I recently installed Fedora 20. I don't recall what exact options I chose for encrypting the disk/LVM during installation. It installed fine and I can log in etc. Here is the situation I have:

I booted up with LiveCD and tried the following: (I have installed Fedora20 to /dev/sda3' partition).

  1. If I run cryptsetup open /dev/sda3 fedo I get an error saying it is not a LUKS device.
  2. I I run cryptsetup luksDump /dev/sda3 I get an error saying it is not a LUKS device
  3. If I run cryptsetup open --type plain /dev/sda3 fedo, it prompts for password and it opens the device fine.

So, obviously, that is a plain-text encrypted (without LUKS header) partition.

Now, when I try to run mount /dev/mapper/fedo /mnt/fedora, it says unknown crypto_LUKS filesystem.

I do have LVM on top of it, so, I can run pvdisplay, vgdisplay, lvdisplay and it shows information. I have a VG called fedora and two LVs, viz 00 for swap partition and 01 for / partition.

Now, if I do a cryptsetup luksDump /dev/fedora/01 I can see LUKS headers etc. And, I can mount by running mount /dev/fedora/00 /mnt/fedora, no password prompt.

So, do I have a LUKS-over-LVM-over-(plain-text)-encrypted partition?

Here is my output of lsblk:

# lsblk
NAME                                            MAJ:MIN RM  SIZE RO TYPE  MOUNTPOINT
sda                                               8:0    0 37.3G  0 disk
|-sda3                                            8:3    0 17.4G  0 part
  |-fedora-00                                   253:0    0  2.5G  0 lvm
  | |-luks-XXXXX                                253:3    0  2.5G  0 crypt [SWAP]
  |-fedora-01                                   253:1    0   15G  0 lvm
    |-luks-XXXXX                                253:2    0   15G  0 crypt /

So, the question is, how to figure out whether I have LVM-over-LUKS or LUKS-over-LVM, or some other combination thereof (LUKS over LVM over LUKS etc)? To make my question clear, I know I have LVM and LUKS, I want to figure out the order of them.

4 Answers 4


cryptsetup luksDump /dev/fedora/01 shows the LVM logical volume to be a LUKS encrypted volume. The output of pvs or pvdisplay would show the partition /dev/sda3 to be a physical volume. Thus you have LUKS over LVM. At a lower level, you have LVM over PC partition.

The output of lsblk confirms this: sda is a disk, sda3 is a partition (which contains an LVM physical volume), fedora-00 and fedora-01 are logical volumes, and each logical volume contains a LUKS encrypted volume.

  • Perfect answer and confirms my tests. I can't vote for your answer though as I am a newbie here and don't have high enough reputation :-( Oct 9, 2014 at 0:35

It's very odd to have a LUKS inside a plain crypt. Why encrypt twice?

Once your filesystems are mounted, lsblk will show you what's what.

NAME                         MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE  MOUNTPOINT
sda                            8:0    0  59.6G  0 disk  
└─sda1                         8:1    0  59.6G  0 part  
  └─md0                        9:0    0  59.6G  0 raid1 
    └─luksSSD1               253:9    0  59.6G  0 crypt 
      ├─SSD-home             253:0    0    36G  0 lvm   /home
      └─SSD-root             253:10   0    16G  0 lvm   /

This is LVM (/home and / with type lvm) on LUKS (type crypt, luksSSD1) on RAID1 (md0, type raid1) on a regular partition (sda1) on the disk sda.

