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I installed a fresh Ubuntu 10.10 onto a new hard drive and want to mount the old home directory to a subdirectory of my new (also encrypted) home directory.

I tried this with sudo mount -t ecryptfs /mnt/oldhome/me/ /home/me/oldhome, with /mnt/oldhome being the /home partition of the old system.

Afterwards ~/oldhome contains a desktop link file (Access-Your-Private-Data.desktop) linking to ecryptfs-mount-private and a README.txt saying I should run ecryptfs-mount-private. I do so, but as I don't know what is supposed to happen, I can't tell if it happens and if it brings me closer to accessing my old home.

Any hints?


I was able to mount my old encrypted home with the help of this script. Though, looking into it with ls, I get alot of errors like this:

ls: cannot access /mnt/oldme/some_file: No such file or directory

Other information ls -l should show, is replaced by question marks.

update 2

I mounted the old system to /mnt/oldroot and mount /dev, /sys, /proc and the old home partition into. Then I chrooted into /mnt/oldroot, su - me and ecryptfs-mount-private. Asked for the passphrase I put it in and got:

Error: Unwrapping passphrase and inserting into the user session keyring failed [-5]
Info: Check the system log for more information from libecryptfs
ERROR: Your passphrase is incorrect

ecryptfs-unwrap-passphrase gives me the exact same passphrase I used, though.

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up vote 18 down vote accepted

I strongly recommend that you use the ecryptfs-recover-private utility in these cases.

A full explanation of how to use it is available here.

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I finally managed to mount my encrypted home by first adding the passphrase via

sudo ecryptfs-add-passphrase --fnek

Which gets me the following information:

Inserted auth tok with sig [aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa] into the user session keyring
Inserted auth tok with sig [bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb] into the user session keyring

There, I remember bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb and proceed with mounting the associated .Private directory:

sudo mount -t ecryptfs /mnt/oldhome/.ecryptfs/me/.Private /mnt/oldme

A lot of questions pop up, which I all answer with their defaults except for

Enable filename encryption (y/n) [n]: y


Filename Encryption Key (FNEK) Signature [aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa]: bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

With bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb, of course, being the signature I previously remembered. Easy, huh?

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Hi @rausch ! Just a clarification question: when you run the first command (ecryptfs-add-passphrase), do you indicate the passphrase from the old or new home/system? And by passprhase you mean the code obtained by ecryptfs-unwrap-passphrase or just login? Thanks!! – Matifou Jul 10 at 22:05

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