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  #1  
Old 05-08-2021, 04:10 PM
Guy Kuo Guy Kuo is offline
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Filevaulted Catalina cannot boot from USB on 2012/2013 MacBook Pro

Was trying to create encrypted backup after changing from Mojave to Catalina. Followed the instructions for making a fresh, unencrypted clone and then booting off the clone and enabling FileVault to encrypt the clone.

Took a few days of failed, repeated cloning and smart update attempts with various versions of SuperDuper (even 3.5.2 beta) before finally finding the underlying issue with why I could not boot from my encrypted clones.

Catalina won't boot from USB after Filevault is enabled on MacBook Pro 10,1 (late 2012 / mid 2013).

One can select and start booting the clone via option key, but boot process hangs after apple logo appears.

The same Filevault encrypted clone WILL boot on newer machines, but not on my Macbook Pro 10,1 machines.

Apparently this is a Catalina issue that was previously noted in the CCC site. It's not a SuperDuper issue, but a USB boot problem if Catalina is Filevaulted.

I get no boot problem if not FileVaulted, but some of my clones legally must be encrypted filevaulted during transport.

At least I know I can update and maintain an encrypted clone, but recovery will require an intermediate, un-encrypted boot volume.

One other tip: remove all instances of your external drive from keychain before attempting a smart update with SuperDuper. If multiple entries are in the keychain, ASR will ask for your keychain password MANY times and may still fail to copy the system volume.

Last edited by Guy Kuo; 05-08-2021 at 04:21 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-08-2021, 09:58 PM
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dnanian dnanian is offline
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I've booted many times from a FileVaulted USB Catalina volume... must be, as you said, your old MacBook Pro...
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Old 05-09-2021, 06:05 AM
Guy Kuo Guy Kuo is offline
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Yes. It's definitely only happening on my 10,1 Macbook Pros (mid 2012 and early 2013). My newer machines are able to boot from USB with a FileVaulted Catalina Clone. This USB/Filevault booting issue with 2012's was also reported for Mac Mini's.

I posted the issue here to save some poor soul from having to figure out the issue the hard, long way. It was a couple days of cloning, filevaulting, and smart updating, attempted booting with three different versions of SuperDuper before I discovered the clones were actually OK post Filevault encryption. The Macbook Pro 10,1 machines are simply incapable of booting from Filevault encrypted USB drives. I have not tried with thunderbolt drives.

SuperDuper 3.3.1 is creating Catalina 10.15.7 (build 19H1030) clones just fine via erase and copy. Also, smart update works on the FileVaulted clones. One just cannot boot from them due to some weird limitation of the Apple hardware or firmware of that age.

I had some ASR failures happen near end of system files copy with SD 3.5 b2, but it might have been due to multiple keychain entries of the same name for external drives.

If I didn't have to carry some of my backup drives on a regular basis, I'd be somewhat OK without whole disc encryption. Unfortunately, FileVault encryption is the bare minimum I need. So, I can't run around without FileVaulted clones.

If I need to do a full recovery, I'll just have to use a bootable, unencrypted "tool" volume that has SuperDuper, boot off that, and use it to copy back the FileVaulted clone. Less convenient, but still doable.
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Old 05-09-2021, 08:32 AM
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dnanian dnanian is offline
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Unfortunately, if there are UEFI firmware issues with encryption on some systems, there's little we can do to work around them... remember, though, you can always migrate from an encrypted copy. So you could reinstall the OS, then migrate during first boot when prompted to restore...
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Old 05-09-2021, 03:10 PM
Guy Kuo Guy Kuo is offline
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Thanks. The migration route is nice alternative.

I just tested with a Thunderbolt drive. This FileVault boot failure issue does NOT affect that interface. It's only with USB that the 2012 machines fail to boot FileVaulted Catalina.
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