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I know that you can choose to use encryption at the installation setup, but I chose not to this time. How can I use it now?

Thanks! :)

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You can encrypt your data after installation even though you didn't choose to encrypt it during installation.

To encrypt your entire /home directory and, all it's sub-directories, such as Documents, Downloads, Music, etc. read this link: how-to-encrypt-your-home-folder-after-installing-ubuntu that explains how to encrypt /home after you've installed Ubuntu. There are plenty of screenshots and narrative walking you through the process.

To summarize the link what you need to do is:

  1. Backup your data. Although the migration process uses a working backup you want your own just to be safe.
  2. Install the encryption software with sudo apt-get install ecryptfs-utils cryptsetup.
  3. Create a temporary account with sudo privileges. In order to encrypt your /home directory you can't be logged on as yourself.
  4. Login with temporary account.
  5. Migrate your data from unencrypted /home directory to an encrypted /home directory using the command sudo ecryptfs-migrate-home -u user where "user" is your regular user name.
  6. Please note besides encrypting /home your swap partition can also be encrypted for maximum protection.
  7. DO NOT REBOOT
  8. Login with your regular user name. A random passphrase can be generated which you need to write down if something goes wrong in
    the future and you need to access /home folder manually.

Some people feel encrypting all of /home is overkill and can be too cumbersome when moving /home to another computer or different drive on the same computer. I tried encryption when I installed Ubuntu for the first time in 2014 but when I messed things up and had to reinstall Ubuntu I skipped the encryption option after reading problems other users encountered (although I never did have encryption problems).

If you don't want to encrypt /home and all the sub-directories. You can have a single encrypted ~/.Private directory where you can keep certain files that need encryption such as "things I don't want the NSA to know" or "wife's surprise birthday party planning". This is described here: EncryptedPrivateDirectory

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  • Please include the most important parts of the linked documents into your question.
    – Byte Commander
    Sep 4, 2016 at 0:38
  • @ByteCommander groans ok.. give me a few minutes. Sep 4, 2016 at 0:49
  • @Thomas you are most welcome. Sep 4, 2016 at 1:33
  • @ByteCommander edit is now finished. Thomas finished his encryption before my edit was done. LOL. Sep 4, 2016 at 1:34
  • Can this be done in place or does this require having 2x as much space on your disk as your home drive? Aug 24, 2021 at 5:51

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