(By "external access", I mean eg. via a Live CD, or another OS on the same dual-boot machine)

A friend wants to try Ubuntu. He's fed up with Vista grinding to a crawl (the kids? :), so he likes the "potential" security offered by Ubuntu, but because the computer will be multi-booting Ubuntu (primary) and 2 Vistas (one for him, if he ever needs it again, and the other one for the kids to screw up (again).

However, he is concerned about any non-Ubuntu access to the Ubuntu partitions (and also to his Vista partition)...

I believe TrueCrypt will do the job for his Vista, but I'd like to know what the best encryption system for Ubuntu is... If TrueCrypt works for Ubuntu, it may be the best option for him, as it would be the same look and feel for both.

Ubuntu will be installed with 3 partitions; 1) root 2) home 3) swap..

Will Ubuntu's boot loader clash with TrueCrypt's encrypted partition?

PS.. Is encryption a suitable solution?

  • If security is what your aiming to, you may also want to password protect the bios and boot loader and disable Ubuntu's recovery boot entry (on grub) and the ability to boot from external media (on the bios). – sergio91pt Mar 16 '11 at 17:10

Truecrypt is not the solution for an encrypted Ubuntu system, LUKS is the Ubuntu solution for disk encryption. You can use the alternative installer CD to enable it on a fresh install.

Note that an encrypted partition can still be destroyed, the encryption prevents unauthorized access to files, but does not protect it from being damaged. If data reliability is really an issue, consider buying another (external/internal) HDD for installing Ubuntu/Vista on it. Remember to put it on a safe place, though.

  • @Lekensteyn... Thanks. Yes, I checked Truecrypt's documentation, which says "Encrypts a partition or drive where Windows is installed" (so it will be okay for Vista, at least) ... Regarding Ubuntu, I've just now tried installing it in a VM, and there is an install option to encrypt /home ... Although this leaves the root files open to external access, it may be enough until I figure out how to use LUKS :) ...I'll now try to sort out the bootloaders. TrueCrypt requires the Vista bootloader in the MBR. – Peter.O Mar 16 '11 at 16:49
  • When using LUKS, you'll need a separate, unencrypted /boot partition. GRUB's bootloader can be put in the MBR and through chainloading, Vista can be started. An encrypted /home partition does not protect against modifications of system files or applications. – Lekensteyn Mar 16 '11 at 17:10
  • Thanks. I understand your "alerts"... and just by the way: TrueCrypt requires Vista's bootloader to be in the MBR, so I have to modify it to boot Ubuntu.. I've done it before with XP, but Vista is dfferent... I'll work it out though (given time), and with a bit of luck, I'll get LUKS running too :)... – Peter.O Mar 16 '11 at 18:18

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