Problems logging into filevault account

R7AF
R7AF used Ask the Experts™
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I have my standard account transformed into a filevault account. Since then I have troubles logging into the account. When I start the computer, and I try to log into the account, I see the background image, but no dock, no menu, and the mouse "wheel of fortune" keeps on running round and round.

Then I have to force a reboot by holding the power button down. And then it works normally. I tried to see if logging into another account first made a difference, but no.

So after closing my computer down at night, the following day I need to startup, log in, force a hard reboot, and then log in again.
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Commented:
That does sound odd. Just something to try, you may try disabling filevault. See if you get the same problem. If you do then it is not filevault causing the problem, (though filevault may have caused the problem originally it isn't continuing to cause the problem). If you don't still have the problem try to turn it back on and see if the problem reappears. If the actually process of using filevault is causing the problem then it is possible it may clear up after disabling and then reenabling filevault. This is just something to try.
Top Expert 2007

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Commented:
Logging into a normal account is no problem. Until last week I had a normal account, and never a problem. So I guess it has to do with filevault, but going back is not the solution I want to hear. I know I can do that, and in the end I may do it, but not for now.

Commented:
Well, I'm not suggesting you turn it off for good. Merely try turning it off then testing the account, then turn it back on. This does two things.

1. If something wasn't encrypted improperly and thus has problems being unencrypted at login, you may be able to fix the problem by turning Filevault off and then back on as it will essentially redo everything and will hopefully not have the problem when you turn Filevault back on. It's kind of like a reboot for Filevault.

2. It will help narrow down the problem by determining if the issue is an ongoing problem caused by the operation of Filevault or if this is merely a problem that was created by Filevault when it was first turned on and is now an independent issue. Essentially what I'm saying is the problem could be caused by the Filevault process itself in which case turning off Filevault would remove the problem, or since Filevault works quite extensively with the hard drive it is possible it corrupted some files when you turn it on. If that is the case then turning off Filevault will most likely not fix the problem because the files are still corrupted.
Top Expert 2007

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Commented:
I unencrypted the account, and the problems were gone. Then I encrypted it again, but had the same problems, after which I unencrypted it another time.

When I used filevault, I had another annoying problem. I use Firefox as default browser. But when using filevault, everytime I started Safari, it set itself as default browser. I use Safari quite often for some sites that don't work well with Firefox, and everytime FF alerted me with the message that it wasn't the default browser anymore. This problem disappeared after reverting to a normal account.
Commented:
So this show that the problem was not simply caused by an erroneous encryption of data.

What programs do you have set to startup at login time. Unfortunately there are some applications that simply do not work properly when FileVault is turned on. My guess is there are some third party applications which have this problem and are attempting to load at login time. Therefore the lack of a dock and the spinning wheel are a result of these applications trying to load but failing but not quitting themselves. Thus they continue to hold on to system resources in an attempt to finish loading and since they won't ever load they prevent other processes, such as the Dock, from loading as well and you mouse cursor just spins away.

That may not be the answer you are looking for but unfortunately FileVault is not perfect and you will often run into problems with just about any encryption software that attempts to encrypt an entire user's home directory.

That being said, there are alternatives to FileVault that might work better. If you Google "filevault alternative" you will come up with a whole slew of other possible encryption softwares.

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