I am planning on installing Ubuntu on my computer. I studied the installation instructions, and I discovered that one of the steps is to select whether the Ubuntu system will be encrypted. I understand that encryption enhances security. If a computer with no encryption is stolen, the thief could access the data simply by using a boot disk to circumvent the Linux login. However, I read that there also are some possible disadvantages to encryption, but what I read was not entirely clear to me. I was wondering if somebody could please clarify this issue.
An article about the pros and cons of encryption is at
As noted in this article, an obvious disadvantage is that the data on a computer become inaccessible if the user forgets his or her encryption key. I would choose an encryption key I would never forget. So, this should not be an issue for me. The article notes that another disadvantage is that encryption can slow a computer, but this is not much of an issue for today's machines.
The article also claims that in the event that something goes wrong with an operating system, encryption can make data retrieval more difficult. I found the explanation of this point to be confusing, and I was wondering whether somebody could please elaborate on this.
I understand that one can choose to encrypt an entire hard drive, only the home directory, or only certain parts of the home directory. I would be interested in encrypting either the entire hard drive or the home directory, and I was wondering how these two options compare in pros and cons.
I understand that encrypting the entire hard drive only is possible when installing Ubuntu, but that one can encrypt the home directory at any time. Is that correct?
Since all my data would be in the home directory, I do not see a need to encrypt the entire hard drive. Am I correct that there is no advantage in doing this, and encrypting the home directory is sufficient to protect data from a computer thief?
If I were to encrypt only the home directory, would data retrieval from a corrupted Ubuntu system be easier than if I encrypted the entire hard drive? Can data retrieval also be a problem if only the home directory is encrypted?
I suspect that a machine with only an encrypted home directory would run faster than a computer with an entirely encrypted hard drive. Is that correct?
The article notes that a recovery disk might be needed if something goes wrong with the Linux operating system, and that recovery will be impossible if the disk has been encrypted and the key has been forgotten. I do not see a reason to encrypt a recovery disk, since it would not contain personal data. Would recovery on a system with an encrypted hard drive or home directory still be difficult, even if the recovery disk has not been encrypted?
I understand that I should regularly back up my data. Still, I would like data retrieval to be as easy as possible. I also understand that encryption of a computer only protects privacy in the case that somebody physically steals the machine, and that additional security measures always are necessary.
Finally, if there are any potential issues which I missed, then I would appreciate somebody pointing these out to me.
Thank you for your help.