Hmm, I would like to know what is happening with the data on the Linux swap partition when the Linux system is turned off and by the next start the Windows operating system via GRUB2 will start.

3 questions

  1. Will Windows be able to access the data from the Linux swap partition if Linux is turned off the right way?
  2. Will Windows be able to access the data from the Linux swap partition if Linux is turned off the wrong way (hard reset)?
  3. The swap area contains the mirror of RAM at a given time right? So, it cannot be encrypted by default, right?
  • 1
    1 & 2: yes, but you'll need specific software, in itself Windows won't do anything with your Linux partitions, besides any OS can read anything on a disk, hence full disk encryption. 3, yes you can encrypt swap. – cylgalad Nov 7 '15 at 10:16

To questions 1 and 2: Yes, Windows is able to access the data from the swap partition. But is not able to interpret these data by default. So you could analyse the partition using some tools, but Windows would not display any data by default.

To question 3: The swap partition (or file) does not contain a mirror of the RAM, it contains the data that didn't fit into the RAM any more and/or weren't accessed for a specific time. It can be encrypted be default, for example the *ubuntu system can encrypt their swap partitions using logical volumes. See also this tutorial as an example: Arch Linux – Swap encryption

(Not really sure about it: Modern system should be able to encrypt their swap partitions and hibernate-to-disk.)

  • Thanks, so if I install Kubuntu on the Windows 10 laptop that I will buy, I just need to encrypt the Linux's root and swap partitions, right? The bootloader partition (GRUB2) doesn't have to be encrypted (not sure if it's even possible ;) ? – John Doerthy Nov 6 '15 at 23:33
  • 1
    You can't encrypt the bootloader/boot partition as the BIOS is not able to decrypt it. If you are fearing that your bootloader gets corrupted by someone you need to put it on some external device that you only plug in during boot time. You should also encrypt every other partitions that contains personal or private data if they are not included in the root partition (like a home partition). – Yeti Nov 6 '15 at 23:35

It seems that both (Windows and Linux) are insecure in this regard by default, but that by specially configuring or running special tools, you can erase the contents of their swap partitions.

These are useful reading material:

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.