OS X Lion: Unable to log in to FileVault-protected user account after network migration from 10.6


After performing a network migration from Mac OS X v10.6 to OS X Lion, you may be unable to log in to a FileVault-protected account on the new computer. If unable to log into the account, the following alert appears:

"You are unable to log in to the FileVault user account 'username' at this time. Logging in to the account failed because an error occurred."


The FileVault account will need to be removed and then re-created on the new computer. 

  1. Enable the root user on the computer, and log in as root.
  2. Go to System Preferences. Click Accounts. Unlock the preference pane if needed.
  3. Select the affected account. Make note of its exact name.
  4. Click the minus sign to remove the account.

    Note: You will be unable to remove an Administrator account if it is the only admin account remaining on the computer. In this case, create a new, temporary admin account. You will then be able to remove the original account. Follow the remaining steps in this article, and then remove the temporary admin account once you are done.
  5. Select "Don't change the home folder" when prompted, and click OK.
  6. Once the account has been removed, navigate to the /Users folder in Finder. Rename the old home folder, removing (Deleted) from the folder name. 
  7. Recreate the account by clicking the + icon, making sure to use the same "account name" as before. This should match the name of the folder in /Users.
  8. When prompted with "The Users folder already contains a folder with the same name as the home folder for this account", click "Use Existing Folder".  
  9. Verify that you can now log in to the affected account, and all of the files from the source computer are present.

Note: FileVault will be disabled for the account in question once it has been re-created, and the affected users' data will no longer be encrypted. FileVault can then be re-enabled on the account (in the Security preferences pane) if you wish. When you re-enable FileVault in OS X Lion, FileVault 2 and full disk encryption will be used instead of Legacy File Vault.

Last Modified: Jun 13, 2012
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  • Last Modified: Jun 13, 2012
  • Article: TS4184
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