Encryption after Installation without Data Loss?

New Linux user here, with a Lenovo laptop that came with Fedora. On powering on, the machine initialized, and then created a user account with minimal user input. There were no startup dialogs on partitions or encryption. After messing with the box for a couple of hours, there was additional software I installed and some files I downloaded. So it would be inconvenient to lose that data, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

What I did not do was encrypt the user data portion of the drive before getting started with other matters. What I’ve found about encrypting indicates that the process results in data loss on the encrypted block.

Is there a way to encrypt while preserving the existing data?

2 Likes

When Encryption is chosen during install, the installer uses LUKS (block device enryption) in an LVM setup.

The best is to backup important data, reinstall the OS and choose the disk layout the way you want/need it.

I don’t understand pre-installs on Lenovo hardware. I would assume everybody who installs Fedora wants to decide the disk layout and encryption on their own …

Hello. Would it be possible either (a) to encrypt just the data partition if the machine is currently partitioned that way, or (b) repartition the drive without reinstalling Fedora, and then encrypting just the [new] data partition? I’m hesitant to do a fresh OS install.

https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Disk_Encryption_User_Guide#Creating_Encrypted_Block_Devices_on_the_Installed_System_After_Installation

Does the pre-installed default installation feature the btrfs file system?
If so, you could turn file-system encryption on, but this is an experimental feature, which I would not use. Also, I prefer to separate encryption from the actual file system and use encrypted block device (LUKS).

So, I am afraid, the answer is ‘No’, but let’s see what other think. @sampsonf you are experienced with btrfs, aren’t you? Did you try encryption?

1 Like

I am not aware btrfs’ encryption feature is testing ready. Would you please send me pointers so that I can learn more?

I am sorry, I was wrong, that feature does not seem to be ready. Sorry, I am really not familiar with btrfs. So, reinstall is my recommendation.

No worries.

Yes, reinstall is more easier.

1 Like