I use an (Mac OS - journaled formatted) external Lacie harddrive to back up my Macbook Air via Time Machine (The external harddrive also contain other data besides my backups). The OS is Mountain Lion, and I have chosen to encrypt my backups in the settings from the Time Machine preferences.

The backup initiates automatically when the two devices are connected, and I had to interrupt it because I needed to leave, along with the Mac. I did so, by cancelling the backup, waiting a couple of seconds, but seeing as the backup symbol kept spinning, I pulled the cable and hurried of with the machine.

Now the external harddrive will not mount when connected. It is visible in Disk Utility, but cannot be activated. When you unplug the cable (thereby disconnecting the external harddrive) it suddenly asks for the password to the external drive.
I gather that something went wrong during the cancelling of the backup, where it was encrypting.

Can I somehow lift this encryption-gone-wild and get access to my data again? Thank you very much

  • 1
    Can you attach a screenshot of what you see in disk utility? Also post a screen shot of when it asks for a password. – spuder Aug 18 '13 at 16:01
  • waiting a couple of seconds... Pulled the external cable and hurried off... Hopefully you've taken away the lesson that you don't do that. Impatience and disk drives do not go together. If the operation has not completed, even with a journaled file system, there will be issues, especially when encryption is involved. – Fiasco Labs Aug 18 '13 at 16:39
  • @FiascoLabs Even worse, "as the backup symbol kept spinning, I pulled the cable". So the backup was still running, quite possibly writing data to the drive, as the drive lost both system connectivity and power. To say that's a potentially bad situation is putting it rather mildly... – a CVn Aug 18 '13 at 18:39
  • Which is why I left it to someone else to point out. Try doing it on a server sometime. Much hilarity ensues. True life excuse --> "The printer wasn't working and so I wiggled the cords to see if the mainframe was getting power." Mainframe being the main ERP server, can you guess why Dell servers come with those lugs that the power cord gets tie-wrapped to so it cannot be pulled out? Too bad Compaq did not have the same setup at the time. – Fiasco Labs Aug 18 '13 at 19:03

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