Popular Linux distributions make it pretty easy to encrypt your home folder or even entire partitions if you’d like, without many issues. This is a great option to have if you’re someone who needs their data, whether it’s the home folder or entire partitions, that need to be encrypted. In most cases, all you need to do is select a check mark, and it’ll take care of the rest.
But some people select it just because it sounds like a good option to have (and it can be) and they don’t think about what kinds of consequences might result from such a move later on. By now you might be asking, “What? How could encryption possibly be a bad thing?” Well, here’s why.
Recovering Data Is Harder
In the event that something in your system has screwed up, whether it be the operating system or some hardware part except the hard drive, you’ll more than likely want to get the data off your hard drive and move it to a more practical place. For data that isn’t encrypted, this can be easily done by running (at the minimum) aLinux LiveCD on any other computer, connect the hard drive to that computer, and then start moving your data. With your data encrypted, it’s not as easy as 1-2-3.
You’ll first have to search for some instructions on how to get past the encryption manually before you can reach your data. I can almost guarantee you that there aren’t any graphical tools that will do this, so people who aren’t comfortable with terminal consoles will have a difficult time.
Speaking of systems that suddenly screw up, if your entire partition is encrypted you’ll have a harder time running recovery techniques on your system when needed. For example, if your system loses power as it’s installing a newer kernel, and the master boot record or its configuration files become corrupted because of the sudden loss of power, you’ll need to run a recovery disc and enter in commands in the hope that it’ll return to normal.