When I log into my Ubuntu system I see only two files in my $HOME directory:

  • Access-Your-Private-Data.desktop
  • README.txt

I believe this happened because I changed the UID of my user. I can see the files mounted in the /tmp directory if I do:

sudo ecryptfs-recover-private

Do I just copy/move these files back to my home directory? Why is this directory not mounted if I can recover it so trivially?

I am running an encrypted BTRFS /home partition. It also looks like my own user is separately encrypted but I don't have good notes on this.

  • Yes, it's due to encryption and because you changed your user. That's what drive/folder encryption was invented for. Ans yes, if you can decrypt it, you do what you want with the contents.
    – user692175
    Aug 20, 2017 at 0:00
  • If I move the files back to my $HOME directory are they re-encrypted? Also, what do I do with the two files. Just delete them? Aug 20, 2017 at 0:01
  • They will if the the target location is encrypted, they won't otherwise (i don't understand the confusion here). Once copied, again, you do what you want with the "old files".
    – user692175
    Aug 20, 2017 at 0:07
  • I guess I don't understand how my private directory was encrypted in the first place. The /home directory is encrypted but it's able to mount it. But it looks like my $HOME directory was encrypted separately in a way I don't remember. I want to reproduce this but I don't know how. Aug 20, 2017 at 0:11
  • Encryption, full or $HOME only, are options you can choose in the installation process.
    – user692175
    Aug 20, 2017 at 0:14

1 Answer 1


I had to change the UID on the encrypted folders. usermod didn't do that for me automatically. Specifically, I did:

sudo chown -R newUID /home/.ecryptfs/myUser

Then I rebooted.

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