Configure File System Protection
- Difficulty: Easy
- Time required: 10 min or less
- Extra devices: none
How to Disable File System Protection in macOS High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, or Big Sur
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In order to recover lost data from your startup drive, Disk Drill requires read-only access to it. To grant this level of access on macOS 10.13 or newer you need to disable file system protection. This is part of the System Integrity Protection module (SIP or “rootless”) introduced in macOS El Capitan and substantially tightened in High Sierra and newer macOS releases.
Note: Partially disabling SIP is absolutely safe and simple! Once you are done with data recovery, you can re-enable it again.
Step #1: Reboot your Mac
Click the Apple menu on your Mac’s menu bar and select Restart.
Step #2: Boot into macOS Recovery Mode
Hold down Command + R on your keyboard immediately after your Mac begins to restart. Continue holding both keys until you see the Apple logo or a spinning globe. Startup is complete when you see the Utilities window.
Step #3: Run Terminal app
Next, click the Utilities menu and choose Terminal. The Terminal window will appear on your screen.
Step #4: Disable file system protection
Type the following command in Terminal and press Return:
csrutil enable --without fs
The system will respond with something like this:
Congratulations! You are almost done.
Final step: Back to Disk Drill
Now just reboot your Mac using the same Apple menu – choose Restart. Once you are back to your desktop in a regular mode, feel free to run Disk Drill, and proceed with your data recovery as you normally would.
Check the success by typing ‘csrutil status’ in Terminal at any moment. You should see something like this:
System Integrity Protection status: enabled (Custom Configuration) Filesystem Protections: disabled
Alternatively, you can use Disk Drill’s Recovery Boot Drive to avoid using Terminal yourself, Disk Drill will then offer another tiny app, SIP Manage, that will run the needed commands itself in the background.
If you are concerned with your security while SIP is partially disabled, you may take your Mac offline by disconnecting from your wired or wireless network. Though it’s not that necessary, as your file system (the protection of which you just disabled temporarily) is not accessible to anything or anyone from outside of this computer.
To complete data recovery from the startup disk on macOS 10.13+, we also recommend connecting your Mac in Target Disk Mode or running your data recovery from a boot drive.
We are aware of similar cases when users can’t access their internal drives even though their computers boot from external storage devices. When this happens, most probably your internal drive still happens to be under active protection of SIP (System Integrity Protection). This is exactly why you are reading this guide. Just disable SIP on your Mac for the time when you need to recover data from your internal drives. It’s simple and totally safe, you can re-enable it back after your files are recovered.
If your external drive is utilized as a storage for Time Machine backups, macOS Catalina (10.15) or newer might be automatically protecting as part of SIP. Recently, we have posted a detailed note on this issue.
.updated: June 3, 2021 author: