I am unable to access my Ubuntu 16.04 files from my Windows 10 OS, because I had enabled encryption during installation. Is there a way I can decrypt and use my files from Windows? Else, my plan is to reinstall Ubuntu from a LiveUSB.

Before doing so, I plan to remove my Lenovo (D:) partition (since I have separate recovery media and don't plan to use Lenovo OneKey Recovery) which is about 20 Gb. I want to dedicate this space for the root partition, and reallocate the current root partition space to creating a separate home partition. Finally, I plan to increase my Linux swap space form 6 Gb to 18 Gb.

I plan to back up my files before doing all this of course (creating disk images, etc.). Could doing all this affect my files, installed packages, and 3rd party software?

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    When you say you "enabled encryption" do you mean that you used LUKS to encrypt the entire system or that you opted to encrypt only your home directory? Either way, I don't know that there's much you can do to get access from Windows, but it helps to have the details straight just in case.
    – b_laoshi
    Mar 27, 2017 at 5:28
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    @halcyon, David Foerster is right. Open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run awk '$3 == "ecryptfs"' /proc/mounts. Then run sudo cat /etc/crypttab. If the first command returns something, then you encrypted your home partition. If the second command returns something other than file not found, then you encrypted your whole system.
    – b_laoshi
    Mar 30, 2017 at 2:59
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    @b_laoshi, this is what I get: From awk '$3 == "ecryptfs"' /proc/mounts /home/halcyon/.Private /home/halcyon ecryptfs rw,nosuid,nodev,relatime,ecryptfs_fnek_sig=8e8dd57cb6f2732f,ecryptfs_sig=59806262b6b3090c,ecryptfs_cipher=aes,ecryptfs_key_bytes=16,ecryptfs_unlink_sigs 0 0
    – halcyon
    Mar 31, 2017 at 9:19
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    This is might what you have been looking for: askubuntu.com/a/4960/671810
    – Mads03dk
    Apr 2, 2017 at 18:03
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    @halcyon, I haven't actually played with it in a really long time. I honestly don't know what current options look like for write access from Windows. Check out this page. It looks promising, but it doesn't have a date on it.
    – b_laoshi
    Apr 4, 2017 at 11:48

3 Answers 3


Since there are two methods that you could have used (independently or in combination) to perform encryption, I'll touch on both separately. And then I'll address access from Windows.

You could have encrypted your entire disk with LUKS like this during install![sys-enc.png

Or you could have encrypted your home directory with ecryptfs like this during installhome-enc.png

Disk encryption with LUKS

If you encrypted your entire disk with LUKS, you may want to look into a program for Windows called LibreCrypt. I have used it with success in the past to access LUKS encrypted partitions from Windows 7.

Home directory encryption with ecryptfs

If you encrypted your home directory, there is currently no way to get at this from Windows. However, it is possible to remove the home directory encryption so long as you have enough disk space to make a duplicate of your home directory.

Accessing the Linux ext2/ext3/ext4 filesystems from Windows

Now, in theory, all you should need to do is mount your Linux file systems in Windows. I've not tried it, but supposedly, Ext2Read should enable you to mount ext2/ext3/ext4 filesystems in Windows. Furthermore, it is said to support LVM2 which will be important if you chose to use LVM when you installed.


The home folder encrypted in Ubuntu cannot be decrypted from W's.

Copy the files from a Ubuntu Live session to an external drive and access the files from it using W's or to the W's partition.

You will need ecryptfs-utils and this answer Access Encrypted Home Folder


I'm sorry if I skimp on the details here - I lost my original response after registering for the site.

It is possible. You'll need Ext2Fsd 0.68 (not the latest version 0.69 which does not work with Windows 10 - download here https://sourceforge.net/projects/ext2fsd/files/Ext2fsd/0.68/), Macrium Reflect, Macrium viBoot, and Oracle VM Virtual Box. Make sure to reboot if you've just installed these.

You can run your Ubuntu partition as a virtual machine by accessing the Macrium image through Macrium viBoot. Make sure to have everything configured so that you can move the files you need elsewhere (i.e. USB access, copy/paste, read/write, network, etc. See here https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/transfer-files-virtual-machine-guest-host-pc/). Beware it will be very slow.

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