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How to stop using built-in home directory encryption?

I know having an encrypted home directory is a great security function but I want to disable it. I am using Acronis True Image Server for Linux to backup my files and partition (in power on state, not offline).

After mounting Acronis image, my home directory contains no files. I cant find any of my files. The only files I see are directories named /.encryptfs_fnek_encrypted_looonggstuffid???? in /home/.encryptfs/myusername/.Private

So I want to disable home encryption, but how?


1 Answer 1


I'd try:

ecryptfs-setup-private --undo

But other user suggest a longer method:

1st thing to do : BACKUP YOUR HOME I can't say it louder... basically undoing encryption is equivalent to resetting (rm -rf) your /home, which is in fact hidden by a mount.

2nd step : log out of any desktop manager and go to a virtual console (Ctrl+Alt+F1) Finally : for details :

 ecryptfs-setup-private --undo

In the event that you want to remove your eCryptfs Private Directory setup, you will need to very carefully perform the following actions manually:

  1. Obtain your Private directory mountpoint

    PRIVATE=cat ~/.ecryptfs/Private.mnt 2>/dev/null || echo $HOME/Private

  2. Ensure that you have moved all relevant data out of your $PRIVATE directory

  3. Unmount your encrypted private directory


  1. Make your Private directory writable again
chmod 700 $PRIVATE
  1. Remove $PRIVATE, ~/.Private, ~/.ecryptfs Note: THIS IS VERY PERMANENT, BE VERY CAREFUL

rm -rf $PRIVATE ~/.Private ~/.ecryptfs

  1. Uninstall the utilities (this is specific to your Linux distribution)

sudo apt-get remove ecryptfs-utils libecryptfs0

I would say step 5 is a bit wrong : there's no need to delete $PRIVATE, which was for me my home....

After .Private and .ecryptfs deletion, just restore your /home :]

  • Thank you men, i will test it on a virtual machine first, so as i understand its very dangerous operation, and needs attention.
    – Darkyyy
    May 21, 2012 at 10:52
  • Couldn't login after this. Lucky I took a snapshot. In the end I created a temp admin account, deleted my old account, created it again, then deleted the temporary account.
    – balupton
    Apr 3, 2013 at 12:39
  • Same here, this broke my login.
    – thouliha
    Aug 25, 2015 at 16:58
  • Unmounting did not work in my environment (Ubuntu 18.04): sudo su - - root@myName_computer:~# ecryptfs-umount-private - fopen: No such file or directory - Cannot chdir into mountpoint..
    – BairDev
    Feb 4, 2019 at 9:04

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