GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide
by Graham Williams
Decrypting a Private Home
Consider a scenario where you have moved your disk containing your encrypted home folder from one computer to another where it is treated as a data disk. Perhaps the original computer is no longer functional for whatever reason and on the new computer you want to access all of your data. You will need to manually decrypt your home folder.
The original disk is mounted onto your new computer as /mnt,
perhaps. See Chapter 19 for details. You can navigate the
disk to find that /mnt/home/kayon is going to look something like:
$ ls -a total 12K 4.0K ./ 4.0K .cache/ 0 README.txt@ 4.0K ../ 0 .ecryptfs@ 0 Access-Your-Private-Data.desktop@ 0 .Private@
That is not what you usually see when you previously logged onto the
original computer. Instead you would have seen all of your files,
decrypted. Your encrypted files are actually located in
/mnt/home/.ecryptfs/kayon. We will use
ecryptfs-recover-private from https://packages.debian.org/search?suite=default§ion=all&arch=any&searchon=names&keywords=ecryptfs-utilsecryptfs-utils
to do the hard work for us.
$ sudo ecryptfs-recover-private [sudo] password for kayon: INFO: Searching for encrypted private directories (this might take a while)...
This will search over the whole file system, including all mounted disks, to find all of the encrypted private directories, request the password, and decrypt the directories.