Ubuntu: Is my encrypted '/home' lost after system froze during update?



Question:

Relevant info: I was able to run an Ubuntu live session from USB stick. Once I got in, I was able to de-crypt my volume using the password I normally use when the machine starts up. At first, the file system won't let me navigate to my home folder

This location could not be displayed. You do not have permissions...

but then I ran sudo nautilus in a terminal and was able to double-click my home folder. But I only see 2 files inside! Pulling up folder properties says it contains only 2 items (Readme.txt and Access-Your-Private-Data.desktop), totaling 108 bytes.

If I try to double-click on Access-Your-Private-Data.desktop, a small black window pops up real quick and then disappears. Are the contents of my home folder gone, or just not being accessed?


Solution:1

Try the following:

(Extracted from: http://blog.dustinkirkland.com/2011/04/introducing-ecryptfs-recover-private.html)

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to recover your Encrypted Home or Encrypted Private directory, simply:

  1. boot the target system using an Ubuntu 12.04 (or newer) Desktop
    LiveCD
  2. make sure that your target system's hard drive is mounted
  3. open a terminal
  4. install ecryptfs-utils 'sudo apt-get install -y ecryptfs-utils'
  5. and run 'sudo ecryptfs-recover-private'
  6. follow the prompts
  7. access your decrypted data and save somewhere else
  8. you can also launch the graphical file browser with 'sudo nautilus' and navigate to the temporary directory

The utility will do a deep find of the system's hard disk, looking for folders named ".Private", and will interactively ask you if it's the folder you'd like to recover. If you answer "yes", you will then be prompted for the login passphrase that's used to decrypt your wrapped, mount passphrase. Assuming you have the correct credentials, it will mount your Encrypted Home or Private directory in read-only mode, and point you at the temporary directory where it's mounted.


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