“Decryption Failed: Risk of Data Loss” error dialog on startup

In this article, we’ll explain what are the causes, and what to do when encountering a “Decryption Failed: Risk of Data Loss” dialog.

Vivaldi may show a dialog on startup when it fails to decrypt an encrypted user profile. Your user profile contains your Settings, History, Bookmarks, Cookies, and more. To protect the data in your profile, Vivaldi encrypts it to prevent attackers from gaining access to your profile.

When the dialog appears, it means that the decryption secret key has gone missing or that it has been changed. Your decryption secret key is stored safely in a subsystem managed by your operating system (the key store). Vivaldi uses Keychain on Mac OS, OSCrypt on Windows, and either GNOME Secrets or KWallet on Linux. These subsystems are unique to your user account on your device; your user account password unlocks these encrypted subsystems when you log in to your computer.

You need to use the same decryption secret key on the same operating system user account on the same operating system to unlock your secure storage and successfully decrypt your Vivaldi profile.

You cannot use the same Vivaldi profile on multiple user accounts on the same computer or on different computers. Please use Vivaldi Sync to keep your data in sync between multiple instances of Vivaldi on different computers or between user accounts on the same computer.

For Linux users with multiple desktop environments, please configure all your desktop environments to use the same key store. The key store to use is derived from the standard XDG_SESSION_DESKTOP environmental variable. To override the automatic selection, you can use the launch argument --password-store=gnome-libsecret. Other supported values include kwallet5 and kwallet6. You can also disable the encryption system with basic (strongly discouraged!).

If you encounter this warning dialog, you may know what changes you have made and know how to undo them to restore your profile. Closing the dialog will exit Vivaldi and give you an opportunity to fix the problem. E.g., you might be able to export a secret key from one computer and migrate it to another. This is beyond the scope of this article.

You can also choose to continue with data loss. Selecting this option will log you out of most websites, your Vivaldi Mail and Calendar accounts, Vivaldi Sync, and more. It will also delete your saved passwords. Some protected settings may also revert to their default values. After resetting your profile, it will be encrypted using a new secret key stored in the user account on the current computer.

Your secret key may be irrecoverably lost if you reset or override your computer’s user account password.

Please note that this dialog may appear due to a common miss configuration problem: Your key store will be locked when you lock your screen or the computer hibernates; and then subsequently fails to unlock after unlocking the screen or resuming the session. This problem can happen on any operating system but is a common problem on more obscure Linux distributions or desktop environments.

Other web browsers either do not encrypt your profile or silently delete the same data without warning!