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Secure data with FileVault (10.4/5)

Whether you use your computer for work or personal use, there are bound to be files and information stored on the hard disk drive that you wouldn't want other people to see. For example, home or business accounts, bank and other financial information, contact details, your CV and so on. If your computer fell into the wrong hands - if it was stolen or someone managed to acess it while you weren't around - they could easily access this sensitive information. They might even be able to impersonate you online or steal your identity. It's best to secure your personal data.

There's a built in feature called FileVault that works by encrypting your Home folder. This contains all your personal files (unless you've chosen to store files elsewhere, of course), and it's a great way to secure your data.

Click the Apple menu at the top right corner of the screen and select Sytem Preferences. Click Security in the Personal section and then click FileVault. Click the Turn On FielVault button to encrypt your home folder. You'll need to supply a password - don't ever forget it because you can't access your files without it. After all, that's the whole idea of the feature!

Don't corrupt your backup (10.4/5)

Do you back up the hard disk drive just in case of problems? If the answer is No, you should seriously consider it because reliable as computers are these days, there is always a remote possibility that something could go wrong and having a backup is a life-saver.

In the previous tip FileVault was recommended for encrypting your personal files so that no-one else can access them. However, this can cause problems with backup software. When you are logged on, the FileVault (your encrypted Home folder), is open and is constantly in use. If you run a backup program, such as Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper, there is a risk that your Home folder will be backed up as it is being updated. This will cause the backup to be corrupted. It's pointless backing up if your backup won't work!

The solution is to create another user account - click the Apple menu, System Preferences, Accounts - and then to log on with this account instead of your own. When you are logged on with another account your FileVault is closed and you can run your backup software and safely copy the hard disk drive. There's no risk of corruption.

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