Mac OS X has a built in encryption utility called File Vault. File Vault takes your user folder and puts It into a Sparse Image. A sparse image is like a virtual HD that is encrypted with a password. This feature in OS X is very useful for people with very sensitive customer data or information. But what about the average user? Is this safety feature really needed? Well, lets look at the pros and cons of File Vault


-Allows for User Protection from unwanted visitors
-Gives you a very easy to back up image in case of a HD Failure – Keeps your user folder clean by automatically cleaning up unused system files


-If you forget your password, you can forget about your data. There is no way to override the encryption – If the sparseimage gets corrupted, your data is forever stuck in an unusable image
-If the above mentioned happens, most data recovery software can not get through the encryption
– It causes shut down to slow down, as the automatic cleaning is time consuming

So, File vault is not for the average user due to the high risk of losing data. I know of many people this has happened to and it is very frustrating. But, if you have sensitive data do not let file vault scare you. Use it! It is a good tool as long as you backup your home folder often



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