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my question: When selecting encryption during the installation of Ubuntu 12.04: Is everything in /home encrypted or just the home-directory of the user who did the installation?

Specifically, I enabled the encryption of my home-directory during the installation. Now I need a directory (let's name it 'outside') where no encryption will be active for maximum harddisk-performance (audio-recording). Would it be sufficient to 'mkdir /home/outside', or better 'mkdir /outside' (followed by appropiate chown and chmod)?

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If you choose to encrypt your home directory, then each user's home may be encrypted separately, with separate keys. All of /home is not encrypted with the same key.

For audio recording, you might want a separate or external drive.

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