I currently have a three (3) drive setup with OS X Lion.

/ Boot /Volumes/Home (My Home Directory) /Volumes/Time Machine (Time Machine Backup)

The Boot and Time Machine volumes are both encrypted via FileVault 2.

If I attempt to encrypt my external Home Drive, the only way I can login with my main user is to login as a separate user, that exists on local disk (Boot), that has permissions to mount the volume Home.

Is there a way to get the OS to mount the Home volume on Boot rather than on login? Either that or tie it's mounting with the login of my main user?

Would try to convert it by adding it to the Boot Volume's Volume Group make any difference?


Until Apple fixes the bug (who knows if they will, average users will never do something this advanced) you can get around this by using this script I wrote. It leverages the fact that LaunchDaemons are executed before the system actually logs a user in to unlock and mount the home drive.

  • Please, can you add to the README an explanation of whether/where the password is stored? Thanks. – Graham Perrin Aug 7 '11 at 20:50
  • The passphrase is stored in the System Keychain. I've also updated the readme with this info. – Justin Aug 12 '11 at 2:28
  • Thanks. I should not recommend using System in that way. Is there an alternative that's more secure? In Ask Different under Mount home sparsebundle when SSH an answer is thought-provoking. – Graham Perrin Aug 12 '11 at 5:58
  • Issues would be better discussed on the github page, but I'll look into it. – Justin Aug 12 '11 at 20:38

according to daniel jalkut of red sweater software,

"there appears to be a bug in the login process that will prevent a user whose home directory is on an encrypted (“locked”) secondary volume from being able to log in. It seems that whatever logic Apple applies to unlock volumes at login time is not applied early enough to allow the actual login to occur...

For this reason, make sure that you have a valid account to log in to whose home directory is located on the main startup volume. In my experience, the process of logging in to this main-volume account will prompt the system to ask for the secondary volume’s password in order to unlock it. Once the secondary volume is unlocked, you can log out and log back in to your regular account, with the home directory on the secondary volume.

This bug is pretty annoying. Hopefully this is something that Apple will get fixed soon, and it may be for bugs like this that they haven’t enabled full-disk encryption as a full-fledged user-facing feature of the operating system."


  • if anyone has a link to a rdar bug, i'd love to track it... – yanokwa Jul 28 '11 at 4:48

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