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I have a problem with my Ubuntu 12.04. After one of the updates I could not boot successfully. There was apparently some graphical problem. A message popped up with four options to choose but I could not select anything: pressing the arrow keys or Enter had no effect.

Now, I want to make a fresh install but before that I need to get some of the data on my hard disk. How can I do that? I tried by using the LiveCD but I got a message saying I had no permission to access the home folder. I expected that at least I get a chance to enter my password somewhere in order to identify my self, but no. As I was installing Ubuntu, I encrypted my home folder (still have the passphrase). May be that is important. Does anyone know a way how to get to my data? Perhaps not through the LiveCD but by somehow booting without a GUI, just with a terminal because of the graphics problem. I guess that would be sufficient to copy the data I need on a USB stick.

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You can access encrypted data from a live cd but it requires some extra steps...

  • Mount the disc
  • Execute sudo ecryptfs-recover-private from a terminal session and answer the questions. As soon as you enter yes it will ask for the pass phrase for unlocking the data.
  • And then you can access your decrypted data like normal.

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