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My macbook has recently gone up in flames, mostly, and I now find myself in the position of attempting to recover data from its drive.

I was using file vault to protect almost all of my data. How would I go about retrieving data from the file vault, now that I no longer have a laptop to plug it into?

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I can't help you, but I guess it's important to know: I assume you still know the password? – Arjan Jan 8 '10 at 14:50
Yes, I did still know the password. Turns out that forgetting the vault password is the main cause of problems here - I was lucky to have stored it in a password storing service. – blueberryfields Apr 26 '12 at 16:27
up vote 4 down vote accepted

This assumes that the hard drive is physically intact. This came up on the Apple Discussion Boards for 10.5. Put the drive into a 2.5" enclosure and hook it up to another Mac. Use an Admin account (call it user2) to mount user1's FileVault using the following command in Terminal:

sudo hdiutil attach /Volumes/UpInFlames/Users/user1/user1.sparsebundle

where UpInFlames is the volume name of your MacBook drive. You'll need the password of the user2 as well as the password on the sparsebundle.

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The password of the sparsebundle is the filevault password? – Matt Mar 31 '13 at 10:30
I would assume so, yes. I haven't tried this. – fideli Apr 2 '13 at 2:21

Once the drive is accessible, for example, as fideli pointed out in a external drive case... You should be able to just go to the users folder on the drive, and double click on the file vault disk image.... The Disk Mount should then request the password, and then Bob's your uncle...

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