ecryptfs How To Backup / Migrate Linux Mint Ubuntu Debian system ecryptfs properly and restore access

In this scenario, let's say you want to clone your OS at the filesystem level and the source system (the system you want to clone from) is in use.

Doing a blind rsync / is a big problem because it uses twice as much space for no reason.

The reason for this is that with ecryptfs you have a /home/.ecryptfs directory which has the actual encrypted versions of your files and folders. However your home directory (eg. /home/someuser) is mounted.

Doing the blind rsync will cause you to backup the mounted actual files and the actual encrypted files, which is how your data is doubled. 

How an unmounted ecryptfs home directory looks

We can see that all that's really contained in the home directory are two symlinks .ecryptfs and .Private which link to /home/.ecryptfs/easy/.ecryptfs and /home/.ecryptfs/easy/.Private

How would we backup our ecryptfs system then?

You would want to do something like this:

replace "--exclude=/home/easy" with the path of your home directories (and add more excludes for each user under home that has ecryptfs files).

rsync -Phaz / --exclude=/home/easy/ --exclude=/proc/* --exclude=/sys/* user@remotehost:/mnt/target

On the target system though we'll need to create the symlinks again:

This assumes your entire filesystem has been stored in /mnt/target (change this path to where your target was transferred to)

chroot /mnt/target

Now we create the symlinks.

Change "sudo -u easy" to the name of your user

Change "ln -s /home/.ecryptfs/easy" to the name of your user eg . "ln -s /home/.ecryptfs/yourusername"

sudo -u easy ln -s /home/.ecryptfs/easy/.ecryptfs .ecryptfs

sudo -u easy ln -s /home/.ecryptfs/easy/.Private .Private

 

Ecryptfs Success

Once you login again, you should now have restored access to all of the encrypted files, assuming that you did your backup correctly and that /home/.ecryptfs was copied properly from the source system.


Tags:

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