Years ago I installed Ubuntu and encrypted my home directory.

I can still log in as normal, I know my password and I have access to my files.

Just now, installing Lubuntu on another machine, I saw this:

enter image description here

I don't remember writing down my passphrase for recovering my encrypted home directory when I set it up years ago.

So hypothetically I guess the disaster scenario is my root partition gets corrupted but not my home partition, or something like that, and I want to be able to recover my /home data.

I can log in and read my encrypted /home as normal right now. How do I find the recovery passphrase?

closed as off-topic by cas, GAD3R, Stephen Kitt, Rui F Ribeiro, G-Man Jan 14 '18 at 0:19

  • This question does not appear to be about Unix or Linux within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 5
    The dialog box tells you how to find the recovery passphrase, doesn’t it? – Stephen Kitt Jan 12 '18 at 15:16
  • 6
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this question is not about unix or linux, it's about failing to read the explicit instructions on screen that directly answers the question asked by providing the exact command line to run (ecryptfs-unwrap-passphrase). – cas Jan 13 '18 at 4:15
  • Sincerely, thank you for pointing out the obvious. I was very tired :-/ – spraff Jan 13 '18 at 22:17

With ecryptfs-unwrap-passphrase

[On the off-chance that there's not something funny about this question, maybe there's a legitimate language barrier or some other issue, might as well make it an "official answer"]


  • You might want to make a backup of eCryptfs's important files too, in /home/.ecryptfs/<user>/.ecryptfs/ especially the wrapped-passphrase file - if it gets damaged your home's really inaccessible even if you remember the passphrase.

    The ecryptfs-unwrap-passphrase tool takes that file and your passphrase, and reveals the actual "random" encryption key.

  • Your actual encrypted files are stored in /home/.ecryptfs/<user>/.Private/, but alone they're useless without the wrapped-passphrase file + passphrase.

  • You should have a backup of any important files in your encrypted home, it's a lot easier than trying to recover from failing drives or overwritten encryption.

[eCryptfs encrypted home - explanation - on Superuser]

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