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I chose a 1T external drive for time machine and checked the "encrypt backups" option. I thought it will only encrypt the backups, but as it seems it is now encrypting the whole drive which has quite some data on it and is not SSD ;). Is there a way to cancel the encryption process? I turned off Time Machine and chose another drive for it.

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Whatever you do, let the process finish, backup everything, then tinker with the settings. If you mess up while your files are encrypted, you are royally screwed. –  Thomas Aug 15 '12 at 0:22
    
This is my only real complaint with OSX. Once the process is started some machines basically become unusable. It shouldn't be this easy to render my workstation unusable for the next 3 days: This is OSX and it's not Linux, they are supposed to be protecting me from myself. Until now I've never thought twice about clicking a dialog in OSX. Thanks Apple. –  Nathan C. Tresch Sep 30 '12 at 23:56
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2 Answers

Yes, in 10.9 you can roll it back while its busy encrypting

diskutil cs revert /Volumes/title_drive -passphrase

You will then be promted with the OS X password unlock/decrypt dialog. After that it starts decrypting.

Check the status with

diskutil cs list

Look for "Conversion Progress" and check if "Conversion Direction:" is set to "backward"

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Maybe try highlighting the drive in disk utility, go to "File > Turn Off Encryption". If that isn't possible while the encryption is in progress, there probably is no 'nice' way of stopping it. In that case your best bet would be to wait it out, or risk making a mess - Like Thomas said.

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