I've got two questions.
1) Can you install Ubuntu 16.10 with a preexisting encrypted /home partition?
2) What's the best way to back up an encrypted /home partition? Preferably to a second hard drive.
I am currently dual booting Windows 7 and Ubuntu 16.10 with an encrypted home folder using ecryptfs. I'm going upgrade my motherboard soon and will be installing a fresh copy of Windows 10, and I'd like to make it so I can keep all my settings from my current /home folder.
Historically I could install Ubuntu with an existing /home directory that mounts to it's own partition. This allowed me to update Ubuntu installations without having to lose all of my settings. Will this work if that folder is encrypted with ecryptfs? Or will I lose something in the OS install that will lock me out of my files? I have access to the ecryptfs passphrase and the ecryptfs-manager utility.
Windows installers also usually don't play well other operating system installs. If they don't wipe the entire drive they will at least remove the master boot record and I'll have to reinstall Ubuntu to recover access. Because of this I'd like to be able to backup my /home partition. I had planned on copying it with gparted, but I've run into problems with that confusing the computer because it thinks it has two partitions mounted to /home and my inability to mount the backup partition because of ecryptfs. Though the latter may just be my unfamiliarity with the software. I've also tried doing 'cp -r /home/myUsername/* ./backupLocation' but that wreaks havoc with the file owners and permissions. So I'd if there is a solution to backup the encrypted /home partition, so I can restore it to a new installation of Ubuntu in case Windows 10 wipes out the entire drive.
My primary drive currently looks like this:
- /dev/sda1 - 200 GiB ntfs Windows 7 installation, to be replaced by Windows 10
- /dev/sda2 - 190 MiB ext4 filesystem mounted as /boot
- /dev/sda3 - 16 GiB ext4 filesystem mounted as /
- /dev/sda4 - 15 GiB ext4 filesystem mounted as /home, the only part of the Ubuntu install I'd care about keeping
- /dev/sdb1 - 2.7 TiB nfts filesystem for datastorage
- 17 GiB freespace, enough to fit the entire /home partition