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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Dec 09, 2013
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    1
    Mac - FileVault drive lost partition?
    Hi...symptoms are mid-2012 Macbook Air with all stock equipment now boots to question mark icon. It also can't boot to Recovery Disk, but I can choose to boot to Internet Recovery.

    When I run Disk Utility in Internet Recovery, I can see the hard drive in the list of attached disks, but the hard drive has no partitions listed underneath it. Verify Disk and Repair Disk buttons are grayed out. S.M.A.R.T. status is "Verified". I don't have the exact wording in front of me but the hard drive shows in Disk Utility as "Unformatted".

    This drive is FileVault2 encrypted. I have the FileVault2 password of course--this is my wife's laptop--but I can't determine how to unlock the encryption because OS X no longer recognizes that the drive has a partition. BTW I believe this is 10.7.4 or .5.

    I have tried booting into OS X directly from external USB, in the hopes that it would recognize the local drive and ask me for my FileVault password, but it did not prompt me for that (instead it said "Disk not recognizable, initialize, ignore, reject), and Disk Utility in this scenario was the same as from Internet Recovery (predictable I suppose). I have booted into PartedMagic (Linux) from USB and run TestDisk, but after a full "deep scan", it found no Mac partitions--is this because of FileVault2?

    Long story short it seems that I'm in a catch-22--there are a few files on the drive that I need to recover if at all possible because my wife didn't back them up, whereas the rest of the system is expendable in the sense that I don't mind reformatting other than getting a few of those files off. Is there a way to decrypt FileVault2 with my password even when Mac doesn't see the partition? Any other suggestions at all that might help?

    Thanks!!

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    48,001
    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    Long story short it seems that I'm in a catch-22--there are a few files on the drive that I need to recover if at all possible because my wife didn't back them up, whereas the rest of the system is expendable in the sense that I don't mind reformatting other than getting a few of those files off. Is there a way to decrypt FileVault2 with my password even when Mac doesn't see the partition? Any other suggestions at all that might help?
    This is one of the hazards of using any version of FileVault. When things are working right, FileVault2 offers great protection, however, any kind of hard drive problem with a drive that has been encrypted with FileVault exacerbates recovery. Unless your wife has a backup of her data (backups are not encrypted) you're probably out of luck.

    Another thing... I would completely replace the drive not format it for reuse. Once a drive begins acting up it can't be relied on. And unless there is a compelling reason to use FileVault, I would forgo using it.

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