Create an Encrypted Folder in Ubuntu with Cryptkeeper

March 29, 2009 by
Filed under: gnome, HowTo, linux, security, Ubuntu 

Since it's tax time here in the US, I figured it would be good to post something to help you keep your information safe. Today I'll show you how to install and use the Cyptkeeper applet in Ubuntu.

Cryptkeeper is a GNOME applet for managing EncFS encrypted folders. To install it, make sure the Universe Repository is enabled and install it with Synaptic. Alternatively, install it from the command line with:

sudo apt-get install cryptkeeper

The installation should have added your userid to the fuse group. If it didn't, you can add it with:

sudo addgroup userid fuse

where userid is your log in ID.

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Because your group settings have changed, you need to log out and log back in. Once you are logged back in, you can start Cryptkeeper from the menu with Applications->System Tools->Cryptkeeper.

You should see an icon in your System Tray that looks like a pair of keys. This can vary a bit based on your current icon theme. This is the Cryptkeeper icon.

  1. Click mouse button 1 on the Cryptkeeper icon and select New encrypted folder.
  2. Enter a name for your new folder and select a location for it. I'm calling mine safe and putting it in my home folder.
  3. Click the Forward button.
  4. In the next screen, enter a password twice and click Forward.
  5. Click OK in the last screen.

Depending on your Gnome settings, a Nautilus File Manager window may have popped up for your new encrypted folder. Cryptkeeper actually creates a small encrypted folder that it mounts as an encrypted drive.

Create a basic text file in your new encrypted folder to try it out. To hide your encrypted folder, click the Cryptkeeper icon and uncheck the box next to it.

To reopen your encrypted folder, just click on the Cryptkeeper icon and check the box next to it. Enter your encryption password at the prompt, and you're in.


26 Responses to “Create an Encrypted Folder in Ubuntu with Cryptkeeper”

  1. Cushie says:

    Problem accessing Crypt folder Ubuntu Unity 11.10
    I have added my name to the fuse groups using the advised command but don't know where to check the 'Groups'
    My problem is I can't get access the the encrypted folder. Yes I can delete and start all over again which I have tried several times to certify I know the password, each time I get the error 'the stash (folder?) could not be mounted, invalid password'.
    Any suggestions to make some progress would be welcome.

  2. rajdeep says:


    when i click on cryptkeeper icon nothing happens.can u suggest a solution. i dont know whats wrong

  3. pavanShinde says:

    How to get back system tray icon for Cryptkeeper

    • Linerd says:

      On my system, Cryptkeeper is on the menu under Applications->System Tools->Cryptkeeper. You can also start it from the command line or the [Alt]+[F2] menu with cryptkeeper.

  4. John says:

    Great application! I work in a foreign government's ministry and need to keep some things confidential, so just the ticket.

    However, I am having trouble across Linux distributions. I created a CryptKeeper folder in one (Xubuntu) but can't access it in another (Linux Mint). I couldn't find any help on the subject of cross distribution usage, so tried the "Import EncFS folder" option. During the import process it could certainly see the existing folder (hidden in my documents, a directory/data partition shared by all distributions), but then when I try to mount it from the tray applet, after entering my password, a window saying "Creating new encrypted volume" appears but nothing happens after that. The folder is still invisible in Thunar (I have changed the preferred file browser) and not listed as mounted in the applet right click menu.

    By the way, how good is the encryption?


  5. Frank Henderson says:

    Linerd, have you done what Axel recommends. This is December and I've installed Cryptkeeper (it works great) and wish that it didn't require the extra step after closing the encrypted file of unclicking the file in the Key. Is that what Axel's thing does. I don't know enough to put his suggestions into the program myself.

    • Linerd says:

      I haven't bothered trying Axel's recommendation. What his script will do is unmount the encrypted folder when you log out of your computer. My computer tends to stay on most of the time and 99 times out of 100 that I'm logging out I'm also shutting down, so it's a non-issue for me. When you start the computer again it shouldn't be mounted by default. I haven't tried it, but I don't see a reason that it should happen.

      It sounds like you may be looking for a solution to encrypt single files rather than a folder of files. I don't know of a program that does that. Not to say that it doesn't exist, I just haven't gone looking for it.

  6. odalcet says:

    I you lost your cryptkeeper password, you lost your data...

  7. amountain says:

    I am using Cryptkeeper and forget my password.
    What can I do to access my encrypted folder?


  8. Axel says:

    If you like your temporary folders to be removed use the following line between do and done:

    echo "${dir}" | awk '{system("umount " $0); system("rm -rf " $0);}'
  9. Axel says:

    Hi there,

    I was a little bit annoyed that when i logged out, crytkeeper does not take care of unmounting my directories.

    So I wrote a little script you should put into


    The script umounts ALL existing encfs filesystems on you PC after logout of a gnome session:

    for dir in "$(cat /etc/mtab | grep encfs | awk '{print $2}' | sed -e 's/\040/ /g')"
       echo "${dir}" | awk '{system("umount " $0)}'

    (Hope this will be formatted right, if not: Linerd, please correct it)

    Greets Axel

    • Axel says:

      sed -e 's/40/ /g'

      should be (please insert a backslash for "BACKSLASH")
      sed -e's/"BACKSLASH"040/ /g'

      • Linerd says:

        Ok, I think I got everything formatted and corrected. Let me know if something looks incorrect.

        Thanks for the tips. I'll have to give it a try when I get home.

  10. thanoob says:

    well it dosent work for me because when i try to press on it nothing heappens whats that abought?

  11. sam says:

    The problem is after i unmount it, anybody can right click on the folder name in the 'key' menu and delete the whole thing. Then what purpose does it serve? If anybody can just delete it if they aren't able to open it? Isn't that a bug?

    • Linerd says:

      You should quit Cryptkeeper after you unmount it. Also, I think if it gets deleted from Cryptkeeper, that doesn't actually delete your encrypted folder, it just removes it from the list. You should be able to add it back in by importing it. I haven't tested that and I'm away from my Linux box right now. Try just creating a new encrypted folder and put a few text files in there for testing purposes. Then try deleting it and see if you can import it back in. In my example I called the folder safe. This shows up under my home folder as .safe_enfs.

  12. Dar says:

    Nevermind. dumb dumb me didn't even think of right clicking on a folder in the list to remove and delete it. I figured it out... I guess I just need sleep or more coffee.

  13. Dar says:

    OK, after I use a folder and decide to delete it completely, how do I remove the folder from the cryptkeeper list? If I completely erase the folder, I should have no record of ever having it.

  14. Karl says:

    Thanks for the guide. It worked perfectly in Ubuntu 9.10.

  15. Mahesh Mohan M.U says:

    the command is wrong:- sudo apt-get install cyptkeeper

    it should be "cryptkeepr"

  16. Mark says:

    @ Linerd: you are exactly correct in your instructions to Veronica. To verify, I just created an encrypted folder, just as you describe above. I put a bunch of files in - checked to make sure I could use them - a-ok. I closed the drive (unchecked the check box), and couldn't access the encrypted stuff. Perfect. I opened/mounted the drive (clicked the checkbox), copied a file out, and re-closed. Then I opened the file I copied out - no issues.


  17. Linerd says:

    @ Veronica - You should be able to start up Cyptkeeper to access your files and move them to a non-encrypted folder. The size of the encrypted folder should shrink as you move the files out (I haven't tried this, but it seems like it should work).

    Good luck!

  18. Veronica says:

    thanks for the how to
    after all is done and I have an encrypted folder with my files

    my question is:
    how can I remove this data and not be encrypted anymore ?

    1-encrypted folder is 200GB
    2-free space is 10GB


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