Why do I have a directory called .ecryptfs full of files when I do not have my file system encrypted?

(Revisiting the eCryptfs headers errors post from 2015)

In my /var/log/syslog file, I was seeing the error

Valid eCryptfs headers not found in file header region or xattr region, inode 7080159

I used @GiovanniToraldo’s suggestion

find / -inum 7080159

and found the errant file in the /home/.ecryptfs/<user>/.Private/... directory. The file size was 8192 and the file date was July 10, 2019 (last year.) So I deleted the file.

Why do I have a directory for .ecryptfs when I do not have my file system encrypted? Can I just delete the entire .ecryptfs directory?

Note: I am running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS on a desktop computer with a RS880 [Radeon HD 4250] video card that is no longer supported by the Linux kernel beyond 14.04 LTS, so I cannot upgrade Ubuntu without buying a new computer.

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Author: Stephen Daddona