Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top
  1. Let's say I install Ubuntu 10.10 with an encrypted folder or hard drive, and I plan on doing a clean install of Ubuntu 11.04. Will the encryption cause an issue? Or will it still be as simple as popping in the cd and clicking button?

  2. Does encryption cause noticeable performance issues?

  3. Would I be able to copy some files onto an external hard drive if they are encrypted? Or will I have to decrypt them before copying?

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted
  1. Encryption won't interfere with your next installation at all.

  2. I've used full disk and home folder encryption for several years now, but I've never noticed any difference in performance. The most significant bottleneck in retrieving encrypted data involves getting the bits off of your disk. By comparison, decryption is so fast it's almost always unnoticeable.

  3. After logging in (or entering your password) you can backup or copy files from your encrypted drive/folder exactly as you normally would, without any extra considerations.

Full-disk and home folder encryption are transparent in most cases.

share|improve this answer
  1. You can either use the ecnrypted hard drive and install into it, or you could wipe the entire drive and install unencrypted. Both work fine.
  2. For very disk I/O intensive stuff, you may be able to notice issues.
  3. The general way this is done* is that when you grab them from the encrypted drive they are decrypted on the fly (I'm thinking TrueCrypt etc) so when you save them they will be unencrypted.

*some encryption tools are more strict and won't let this happen. Usually these are only used in restricted environments, or as part of data leakage/loss prevention

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.