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Locked Out Of an Encrypted External Drive

I forgot the password to an external drive I encrypted with ML which has rendered it unusable. I don’t care about the contents, I simply want to wipe the drive so I can use it. But every time I plug in to try and do so, it asks for a password. So is it possible to somehow bypass the password and have it show in disk utility so I can wipe out or is there some other alternative method or am I out of luck here and can no longer use the drive?

Comments: 4 Responses to “Locked Out Of an Encrypted External Drive”

    7 years ago

    I know what you mean. You can’t do it in Disk Utility. Not sure why — probably just an oversight. The “Erase” button is grayed out when it shouldn’t be.
    Anyway, the Terminal to the rescue. This command lists the drives:
    > diskutil cs list
    So look for the external drive and get its Logical Volume Group ID. It is a weird long string of characters.
    Then use that string in the next command:
    > diskutil cs delete VOLUMEGROUPID
    That does it. Just tested it myself. The only problem is the danger of using the wrong volume ID. So check and double check.

    7 years ago

    Okay, I followed your steps. I pasted the “Logical Volume Group ID” after the command “diskutil cs delete VOLUMEGROUPID” and this is what I got…
    Usage: diskutil coreStorage delete lvgUUID
    Delete a CoreStorage logical volume group. All logical volumes will be removed.
    Ownership of the affected disk is required….

    I tried it a couple of times but always the same thing and I still cannot access the disk. Am I following the correct procedure?

      7 years ago

      Are you replacing VOLUMEGROUPID with your volume group id? So the command is “diskutil cs delete” followed by a space, followed by your long volume group id string.

    Joseph Allen
    7 years ago

    I think Gary has given us toooo much power with this command. Contact with a 3rd party should be required for such an action. This would provide an audit trail in cases of vandalism.

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