LUKS is commonly used together with LVM. My laptap has a single NVME with almost no prospect of having additional disks installed, so in this use case LVM is nothing but unnecessary complexity. I know that in Linux, in principle, you can encrypt the root partition without using LVM at all. I have done it in other distros and I want to do it for my Debian 12 installation.

However, the Debian 12 installation UI does not seem to allow LUKS without LVM. AFAICT, in the guided partitioning, encryption entails LVM, and in manual partitioning, there is no way to specify that a partition is to be encrypted or specify a LUKS device (e.g. /dev/mapper/cryptroot) to be used as '/'.

Is it possible to have an encrypted root partition without LVM? If so, how can it be done?

  • Are you looking to have a swap partition? note that you'd generally want the swap partition to be encrypted, and therefore something would need to sit ontop of the LUKS container in order to split it up further, this is usually LVM. LVM is still useful if you have a single disk with no plan to add more, since LVM does not require partitions to be physically contiguous and makes it easier to resize partitions or add partitions in the future.
    – Torin
    Commented Jun 13, 2023 at 12:05

1 Answer 1


It seems that the installer in the Live ISO, Calamares, does not allow the LUKS-without-LVM setup I want, but the installer ISO does.

However, the installer ISO has its own problems. In a nutshell, it may get confused if the LUKS volume already exists. When it got confused, I manually luksClose'd the volume from a shell and started manual partitioning from scratch and that seemed to work.

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