EDIT 1: I reinstalled 16.04 having booted through the CD but with the HDD installed, now I can read the "readme.txt" and I can click on the "access-your-private-data.desktop" and it seems to run for a few minutes without a window opening and then it stops. When I try running sudo ecryptfs-recover-private I get

INFO: Searching for encrypted private directories (this might take a while)...
find: ‘/run/user/1000/gvfs’: Permission denied

I have a Lenovo E540 (i7) with a 16GB SSD and 1TB HDD. I had the system and swap on the SSD and my data (/home) on the HDD. I tried updating from 14.04 to 16.04. I got asked to confirm the driver EULA but I couldn't select the "OK". I quit the installation. After trying to boot up all I got was an empty screen. I created a 16.04 live cd on a different machine and booted up with that. I removed my hdd prior to this because I didn't want to risk loosing any data. After the installation I shut the notebook down and installed the HDD. I booted up and my HDD appears as a volume and when opened there's two files "access-your-private-data.desktop" "readme.txt" neither of which I can open. I had all my files on the HDD, please help me.

  • That's because you're trying to access the disk via a nautilus user mount which (by default) is only readable by the user. Have you tried mounting it conventionally (i.e. creating a mount point such as /mnt/hdd and then identifying the partition / blockid and mounting it manually)? – steeldriver Apr 22 '16 at 16:44
  • @steeldriver cha@cha:~$ sudo mount /dev/sda5 /mnt/hdd [sudo] password for cha: mount: mount point /mnt/hdd does not exist cha@cha:~$ sudo mkdir /mnt/hdd cha@cha:~$ sudo mount /dev/sda5 /mnt/hdd cha@cha:~$ ecryptfs-mount-private ERROR: Encrypted private directory is not setup properly cha@cha:~$ sudo ecryptfs-recover-private INFO: Searching for encrypted private directories (this might take a while)... find: ‘/run/user/1000/gvfs’: Permission denied – chaosdoom Apr 23 '16 at 12:43
  • @steeldriver also tried cha@cha:~$ sudo blkid /dev/sda1: PARTUUID="0003bf27-01" /dev/sda5: UUID="219d17f0-e4be-4df6-ba4a-e6037a0d979b" TYPE="ext4" PARTUUID="0003bf27-05" /dev/sdb1: UUID="fb4b09cf-2c5c-4b72-b8e2-69813f8d9ae6" TYPE="ext4" PARTUUID="00021ea9-01" /dev/sdb5: UUID="b0db487b-fa9f-4fe1-a94f-e8afa77e6b8c" TYPE="swap" PARTUUID="00021ea9-05" – chaosdoom Apr 23 '16 at 12:50
  • Hi @SamuelJozefZeman ! I have exactly the same problem, any updates on a solution you found? Thanks! – Matifou Jul 10 '16 at 15:54
  • unix.stackexchange.com/questions/77453/…. The answer at the bottom of the page. – WSPalmBeach Aug 6 '16 at 4:04

ecryptfs-recover-private doesn't have to search through every file, if you add where your old encrypted home at the end then it will only look there. For example ecryptfs-recover-private /location/to/search.

You can search yourself, looking for any encrypted files, for example with a GUI search utility, or
find [mountpoint] -type f -iname "*ecryptfs*"

To see exactly what ecryptfs-recover-private does, just look at it, it's a bash script. Running this would display it with less:
less $( which ecryptfs-recover-private )

And it's search is this:
find / -type d -name ".Private"

You're probably just seeing regular "permission denied" errors if you tried searching everything everywhere, some folders don't want to be searched. Your home's not supposed to be in /run/user/1000/gvfs anyway so don't worry about it.

  • It would be great if you mentioned how to tell ecryptfs-recover-private to look in a specific place – Enkouyami Nov 8 '16 at 3:11

I upgraded 15.10 to 16.04 and when trying to access my .private folder on an external drive from a backup with sudo ecryptfs-recover-private I was getting the same error. When I did the same thing from another 14.04 notebook everything was working as it should. So this might be a problem with 16.04?


I had this exact problem, too, and all I had to do was unmount the /gvfs directory using the command umount /run/user/1000/gvfs. I then ran the command ecryptfs-recovery-private and it worked. I know how freaked out I was when thinking I had lost my information.


I had similar errors after I renamed the previous (original) POSIX username to old_user (and ) and then created a new user with the original (previous username's) name.

To be able to mount the encrypted home directory from the old_user, I had to remake the symbolik links for .encryptfs and .Private in its folder (as they had poinded to /home/original_name/).

After that, the following command mounted the old home without any problem. /usr/bin/ecryptfs-recover-private /home/old_user/.Private

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