I'm trying to encrypt an external drive of mine using Apple's built in drive encryption tool into OS X through Finder.

The drive is formatted as Mac OS Extended(Journaled) and I'm plugging the drive through USB 2.0. Also I'm running Mavericks with all the latest updates.

Even though after a restart or switching to another Mac, I'm getting the following error:

Unable to create a new Core Storage logical volume group.

Any suggestions?

  • How do you plug-in your external hard drive? How do you try and encrypt the drive?
    – Frizlab
    Commented Nov 13, 2013 at 9:56
  • Sorry about my sluggish explanation. Please see my updated question. Commented Nov 13, 2013 at 12:43
  • Sorry I can't help you then, I don't know where is the problem.
    – Frizlab
    Commented Nov 13, 2013 at 16:52

1 Answer 1


OK, I'm running El Capitan OS X 10.11. The Apple app "Disk Utility" is useless to create encryption, as it typically returns

Operation Failed with status 28

So the fix is to use a little terminal magic. After adding your USB drive to the Mac, run terminal At the command-line prompt, enter:

diskutil list

You will see your main (internal) disk listed, as well as your USB:

/dev/disk0 (internal, physical):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *500.3 GB   disk0
   1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk0s1
   2:          Apple_CoreStorage Macintosh HD            499.4 GB   disk0s2
   3:                 Apple_Boot Recovery HD             650.1 MB   disk0s3
/dev/disk1 (internal, virtual):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:                  Apple_HFS Macintosh HD           +499.1 GB   disk1
                                 Logical Volume on disk0s2
                                 Unlocked Encrypted
/dev/disk2 (external, physical):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:     FDisk_partition_scheme                        *31.5 GB    disk2
   1:             Windows_FAT_32 KINGSTON                31.5 GB    disk2s1

You can spot your external drive by its size -- mine is 32 GB, which, after overhead is around 31.5. In other words, its name is KINGSTON at drive identifier disk2s1. Now, using your USB drive's device identifier in place of disk2s1, pick a suitable name for your new drive. I like thing2:

diskutil eraseDisk JHFS+ thing2 /dev/disk2

About 30 seconds of progress later, you should get:

Finished erase on disk2

Now, open a Finder window, and right click your newly named disk. Pick the option encrypt . In my case, the USB 3.0 encryption took about 12 minutes of effort for 32 GB (45MB/s write). You will know you are done, when the drive activity light goes out.

  • I can't try it out at the moment but will give it a try when I have the chance. Thanks. Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 8:51

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