Reinstall Mint to encrypt HD

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Ted3658
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Reinstall Mint to encrypt HD

Post by Ted3658 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:23 pm

I just bought a used laptop that came with Mint. I decided I wanted to learn Linux on a cheap laptop before I take the plunge and try to upgrade my main PC from Win7 to it.

The laptop didn't come with encryption on it so I decided to add it. I realized that after the fact it's not as easy as adding truecrypt was to the PC. I don't care about any data that's on the laptop, nor do I care about any of the settings on it. What would be the easiest way to re-install so I can encrypt the full hard drive? I don't have any install files or CD or anything like that, (I haven't owned a CD in a couple of years).

Can I just download the installer and run it right from the system? Or do I have to go buy a CD so I can burn the installer to a CD and then run from there? I'd feel funny going and buying a pack of CD's just to burn one of them to reinstall the OS.

The laptop has 8gb ram and a 320gb hard drive. It's currently set for a boot of 537mb, a swap of 4.2gb, and the rest home. Would that be a good way to leave it if I re-install? This isn't going to be a serious gaming machine or anything like that. It's just a learning machine that I'll use to figure out the ins and outs of Linux.

Thanks in advance.

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xenopeek
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Re: Reinstall Mint to encrypt HD

Post by xenopeek » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:40 pm

Welcome to the Linux Mint forums :)

The Linux Mint installer will give you the option to use the entire disk (removing everything that is currently on it) and at the same step of the installation questions you can tick the option to use disk encryption. I'd suggest to let the installer set up partitions.

You can install from a USB thumb drive. The installation guide covers how to create a bootable USB thumb drive containing the Linux Mint installer. The installation guide is available from here in multiple languages: https://www.linuxmint.com/documentation.php

Not knowing anything else about your computer, I'd suggest you use Linux Mint 18.3 64-bit with Cinnamon. You can find the download for that here: https://www.linuxmint.com/download.php. I suggest Linux Mint 18.3 because that's the current release, 64 bit because you have enough RAM that there is no reason to instead use 32 bit (and more and more programs are only available in 64 bit), and Cinnamon because that is the most popular among Linux Mint users. But you could use KDE, MATE or Xfce if that is currently on your system and you like that.

To give you the best advice I'd ask you to open the terminal program from your menu and type this command and press enter to run it:
inxi -Frxz
That collects some basic system information about your computer and what Linux Mint is currently installed on it.
Copy the output from the terminal (you can select and copy text through its Edit menu) and share it here.
Image

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catweazel
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Re: Reinstall Mint to encrypt HD

Post by catweazel » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:42 pm

Hi, and welcome.

You can download a Mint iso and burnit to a flash drive. Rufus on Windwoes works well. As for encryption, I'm inclined to suggest you leave it alone until you're a little more comfortable with linux in general. If you've used TrueCrypt on Windwoes you'll be pleased to hear it's also available on linux.

I see xenopeek has recommended Cinnamon. I'm a little more cautious because I don't know anything about your laptop's capabilities, so I would recommend MATE.

Cheers.
¡uʍop ǝpısdn sı buıɥʇʎɹǝʌǝ os ɐıןɐɹʇsnɐ ɯoɹɟ ɯ,ı

Mute Ant
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Re: Reinstall Mint to encrypt HD

Post by Mute Ant » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:49 pm

"I'd feel funny going and buying a pack of CD's " You would indeed, Mint doesn't fit on a CD any more, it's DVD or a USB stick.

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Superannuated
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Re: Reinstall Mint to encrypt HD

Post by Superannuated » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:55 pm

... or a USB external hard drive (if you have one of those hanging around).

If you burn the LM ISO to a USB stick, you can use USB Image Writer that should be included on your current Linux Mint laptop.

Mute Ant
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Re: Reinstall Mint to encrypt HD

Post by Mute Ant » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:48 pm

"As for encryption, I'm inclined to suggest you leave it alone until you're a little more comfortable with linux in general." What he said, louder.

The Ubuntu-Mint installer makes it very easy to create an encrypted OS without any warnings or basic training in care-and-maintenance. Like giving someone a parrot and offering to post you a free scorpion later.

If you have to do system administration because something went twang-clonk you need to know about MBR, GPT, LUKS and LVM just to get at the data from the outside. We all know that some computers are imperfect and hope ours will last another day without falling over. When it breaks, encrypted-Mint is a complete pig to work with.

The Debian installer dodges the whole question... if you want it encrypted you set it up yourself. It's not diabolically difficult to leave a big partition for everything that you want to be private and install a plain Mint in, say, the first 32GB of a drive.

For my personal satisfaction I have taken this to an extreme, there are no partitions at all on my computer. The whole 250GB drive is a plain dm-crypt volume, with vital boot-code written unencrypted over the top. I have to remember the 'strong' passphrase, and that the real file system starts 5GB in to the drive. That's still easier than trying to work with a stuck-at-grub or stuck-at-busybox encrypted Mint.

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