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EncFS - an Encrypted Filesystem

This project is NOT maintained. For details, see the Status section.


EncFS provides an encrypted filesystem in user-space. It runs in userspace, using the FUSE library for the filesystem interface. EncFS is open source software, licensed under the LGPL.

EncFS was first released in 2003, making it one of the earlier FUSE filesystems! I wrote it because I needed to encrypt my data while traveling, and the existing NFS and kernel-based encrypted filesystems such as CFS had not kept pace with Linux development. When FUSE became available, I wrote a CFS replacement for my own use and later released it to Open Source when it seemed stable.

EncFS encrypts individual files, by translating all requests for the virtual EncFS filesystem into the equivalent encrypted operations on the raw filesystem.

For more info, see:


In the time since EncFS was written, a lot has changed in the security, privacy, and computing landscapes. Computing power has increased enormously over what a circa-2003 laptop can provide, and so it is no longer a performance burden to encrypt the entire filesystem of a personal device. Software encryption has also spread widely - data encryption is built into most systems and programs, so there is far less of a need to have a separate encryption system.

EncFS has been dormant for a long time now. I haven't used or worked on EncFS in many years. I've left the repository here because I don't want to prevent anyone from using it if they have a need that can't be met otherwise. I'm sure that I have some very old backups that would still require EncFS to access, so I expect that I might have to compile it again someday.

Don't expect any updates on this project. You're free to fork it, of course, but remember that this is a 20+yr old codebase which was only funded by personal interest, so I wouldn't expect it to live up to modern-day coding standards.

If you're considering setting up a new encrypted filesystem wrapper, I'd recommend looking into newer alternatives, such as the excellent GoCryptFS.

Thank you all for the early support, especially the FUSE author Miklos Szeredi, and all the interesting discussions at Open Source and Linux meetups over the years. Valient Gough May 2024

Unique Features

EncFS has a few features still not found anywhere else (as of Dec 2014) that may be interesting to you:

Reverse mode

encfs --reverse provides an encrypted view of an unencrypted folder. This enables encrypted remote backups using standard tools like rsync.

Fast on classical HDDs

EncFS is typically much faster than ecryptfs for stat()-heavy workloads when the backing device is a classical hard disk. This is because ecryptfs has to to read each file header to determine the file size - EncFS does not. This is one additional seek for each stat. See for detailed benchmarks on HDD, SSD and ramdisk.

Works on top of network filesystems

EncFS works on network file systems (NFS, CIFS...), while ecryptfs is known to still have problems.


The master branch contains the latest stable codebase. This is where bug fixes and improvments should go.

The dev branch contains experimental work, some of which may be back-ported to the master branch when it is stable. The dev branch is not stable, and there is no guarantee of backward compatibility between changes.


EncFS works on Cygwin, there are also some Windows ports.

See the wiki for additional info.


What settings should I use for Dropbox?

Use standard mode. There have been reports of a pathological interaction of paranoia mode with Dropbox' rename detection. The problem seems to be with External IV chaining, which is not active in standard mode.