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I Have a 1TB WD My Passport that I've been using for some time. I originally never encrypted it and I've used a little under 500gb of space on it. Is there any way I could encrypt the the drive without having to backup and format it?

I was thinking I could create 2 partitions on it of 500gb each, encrypt the first partition with LVM, transfer the contents of the second partition to the first, and then encrypt the second (I originally wanted two partitions on it anyway), because I wouldn't be able to back up my information to my computer since it does not have enough room.

But I didn't know if it was the most ideal ways of going about it and I didn't want to risk losing my data if there was a better alternative.

  • What is your hard drive file system? – Ravexina Jun 23 '17 at 21:05
  • @Ravexina I'm not sure what you mean? The external drive has never been formatted or setup for use for any specific OS if that's what you mean. – Brian Jun 24 '17 at 0:23
  • I meant what is its filesystem right now? NTFS, FAT, ext or something else? – Ravexina Jun 24 '17 at 7:09
  • @Ravexina Oops, sorry. The external is in NTFS – Brian Jun 24 '17 at 14:03
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What I suggest for your situation is to use encfs instead of something like luks which encrypts the whole device and then you create a new file system on it, however we can still use luks in a similar scenario too (Creating a virtual device).

encfs helps you to create a encrypted virtual filesystem, it allows :

  • Portable encryption of file folders on removable disks.
  • Available as a cross-platform folder encryption mechanism.

EncFS has no "volumes" that occupy a fixed size — encrypted directories grow and shrink as more files are added to or removed from the mountpoint.

[source]

So you can easily encrypt a directory an moves all your files within that directory without any risk of loosing data.

With your suggestion you have to face the risk of loosing your data while resizing the partition to create a new one, even when you are resizing a LVM logical volume you have to get a backup first.

the other similar option would be to use eCryptfs instead of encfs, their somehow do the same thing, you should decide which one is better for you, however I suggest usingencfs because of the reasons I quoted above.

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  • That's just what I was looking for! Thanks for the help! – Brian Jun 24 '17 at 15:17

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