So about a month ago I turned on FileVault under OS X 10.3. I was going to be travelling and I read everywhere that you should work to protect the files on your laptop just in case. Since FileVault is specifically for this purpose, and there didn’t seem to be a down side, I turned it on.
Turning it on wasn’t that easy. After thinking for a while my machien told me that I didn’t have enough extra disk space to turn on FileVault. So went though the time-consuming task of clearing stuff off my drive. Then, after chugging for an hour or so, I had FileVault. I didn’t think it was supposed to slow down my machine. I guess since evey file is encrypted, there is a lot of extra work to do. It didn’t really slow it down too much, but enough to make it feel sluggish.
Then the problems started happening. Some programs, liek DreamWeaver, needed preferences changed to reflect the fact that absolute file paths look different with FileVault turned on. That was annoying.
The real problem came when I went to create a DVD of the video of my daughter’s birthday. I launched iMove and began to suck in the video from my camera. But after a few seconds, the import halted. I tried over and over and I couldn’t get the video imported. It was like the drive was suddenly too slow for the speed of the import. I had made dozens of DVDs previously, and this was the first time I had trouble.
But then I decided to create the iMove project file outside of my home directory, in the unencrypted hard disk-level. That worked fine. I just had to shift around some older video clips that I needed for the DVD. I then had “more trouble than usual” in using iDVD. That did it for me FileVault had to go.
But turning FileVault off proved to be an even bigger problem. First I had to clear off even more hard drive space. Then, after chugging for a while, I got an error. The error didn’t specify what file was causing the trouble, so there was no way to fix it. WHat I had to do was to copy all of my home directory files out of my home directory. Then, with my home directory containing basically nothing, I was able to turn off FileVault. Then I moved the files back. In the process I encountered lots of errors. For a while, my machine kept giving me errors on certain files. The permissions checked out OK, and after a reboot, there trouble files behaved correctly. Very odd.
But now I am free of FileVault. Things seem “zippy” again on the machine. I lost my dock preferences during one of the reboots, but I filled in my dock again with apps and folders and such.
So, if you are thinking about using FileVault, think again.