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Daniel, Mac Genius
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 4770
Experience:  Apple certified on desktop and portable, help desk qualified. Have owned and used Macs since 1989.
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I was my computer a few hours this afternoon, didnt modify

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I was my computer a few hours this afternoon, didn't modify any settings. I turned it back on half an hour ago and I can't login. The message showing up says "your home folder, which is protected by file vault, didn't open. It needs to be be repaired". I then click ok to continue logging in and I am unable to login. How do I fix this? I've restarted numerous times and same thing. I also don't remember my master password.
Hello, my name is Dan.
I will do my best to help you, the only stupid question is the unasked one.

You may have a fatal problem here.
What I mean by that is: without the master password XXXXX is a good chance that all data stored in that encrypted home folder could be unrecoverable.
The reason is that there is no back door to allow bypassing the entry.
You may be able to repair it however, it will require the installation disks or, if you have Lion/Mountain Lion the ability to boot to the recovery drive by holding the Option key when starting up.
That will open the startup manager, this is true from the disk or the Lion recovery drive.

To boot from the installation disc and the Mac is on then start at step #1.

If your Mac is off or will not boot from the hard drive then goto step #3.

1. Insert disc #1, it can be the original that came with your Mac or it can be a retail version newer than the original that came with the Mac.
If you have Lion then inserting the disk will not be necessary.

2. If the disc opens then click on the Install OS X icon, if it does not automatically open then double click the disk icon on the desk top and then click Install OS X.
Your Mac will restart using the install disk.

3. If your Mac is on but will not boot up then insert the installation disk and turn it off by pressing and holding the power until it shuts down.
Now press the power to start it and hold the 'Option' key until the startup manager appears.
If your Mac is off then press the power to start it up, immediately press and hold the 'Option' key for the startup manager.
Insert the disc and click the circle with the arrow to refresh and then select the installation disc to boot from.

Once your Mac is booted from the installation disk or the recovery drive the next step is to open Disk Utility.
Click continue at the Language screen, the next screen will be the Welcome to OS X.
At the very top of the screen will be a menubar with 'Utilities', from that drop-down menu select 'Disk Utility'.
There will be a list of hard drives and optical drives on the left of the window, if your drive is in that list then click on it once to highlight.
Now click on the First Aid tab, at the bottom of the Disk Utility window you will see a button called Repair Disk.
Select that by clicking on it. It will either return that everything is okay or that some things were wrong and they were repaired or it found something wrong and it can do nothing about it.
If everything checks out okay or if it does the repairs you then want to repair the permissions.
There will be a button close to the list of drives that says Repair Permissions. Click that to selected and give it time.
There may be a long list of permissions that repairs or there may be only a few.
There will also be some that say SUID that will not be repaired if you have 10.5 or above.
Once you have completed this then you can quit Disk Utility and the installer.
Do Not Install Anything.
Simply restart your machine by selecting it from the menu bar.

Now you may be able to access your encrypted home folder.

Let me know.
Daniel and 2 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I haven't tried anything you just suggested as I don't have the software disks with me, but I just opened the screen again and it's now asking for my master password. I got to this by typing in my previous login password. I have a master password XXXXX but I'm worried about typing in anything. Do I only get one shot at the master password?
Please explain which password this is. Is it the user name password for logging into your computer at startup?
I mean you power it up and it shows a screen with a list to choose from, you select yours and then it asks for a password?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
It was the username password. I typed in the one I had before my current password. And then it came up with another login window but this time asking for my master password. It's also displaying a master password hint, and says "type the master password to reset users password and to unlock file vault". I'm not 100% sure what the master password is. Do I only get one try at the master password?
You do know the current password? I mean the one that I assume works.
You get more than one try but I suggest restarting if that is a choice or select Go back.
The master password (if you did what I think you did) is like a firmware password that will lock the machine so that no access is granted without it.
It can be bypassed but requires hardware modification to do so.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I know the current password. I selected Go Back and tried to login again but am still unable to log in. If I take my laptop into an Apple store will they be able to fix it?
Yes but you may not like the way they do it. It may wipe the drive and lose all your data or it may not. You have that choice before they do anything.
I suggest first try to repair the drive with the way I sent you. It will do no harm.
Ut may take care of this enough to make it useable.
I have never used FileVault or a master password to lock my Macs, no reason to.
I assume you have good reason. The reason I do not is if something goes wrong this can be the result.
If you have a backup like Time Machine then resetting the Mac to factory defaults would be a god way to go.
Then if you do feel the need to secure it make a record of the passwords so that you do not fear forgetting them.
I have redundant backups, and passwords in a secure location (I have a few hundred passwords) to keep track of it all.

To reset the master password remove one memory card and boot up from the recovery or install DVD.
The Apple store can help you with that, you may have to mention it as they may over look it or not want to.

Let me know what you decide to do.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I found my install disks. I reinstalled the OS X system to my external hard drive, and luckily all my precious pictures and videos were all spared. These are all backed up now and I'm never using File Vault again. Now I just have to reinstall my apps and Bluetooth devices.

Thanks so much for all your help Daniel. I really appreciate it.
I love it when a plan comes together.
Happy to hear the good news, FileVault has it purpose but using it means precautions need to be taken, Apple does not stress that near enough.
Thanks for the update. You are quite welcome.

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