Excellent Utilities: horcrux – file splitter with encryption and redundancy

This series highlights best-of-breed utilities. We cover a wide range of utilities including tools that boost your productivity, help you manage your workflow, and lots more besides.

horcrux is an open source tool that’s designed to split files and keep them secure with encryption. This encryption doesn’t require remembering a passphrase or retaining a private key. Instead, the utility uses the Shamir Secret Sharing Scheme to break an encryption key into parts that can be recombined to create the original key, but only requiring a certain threshold to do so.

The tool therefore includes redundancy so that you can resurrect the original file without needing access to all of the split files.

There isn’t an Ubuntu package available for the utility. Instead go to the project’s GitHub directory and download the appropriate tarball for your system. We selected the file horcrux_0.2_Linux_x86_64.tar.gz.

Extract the file with the command:

$ tar zxvf horcrux_0.2_Linux_x86_64.tar.gz.

Then copy the horcrux file to a directory in your PATH such as /usr/local/bin

$ sudo cp horvrux /usr/local/bin

The horcrux tool runs from the command-line but there aren’t a great slue of commands to learn. In fact there’s just two command, split and bind.

Let’s suppose you have an file called inventory.txt and want to split into 5 parts but require only 3 of these parts to resurrect the file. We issue the horcrux’s split command:

$ horcrux -t 3 -n 5 split inventory.txt

This command generates output:


Let’s examine the size of these generated files.


You’ll notice the program copies the encrypted file into each horcrux. This will use a lot of storage with a large file that’s split into many pieces. There are a number of different ways the project could seek to reduce the size of each generated file. However, as there doesn’t seem to be active development currently this might be something a budding Go developer may wish to take forward.


horcrux is a very useful tool if you want to keep important files secure with encryption and have multiple locations to store the generated files. The utility is simple, and quick to learn with only 2 commands.

Website: github.com/jesseduffield/horcrux
Developer: Jesse Duffield
License: MIT License

horcrux is written in Go. Learn Go with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

Complete list of articles in this series:

Excellent Utilities
AES CryptEncrypt files using the Advanced Encryption Standard
AnanicyShell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities
brootNext gen tree explorer and customizable launcher
CerebroFast application launcher
cheat.shCommunity driven unified cheat sheet
CopyQAdvanced clipboard manager
crocSecurely transfer files and folders from the command-line
DeskreenLive streaming your desktop to a web browser
dufDisk usage utility with more polished presentation than the classic df
ezaA turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command
Extension ManagerBrowse, install and manage GNOME Shell Extensions
fdWonderful alternative to the venerable find
fkillKill processes quick and easy
fontpreviewQuickly search and preview fonts
horcruxFile splitter with encryption and redundancy
KoohaSimple screen recorder
KOReaderDocument viewer for a wide variety of file formats
ImagineA simple yet effective image optimization tool
LanguageToolStyle and grammar checker for 30+ languages
Liquid PromptAdaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh
lnavAdvanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting
lsdLike exa, lsd is a turbo-charged alternative to ls
Mark TextSimple and elegant Markdown editor
McFlyNavigate through your bash shell history
mdlessFormatted and highlighted view of Markdown files
notiMonitors a command or process and triggers a notification
NushellFlexible cross-platform shell with a modern feel
nvitopGPU process management for NVIDIA graphics cards
OCRmyPDFAdd OCR text layer to scanned PDFs
Oh My ZshFramework to manage your Zsh configuration
PaperworkDesigned to simplify the management of your paperwork
pastelGenerate, analyze, convert and manipulate colors
PDF Mix ToolPerform common editing operations on PDF files
pecoSimple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful
ripgrepRecursively search directories for a regex pattern
RnoteSketch and take handwritten notes
scrcpyDisplay and control Android devices
StickySimulates the traditional “sticky note” style stationery on your desktop
tldrSimplified and community-driven man pages
tmuxA terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow
TuskAn unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential
UlauncherSublime application launcher
WatsonTrack the time spent on projects
Whoogle SearchSelf-hosted and privacy-focused metasearch engine
ZellijTerminal workspace with batteries included
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