover that space when it shuts down, but that's false economy because it reclaims that same space when your computer is up.

Finally, and this is from personal experience, the intermittent power outages yesterday cause my computer to shut down unexpectedly. This is when I experienced problems when I tried to shut down normally. FileVault first tries to recover space before shutting down but then it just hangs afterwards. I had to perform a hard shutdown afterwards.

So I turned FileVault off. So far, that cured my shutdown problems. Plus, I think I'm getting a speed spike in my computer, that's probably just psychological.

Anyway, I'll continue monitoring my computer. To secure your files, just put in a password and don't share access to your computer in any wireless (or even wired) network you connect to.

Enjoy your long weekend.

1 Objection(s):

At 12:52 PM, Blogger Punzi said...

Also, FileVault also makes OSX fail to read the LaunchServices database and simply reverts to default settings. This means that any changes you make to the default applications -- changing your default web browser, RSS reader, FTP client, or changing which application files of a specific type are opened in -- will all be reversed as soon as you restart. The changes are, in fact, still present in the database, but they are not being read by the system.


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