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How to create an encrypted partition?

I have a little Netbook on which I want to install Ubuntu 10.10 (32-Bit) on. However, since it is a portable PC I want to completely encrypt the file system (in case of theft).

Currently it runs Windows 7 Starter and I use TrueCrypt which installs a custom boot loader that asks for the password. I remember from the past that Linux can do that as well by putting /boot on it's own, unencrypted partition.

Since it's been ages since I last worked with file system encryption (I remember setting up LVM and a custom patched grub to ask for the password) I wonder how that would work nowadays and if there is a step-by-step how-to for it?

marked as duplicate by Marco Ceppi Jun 21 '11 at 15:48

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If you want to fully encrypt your disk during installation. Use the alternate installer disk. Then follow this step by step guide.

  • You won't be able to dual-boot into encrypted Windows by following this guide. – Takkat Dec 30 '10 at 10:45

If you want a fully encrypted system (/boot excluded) you will have to install using the "alternate" installer.


During the partition stage you will get the option of choosing something along the lines of "LVM + Encryption". If I have understood your question right, that option will give you the install you want.

(The use of LVM is to allow different "partitions" within one Encrypted block.)


When installing Ubuntu 10.10 you are asked if you want to encrypt your file system by default.

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IMO it is sufficient to encrypt '/home' and '/swap' and leave '/' non-encrypted for better perfomance especially on a netbook CPU. However you need to take care not to deliberately store private data outside /home. See also Encrypted Home.

If you really need to encrypt your whole system with dual-boot to Truecrypt encrypted Windows you need to install Grub to your Linux partition and keep your Truecrypt boot-loader in the MBR. See also Encrypted Filesystems for further reading.

  • Thanks, but I want to encrypt / as well, simply because it's a Laptop used for development and I might have sensitive files outside of my homedir. – Michael Stum Dec 30 '10 at 8:45
  • @Michael Stum: In your question you did say you do want "putting /boot on it's own, unencrypted partition". Take care not to save sensible data outside /home. – Takkat Dec 30 '10 at 9:10

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