Is a Cryptomator vault case sensitive?

The Short Answer


The Longer Answer

Filesystems which store and manage your files, can be diveded into 2 categories: Case sensitive and case insensitive. On a filesystem (FS) of the first categories and FoO.BAr refer to different files, while on a FS of the second both names point to the same file. An example for a case insensitive FS is NTFS, which is the default on Windows computers, and hence Windows users are accustomed to its behaviour.

Cryptomator provides a custom FS to efficiently encrypt your files and never store your data unencrypted on “cold storage”. Everytime a vault is unlocked, this FS is used and only integrated into the surrounding OS. When Cryptomator was founded the decision was made to implement this encrypted FS as case sensitive. And, well, therefore, every vault is case sensitive meaning also on Windows systems. This decision cannot be simply undone, since it would break existing setups.

To alleviate this situation a little, when you use Dokany on Windows, the search in a vault is not case sensitive. But to address a specific file/directory by its path, you still need to get the casing correct.

You might have now the question, why not adding an option to ignore the case for a vault. An answer can be found in the following disscusion on our issue tracker: Same folder exists twice first Char lowercase and uppercase · Issue #622 · cryptomator/cryptomator · GitHub


Obscure question that I can’t resist asking: If on a Unix system I create 2 files in the same folder in a vault like T.txt and t.txt and then view the folder on a Windows system what happens? Do I just see both of them in the file explorer? If I use the Notepad to create new file T.txt does the right file get replaced? What if I create a file named t.Txt? What if I execute the command del T.TXT from the command line? I’m sure you’ve thought about this knotty little problem and it would be interesting to know how you resolved it.

It depends on the used os integraton and the app querying the vault filesystem.

For the first, on Windows you can choose between WebDAV, Dokany or FUSE. The first one does not deal well with different casings (due to the usage of Windows build in WebDAV implementation), see this ticket. Dokany handles the situation well since version, but unfortunately our installer is still shipped with Dokany 1.4.x. Fuse is also able to handle different casing.

Regarding the application side: Windows Explorer can deal with different casings without a problem, FileZilla portable performed poorly on this site (see this comment on our issue tracker). If the application is coded according to modern standards, it will work. But in the end you need to try it.

As pointed out in the first post, the case sensitivity cannot be changed. Hence, there is no resolution to different casings except using the proper casing. It might take some time, but you’ll get used to it. And for all scripting gurus using Cryptomator: As a benefit, this enforces cleaner code in your script.