I bought a G-Drive 8TB external USB-C hard drive to use as a Time Machine disk for my new 15" 2018 MacBook which is appointed with 32GB of RAM & 4TB SSD storage. Snappiest MacBook you can buy, or should be...

It's taking FOREVER to provision the 8TB G-Drive Time Machine disk- about a WEEK has elapsed since the process started and "Time Machine" in System Preferences still shows the status as "Encrypting" and is only HALFWAY completed while running continuously.

The G-Drive disk is USB-C and the connection to it from the MacBook is native USB-C (no adapter used). There's no settings in OSX to tweak to improve encryption performance: only Time Machine "Options" to choose are: "Backup while on battery power" and "Notify after old backups deleted". Neither is relevant.

Am I missing a trick here, or are others experiencing the same excruciating slowness trying to provision a large Time Machine disk? If so, have you found a fix?

Would also be interested in hearing from folks using similarly large disks from other storage vendors and their experience in respect to performance when provisioning a large encrypted Time Machine disk.

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    Do you have any existing data stored on the drive you want to save? - Or can you just reformat the drive as encrypted and be done with it? – jksoegaard Mar 21 at 9:52
  • Already showing in Disk Utility as "CoreStorage Logical Volume • Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted)" – F1Linux Mar 21 at 9:53
  • Note: I do not think it is meant to take weeks or months at all. Most recently I setup a 5 TB disk for encrypted Time Machine backups, and I remember it as taking some time - but it definitely wasn't weeks, but rather something I setup and let it run overnight, and it was done there. – jksoegaard Mar 21 at 9:54
  • I totally agree. This is crazy. IT's like trying to fill a bathtub with a dripping tap! – F1Linux Mar 21 at 9:55
  • I know it is already showing as that - it is already set for encryption, and everything you write to is encrypted. But it is in progress with encrypting what was already on the drive before you enabled encryption. The thing is though, that if you format and enable encryption as an option when formatting, the system knows that you do not care about existing data, and the process is then much, much quicker. – jksoegaard Mar 21 at 9:57

The reason it is taking long time is that the system is currently in progress encrypting all the pre-existing data on your disk. So the disk is already an "encrypted" disk according to the file system format, and any data you write to it will be automatically encrypted. However there are still remnants of old data on disk that is not encrypted yet, but is in the process of being encrypted.

The problem is that the system treats the whole disk as something that needs to be encrypted, no matter if the remnant data was actually something you used to hold vital data, or it is just never-used or long-gone data areas that hold nothing of interest. It simply has to process it all. The process has a low priority and speed because it usually can take place in the background while you use the computer (and disk) for other stuff.

The quick fix if you haven't got any pre-existing data to save is simply to reformat the drive. When you reformat it, please select it to be Encrypted, Journaled HFS+ in Disk Utility, as the disk will be reformatted as encrypted right away. The old data is not going to be processed, therefore it should be done very quickly.

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