View Full Version : Home directory and filevault

08-30-2005, 07:54 AM
Hi, couple more newb questions, but I would be grateful if someone could clear things up for me.

My new PB should arrive in around 2 weeks, and Ive ordered it from the local supplier here in Prague, without installation (it works out cheaper), Im not worried about installing it as Im a computer tech and have installed computers for years now, but I do have a couple of questions.

Is it a good idea to put your home directory on its own partition? Im mainly thinking now for backups, and to keep things "tidy" (I know about archive and install btw for future installations). Or does it not really matter?

I understand that you can use filevault on your home directory, but if the home directory was a whole partition, would this cause any issue? Or is it again a moot point?

Would you recommend when I install the PB for the first time, just leaving the HDD as one drive (no partitions) and letting the home directory grow as needed? (With weekly maintenance).

Obviously from my questions and that Im posting here you can guess Im coming from a windows / linux environment, where putting data you dont want to lose on a separate partition is usually a good idea. Id like to hear your suggestions / recommendations though.

If any of you also happened to have a nice link to a fresh installation of tiger, with a couple of screenshots included, that would be great. Id like to just run through the installation process before my PB gets here.

Btw I dont know if it plays any part, but the hdd will be the 100GB model, so I dont know for sure if this needs to be factored in when considering partitioning or not.

Many thanks in advance.


08-30-2005, 08:03 AM
You do not need to partion anything... with the way macs work you are almost gaurenteed to never loose your information. You can do as you wish but I prefer one partition.. (it looks nicer to only have one drive on the desktop) not to mention the fact that it is easier to deal with when working with larger files (videos and other projects) that might be to big to fit on the partition and then you are not in the best postition. I personally think that it would be best for you to leave it as a single drive (no partitions) then to split it up (partitions) because it actually will be easier in the long run to deal with everything as a single drive.

08-30-2005, 08:39 AM
Are you also using filevault or do you have your home directory as standard, without the encryption?

Actually if I did partition the drive, I think Id go for around 20-30GB for the OS and apps, possibly 5GB for the home/encrypted files, and the rest Id leave as a data partition, and Id leave video files there etc to work with, and if I needed to encrypt them, Id stick them in a dmg image. I have to say though that I do like the idea of having one drive for once :)


08-30-2005, 09:23 AM
also keep in mind that using firevault uses alot of space... it requires gigs of gigs of extra space to encrypt your files...

08-30-2005, 11:38 AM
I read somewhere that it takes up as much space as your home folder does - is this correct? So if my home folder is 5gb then filevault would take another 5gb?

Persuasive argument to use a dmg image it seems ;)

08-30-2005, 12:40 PM
file volt is a nice idea but a total pain in the butt!

i used and and everytime i installed a prog and/or shutdown/rebooted it would take ages reclaiming lost space back, the best thing i ever did was turn it off

08-30-2005, 04:15 PM
Good to know - thanks for sharing it really is a useful tip.
What are you guys using to encrypt your files and folders then? dmg files or something else?
Are any of you using keychain too? Or is it better avoided?

08-30-2005, 07:19 PM
tbh i dont have anything or real importance on my mac so i dont encrypt anything.

all my uni work is now done and marked so i dont see the point in encrypting family photos etc, so for me its not worth it as if i lost everything on my PB the wouldnt end

08-31-2005, 05:31 AM
Do you use keychain though? For site passwords etc? If so is it useful? If not what are you using instead? Sorry for all the questions btw....

08-31-2005, 06:40 AM
no worries mate ask away with questions :)

yes i use keychain but only for website that i hardly go to and i know i will forget the password for. I also use it for things like my MSN signon and its great so id recommend that option

08-31-2005, 09:15 AM
just been talking to a friend and found a way to make a secure image file and we found this command to use in Terminal

hdiutil create SecureDocs -size 5g -encryption -type SPARSE -fs HFS+ -volname SecureDocs

this creates a 5Gig file with the name SecureDocs and then you just drag and drop your files into it with password protection

hope that this helps you

08-31-2005, 10:29 AM
thanx for that information inflexion..

I do not encrypt anything on my powerbook since I do not have any thing incredibly important on it either..that and my password can not be cracked very easily... its such a hard password to remember, or guess. So I guess my advice to you is to come up with a good password and to change it once a month...or if it is compromised.
I would also say that you can still use firevault it you want since it would take a super computer over 1 trillion years to decode the encryption.. Just make sure that you are not going to install something new alot because like inflexion said there is alot of time to get firevault started each time there is new files on your hard drive.

08-31-2005, 01:55 PM
My problem is that Ive recently been unlucky and had a notebook stolen, and I lost alot of the data on it, luckily Id only done a backup two days before, but the point is that I still lost something. The other issue is that anyone could take the drive out of that notebook, connect it as a spare and then have a look at the contents. Some of my passwords etc I had in an encrypted database on there, but anything can be cracked if someone has the time and patience. Im hoping in this case they wont and they'll just format the drive.
Still its made me paranoid, and so on the powerbook when it comes, Id like to make sure that certain files which I consider sensitive are secure. Thanks for the terminal command, but its not 100% clear to me how you specify the password in that command. I can see the volume name, size, type, file system etc, but not a password, is that added once its created?
The only good thing actually that came from having the notebook stolen is that it was taken from work and so they had to refund me, which has enabled me to finally get a powerbook :)

08-31-2005, 02:00 PM
Don't ever use file vault unless you are some kind of VIP. It's more hassle than you need, as I have used it and I stopped because it was such a pain. Just logout or set it to were you have to put password when it comes out of sleep or screen saver. I have never done that so maybe someone can confirm this but I don't think it's just a windows thing. I guess that could solve someone being in your business first hand but as far as being protected from being hacked into if you are open on the net anyone with motivation can get into your personal business if they have the knowledge. I know plenty of people who could if they wanted to use their computer knowledge for the Dark Side.

08-31-2005, 03:29 PM
Joolz it asks you for a password when you create it, just remember to deselect the option to add it to the keychain

08-31-2005, 05:43 PM
Nice one inflexion - thanks again for the tip, think it will be something i'll try - cheers mate