BitLocker drive encryption is an inbuilt windows 7 security feature. BitLocker encryption lets you to protect data in a hard drive or any removable drive( Usb flash drives or external hard drives) by encryption. It’s quite easy but secured way to keep away your personal files or folders from being accessed by a third person. Another quite good choice is to protect your operating system drive from unauthorized access of system files. Here, I describe the step by step procedure of encrypting a drive with BitLocker.
Enable BitLocker Drive Encryption on a Drive
- Open “Control Panel” from the start menu in Windows 7.
- Go to “System and Security” > “BitLocker Drive Encryption”.
- The drives that are eligible* for the encryption appear in a list. Click Turn on BitLocker to the drive that you want to encrypt. Here I turned on BitLocker for drive “E”.
- A new window opens having three options to unlock that drive. The options are: “Use a password to unlock the drive”, “Use my smart card to unlock the drive” and “Automatically unlock this drive on this computer”. Check the option in which you want to go. Here, I’ve used a password to unlock my drive (E).
- Now type and retype passwords in specific space. Optionally, you can use your smart card to unlock the drive.
- BitLocker understand the human limitation and give you the option to keep a backup of the recovery key. Three options are available to store the recovery key. You can save the recovery key to a USB flash drive or save to a file, also you can get a printed version of the recovery key. Double click on one of your choice. For instance, I saved my BitLocker recovery key in a folder. If you forget your password or lose your smart card then you can use these recovery key to access your drive. But save that key with caution, it should not be in touch of a third person.
- After saving your Bitlocker recovery key, click on “Next”.
- A message asking you “Are you ready to encrypt this drive?” appears in a new window. If you’ve are confirm that you’ve saved the recovery key, click on Start Encrypting.
- The encryption process starts. It takes some time depending your drive’s volume. Don’t close the program or turn off your computer before encryption process is done completely.
- Once the drive is encrypted successfully, you should get a confirmation message and you will be noticing that the encrypted driver icon has been changed.
The BitLocker application lets you to log on and work with your files normally, but the other users can’t access your protected drive. If you add any new file on protected drive it will automatically encrypted but if you copy any file from protected drive and use it in another drive, the encryption does not work, it will works normally. Files are protected only that drive.
* If you have installed multiple operating system in your computer, the drive containing the operating system (except Windows 7) are not eligible for BitLocker encryption. As example, if Windows XP is installed in your D: drive, the drive D: won’t appear in the list.