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When installing Ubuntu, I'm given the option of encrypting my home folder — what does this option do?

When I do a fresh install I am given an option to check the option to encrypt my home directory. What is home directory encryption? And how much my performance degrades if I do so? How to do it on a running pc but not through the option given at the installation.

marked as duplicate by Jorge Castro, Marco Ceppi Oct 18 '10 at 3:09

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An encrypted home directory is just like an encrypted hard drive. It simply adds a level of encryption to that in order to protect the files in that directory. There is a very negligible performance degradation that is probably so low that you wouldnt even know unless you measured it with a non encrypted directory

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