  • Yes, it is weird. I added output of 'lsblk' to my question. Oct 8, 2014 at 19:16
  • @NotSuperMan: well, that looks fine. disk, partition, lvm, and each LV is encrypted. It's a common setup. Your description sounded different somehow. I think your mistake was using cryptsetup --plain on sda3; sda3 is an LVM device, not crypt. Oct 8, 2014 at 22:27
  • Thanks for your help. But, without cryptsetup --type plain, I could not even mount the partition. So, it was not clear to me. May be instead of mounting partition first, I should mount the LV using the LUKS-UUID directly? (I will give that a shot) When I ran fdisk -l /dev/sda it says /dev/sda3 is Id is 8e and Type is Linux LVM. Oct 8, 2014 at 23:14
  • OK. Instead of trying to 'cryptsetup open' the partition first, I just used the cryptsetup open /dev/disk/by-uuid/UUID-of-LV SomeName command to open the the LV directly and it asked for passowrd etc., and subsequently, I was able to mount the mapped device fine. This explains a lot to me. I think the key is the order of 'crypt and 'lvm' TYPEs in the output of lsblk command. So, I think my setup is a LUKS-over-LVM. And, from the output you showed, I conclude yours is a LVM-over-LUKS setup. So, I conclude that I should not 'cryptsetup open' a 'Linux LVM' partition. Oct 8, 2014 at 23:48
  • Your comments helped me clear my understandings. Unfortunately, I am unable to vote for your answer as I am a newbie here and don't have high enough "reputation" :-( and so the stackexchange doesn't let me vote for your answer. Oct 9, 2014 at 0:37

You can see what you have like so:

$ sudo blkid | grep crypto_LUKS
/dev/mapper/fedora-home: UUID="XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX" TYPE="crypto_LUKS" 

That's a LVM logical volume with crypto LUKS on it. When I mount that volume it's mounted like this under Fedora 20:

$ mount | grep home
/dev/mapper/luks-XXXXX on /home type ext4 (rw,relatime,seclabel,data=ordered)

If you did a standard installation you'll have the same thing.

Manually decrypting

I believe you can do the following if you want to do things manually. First to see if something is LUKS or not:

$ sudo cryptsetup isLuks /dev/mapper/fedora-home
$ echo $?

$ sudo cryptsetup isLuks /dev/mapper/fedora-root 
$ echo $?

NOTE: A zero denotes that it is LUKS, a 1 means it's not.

So then to decrypt it:

$ sudo cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/mapper/fedora-home crypthome

NOTE: You have to enter the passphrase to decrypt the partition. Feel free to change the mapping name crypthome to whatever you want. The mapped partition is now available in /dev/mapper/crypthome but it isn’t mounted. The last step is create a mount point and to mount the mapped partition:

Manually mounting

$ sudo -Es
$ mkdir /mnt/crypthome && mount /dev/mapper/crypthome /mnt/crypthome

What crypted partitions do I have?

You can check in the file /etc/crypttab to see what LUKS you have setup too.

$ more /etc/crypttab  

Dumping the device

You can also use luksDump like so:

$ sudo cryptsetup luksDump /dev/mapper/fedora-home
LUKS header information for /dev/mapper/fedora-home

Version:        1
Cipher name:    aes
Cipher mode:    xts-plain64
Hash spec:      sha1
Payload offset: 4096
MK bits:        512
                XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX 
MK iterations:  50625

Key Slot 0: ENABLED
    Iterations:             202852
    Salt:                   XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX 
                            XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX 
    Key material offset:    8
    AF stripes:             4000
Key Slot 1: DISABLED
Key Slot 2: DISABLED
Key Slot 3: DISABLED
Key Slot 4: DISABLED
Key Slot 5: DISABLED
Key Slot 6: DISABLED
Key Slot 7: DISABLED

If it's not a LUKS device then it'll get reported like so:

$ sudo cryptsetup luksDump /dev/mapper/fedora-root 
Device /dev/mapper/fedora-root is not a valid LUKS device.



I think the key to find out whether it is a LVM-over-LUKS, or the other way around, is the order of crypt and lvm TYPEs in the output of lsblk command. Based on that reasoning, I conclude my setup is a LUKS-over-LVM. For the lsblk output for a LVM-over-LUKS type of setup, look at output showed by @frostschultz below.

In my case, since /dev/sda3 is a "Linux LVM" system partition (partition Id 8e), I think instead of trying to cryptsetup open --type plain /dev/sda3 SomeName first, I should have mapped the LVM directly by running the command cryptsetup open /dev/disk/by-uuid/UUID-of-LV SomeName command to open the the LV directly. I tried this and it works as I expected.

Thanks to all the folks who contributed to help me understand this.

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