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I did a password change. It wasn't memorable enough. I reset my password using a series of commands from the root shell in recovery mode:

# mount -rw -o remount /
# passwd {username}
Enter new password:
Successfully changed.
# exit

restart computer. I then entered my password and it acted like it was going to log on but brought me back to the login page.

I used Ctrl + Alt + F1 and logged in successfully. dir and ls yield two files: README.txt, and Something along the lines of desktop-private-files-and-folders.dir. I cannot cd to any directory.

I tried to use the live cd but in the test profile when I try to access the information on my mounted hard drive it tells me that I do not have permission to access. Neither can I copy that information.

I have tried to be as thorough and detailed as possible without adding any fluff.

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It appears that you set up an encrypted home directory for your user account.

You have probably broken the decryption of the ecryptfs mount passphrase and will need to use ecryptfs-recover-private to recover it - see the instructions in this answer to a related question Encrypted Home... Forgotten Password, but no Passphrase

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