How do I use BitLocker to encrypt my computer's drives?

smueller2
2016-01-07 19:14

Windows machines offer a data encryption feature to encrypt computer drives and removable storage drives. On your Windows 8.1 machine, the encryption feature is called BitLocker (or BitLocker To Go for removable drives). When this encryption is enabled, it will protect content when a computer or storage drive is lost or stolen.

BitLocker will need to be turned on through the Control Panel of your Windows machine to be active. You will not notice much difference while using your computer or external drives when BitLocker is turned on.

Using BitLocker to Encrypt Your Windows Hard Drive (as opposed to a removable drive)

  1. Open the Control Panel on your Windows device.
  2. Select "BitLocker Drive Encryption"
  3. You will see a display listing each of your drives (under a separate heading below, you will see a section for Removable data drives-BitLocker To Go).
  4. For your drive, click "Turn on BitLocker."
  5. Chances are good you'll get an error message saying, "This device can't use a Trusted Platform Module." If your computer doesn't have a TPM, which is a special circuit that is built into the system boards of BitLocker-compatible PCs. However, there is a workaround if your PC doesn't have this component. See the image below:
  6. After completing the workaround, you will get a separate "Turn on BitLocker" link for each drive listed in the Control Panel.
  7. Choose either "Insert a USB flash drive" or "Enter a password." If you choose the flash drive option, a window opens and shows you all the flash drives Windows can find. Click the one you want to use as your physical key and click "OK." DO NOT LOSE THAT FLASH DRIVE. If you choose the password option, a window opens and asks you to enter a complex password twice. The password must have capital letters, lower-case letters, and numbers. DO NOT FORGET YOUR PASSWORD.
  8. On the next pop-up, choose how you want to back up your recovery key (your password). This step will allow you an emergency recovery method if you lose your flash drive "key" or forget your BitLocker password. The recovery key is a 48-digit serial number. If you choose "Save to your Microsoft account" you must go to this site if you need to recover it: https://skydrive.live.com/RecoveryKey. You may choose more than one of these options (for example, choose to save it and print it). The dialog box doesn't go away until you click "Next."
  9. On the next pop-up, choose how much of your drive to encrypt. Click "Next."
  10. The encryption takes some time. The computer will ask you to "Continue" and then "Restart now" to finish the encryption process.
  11. From now on, every time you turn on the computer (when Windows tries to access an encrypted drive) you will have to log in to BitLocker with the new password you created.

 

 

Tags: Windows OS
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