Mysterious Multi-Restart Logins Plague File Vault MacBook Users [Updatedx2]



MacBook users are reporting that they are experiencing an issue after installing full disk encryption using File Vault. The problem manifests itself by automatically restarting the MacBook after it is turned on and restarted once already forcing the user to login twice before actually reaching their desk top.

Although the problem doesn’t seem wide-spread it is an interesting one that I am also experiencing on my MacBook Air.  A discussion,  Why does Lion immediately reboot with FileVault Enabled?, on Apple’s Support Community forums describes the problem. Here’s the process peschkaj goes through when the problem manifests itself:

  1. Shutdown the laptop
  2. Do something else (take a nap, eat a sandwich, whatever)
  3. Boot laptop
  4. Log in
    Here I get the little grey pinwheel for a while (30+ seconds, far longer that I’d expect with either a brand new Air or a 2010 MBP 15″)
  5. Experience an immediate reboot.
  6. Log in
  7. ???

In my case on my 2011 MacBook Air I get the Finder desktop when I hit step 7.

It isn’t clear why the problem is occurring, but I also saw a 2010 model 13-inch MacBook Air spontaneously restart three times while sitting at the File Vault login screen (which is different from the normal one) for full disk encryption.  That computer had full disk encryption turned on and once it was shut down it was okay the next time it was turned on. Afterwards it did not spontaneously restart again.

Full disk encryption in Mac OS X Lion using File Vault was one of the biggest things I was looking forward to when I got Lion. However, these weird quirks have made me reconsider using it and so I’ve switched back to using virtual disks to store private information using one of my favorite utilities – TrueCrypt.

Calls to AppleCare and speaking to a Senior Advisor haven’t led to a fix yet and a bug report was submitted to Apple Engineering.

Are you experiencing any problems with File Vault and full disk encryption after upgrading to Mac OS X Lion?

Updated 09/15/2011 at 3:30 AM PDT: According to Cult of Mac readers in the comments section below the problem may be caused by an interaction between Parallels Desktop 6 and 7 and Mac OS X Lion 10.7.1. There is additional discussion on Parallels forums which indicates they are aware of the problem, but it isn’t clear if the person making this statement is a Parallels employee or not. I’ll be testing this theory later today and I’ll reach out to Parallels for comment. I’ll update this post again once I get more information.

Updated 09/22/2011 at 06:03 AM PDT:  Installing the latest version of Parallels Desktop 7 resolved this problem for myself and most users that I’ve spoken too.

  • Zachary Kline

    Not me. It always seemed to work quite well for the time I used it. I don’t now for unrelated reasons, but when I did it worked nicely.

  • BeauGiles

    Happened to me; uninstalled a few things and it went away (Parallels Desktop 7 springs to mind). Not sure if it’s an application or OS X itself causing it. hrm.

  • andersonshatch

    No problems with my 2011 MacBook Pro with FileVault turned on. *touch wood*

  • tekunoloji

    My 2011 13″ Air has problems waking up from sleep. And when its power drains completely, I plug the MagSafe in and it doesn’t restore. I have to manually shutdown and restart.

  • BB Caspian

    Well, see shit happens when Steve’s not around!

  • EasyOSX

    I’ve enabled it for a review that I’m doing of it, but besides a slower bootup time, I haven’t noticed this problem.

  • Lucien Dol

    I am experiencing exactly the same problem! I had not yet linked it to my full disk encryption, but it behaves exactly like described above. Every restart causes another restart, forcing me to log in twice. The second time always works fine.
    Luckily I don’t have to reboot too often.
    Hope they find a fix soon.

  • dt-travis

    On my 2009 MacBook (first Unibody) the same. Two restarts bevor launching the finder.

  • marcus_platt

    Count me in also on my 2011 MacBook Air. Once I disabled Filevault my speedy bootups returned. 

  • patelpranay1

    This is called the newest technology feature. Thank you for sharing this with us. Really appreciabe one. 

  • AlexisDayton

    Funny I don’t have any problems with it and I’ve been using since the day after I bought my MBA.

  • Fabio

    I have exactly the same problem you are describing on my late 2010 MBA …

  • Der_Hexer

    Not experiencing here with a MBP2011 and Intel x25, 8 GB RAM.
    A more serious problem for me is, that I can’t encrypt my external 3TB Western Digital HDD.
    No FileVault2, no TrueCrypt.
    Apple Care couldn’t help either.
    Su**s big time!

  • Frully

    My reboot problems started after I installed Parallels 7. There’s an Apple Discussions Thread about it. <https: 16133462=”””” message=””></https:>

  • Pingu

    I am in a similar situation to “Frully” below, after I installed Parallels 7 I starting having this problem.

  • DavidWMartin

    The loss of the speedy boot makes sense this is the cost of having the encryption in the first place. I’d rather sacrifice speed over security.

  • marcus_platt

    I could accept an minor increase in boot time, as you say it’s un-ecrypting the HD, it’s the fact it restarts the boot process halfway through the 1st boot up that makes it slow.

  • Jeremiah Peschka

    Interesting. I did read that it’s possible for there to be an application conflict where a script or program is executing, causing OS X to basically say “Oh, hell no” and then promptly reboot. I’m wondering if that might be the case. Since the Air is the laptop that leaves the house, I suppose I could get by without Parallels installed or else install it only when I need it. Either way, I can try removing it and see what happens. I think that’s the only piece of software that could still have been running something on boot.

  • Tiff

    Yes (lol)!

  • DavidWMartin

    It could be worse – go look at what PC users have to do with a product called (I think) SafeGuard Easy – they have to have two completely separate logins whereas here, when it works, we only have one.

  • Mirko

    Had the same problem with a Mac Pro. An update for Parallels 7 released yesterday fixed it. 

  • Pingu

    I installed the latest Parallels 7 update and the problem is solved. Well done Parallels for fixing it promptly.

  • Ldyngrn

    Totally removing Parallels Desktop 6 and secure deleting it off my computer and restarting it fixed it it only needed one boot. Thanks you gys you figured it out now it’s time for them to make a statement conceding that program.THE problem is caused by an interaction between  and 7 and Mac OS X Lion 10.7.1.Thanks again…..

  • Robert

    I’m having this exact issue – I believe it is FileVault related.  Did a full reinstall and computer sleeps fine.  After switching Filevault on (the only change) it is now not waking from Hibernate after complete power drain.  I’m switching off Filevault until Apple fixes this one.

  • Edward__k

    Had exactly the same problems on 2011 MBA with Lion
    Installed Parallels 7.0.14922 and problems solved!!
    Thanks for the tip!