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Background info first, questions at the end. I built my desktop computer to run Windows 7 for dual boot but I wanted encryption aswell and encrypted dual boot turns out to be way to complicated. So I’m thinking I’ll ditch Windows completely (which is kinda scary) and go for Ubuntu Mate as my main OS and run Windows in a VM. I’ve never used Linux before, or a VM, so I need a little help setting things up. I plan to do a full encryption on my main OS drive, and possibly for my other drives. I have an AsRock H81M mobo, Intel i7 3.6GHz CPU, 16GB DDR3 RAM, 250GB SSD for OS, 1TB SSD for games, 1TB HDD for storage.

My 1TB SSD I’ll set the whole thing as ext4 for linux games. My 1TB HDD for storage and downloads I was thinking I might partition off 2-300GB as NTFS for my VM’d Windows to use for games or storage or whatever, and the rest I’d set to ext4 for linux storage and downloads. My 250GB SSD OS drive will be getting just an encrypted Ubuntu rather than dual boot Win/linux.

For a 250GB OS drive how much would be recommended for the root? 20-40GB? Do I need a swap partition or will the swap file be enough (I’ve got 16GB ram and plan to do atleast some video editing). And it’s recommended to do a separate partition for /home? Do I need a boot partition, and if so how much? I was also thinking of leaving some extra space (maybe 10-20GB) for another linux distro if I wanted to install another to try out later, but not sure how to install or use multi distros on an encrypted system (I might leave some space just incase, if anyone could point to somewhere that shows how to multi-distros with encryption that’d be fantastic).

  • With my drives all 1TB or less, and my OS drive having 4 partitions or less (boot, main OS root, secondary OS root space, and home) can I use MBR or do I need GPT for linux?
  • Do I need to setup the partitions of my other drives during the install or do that within Ubuntu, and gparted is used to partition?
  • If I encrypt my main OS drive but not my other drives will it still be secure from online hacking (though it wouldn’t be secure from directly accessing the computer), or put another way, if my OS is encrypted do my other drives need to be too to keep me safe from hackers, or could a hacker somehow get to the unencrypted drives through an encrypted OS?
  • And if I did want to encrypt my other drives how would I do it so the storage drive’s ext4 can be read by linux but the NTFS can be read by both Windows and linux?
  • How could I encrypt all drives but only need 1-2 passwords to unlock the whole system? Just use the same encryption password?
  • If I wanted to encrypt a non-OS data drive (say my games drive) is it fairly easy to do whenever even with data on the drive or does everything need to get wiped first (can I only encrypt a blank drive or could I fairly easily encrypt my games drive in say 6 months when it’s half full)?
  • You seem to desire encryption for the wrong reason - encryption protects only data at rest (when you are NOT logged in, like if your system is stolen). If your system is "hacked", then the intruder can simply wait until you are logged in and all your data is (essentially) freely available. Beyond that, simply try Ubuntu with the defaults on your first attempt and see how that works. Many new users experiment with encryption and multiple partitions, and some make changes after their first experiment(s). – user535733 Feb 16 at 14:25
  • So if my OS is encrypted and I'm logged on it wouldn't matter if the OS or other drives were encrypted because they'd all be unencrypted and readable to getting hacked online? That makes sense. My other issue was protecting my data from physical access, say if I had to take it in to a computer shop to get repairs, because I've had a comp shop copy a crapload of my data before. My other option is to encrypt the OS and just remove the other drives if I have to take it anywhere. But I still want/need encryption to protect atleast some of my data (OS and probably data storage drive). – AverageishUser Feb 17 at 1:34
  • I want full disk encryption on the OS drive, but all the guides I come across show how to encrypt using the automatic "erase disk and install Ubuntu" not how to encrypt with Something Else to manually size partitions, and most of the guides recommend a separate /home partition for safer upgrades/installs. I was thinking of keeping /home on the 250GB OS drive and use the following guide to encrypt the ext4 part of my storage drive for data and downloads. link[/link] – AverageishUser Feb 17 at 7:56

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