I would like to store encrypted backups on an external hard disk and am wondering what the differences are between creating an encrypted (Veracrypt) container and creating an encrypted partition.

Are there any differences between these two options regarding performance or data corruption (data loss)?

  • It's analogous to, "difference between using a folder and a partition on my hard drive". which both have different use cases. – James Jan 31 '18 at 10:14

The container is an file, that can reside anywhere. You can copy or move it and the data inside remains secure.

Encrypting the whole partition encrypts all content in that partition. To securely move something from there, you would need move it to another encrypted partition or container.

Performance is pretty much similar in the case of reads/ writes.

In the case of data loss, things get more complicated. Results really depend on the type of damage.

The container file is definitely easier to backup and restore, but has the disadvantage that if you have no backup system whatsoever and you damage the container file, there could be massive damage inside it or it even become unusable.

In the case of full encrypted partition, damage like bad clusters has less impact than it has on a file container, but it presents the disadvantage of total possible failure in case of various critical partition areas damage.

To choose between the two you should consider what data you store there, how large is it, how much of it updates/changes and how do you intent to back it up.

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