Bitlocker: How to Use Bit Locker in Windows for Data Encryption?

bitlocker

What Is BitLocker?

BitLocker Drive Encryption, sometimes known as BitLocker, is a security and encryption feature for Microsoft Windows that comes with some more recent versions of Windows. Users can use BitLocker to encrypt all of the data on the drive that Windows is installed on, preventing theft or unwanted access.

Microsoft BitLocker strengthens the system and file security by reducing unauthorized data access. It employs 128- or 256-bit keys and the Advanced Encryption Standard algorithm. On-disk encryption and unique key management methods are combined in BitLocker.

Despite the fact that BitLocker was first introduced with Windows Vista in 2007, Microsoft improved BitLocker starting with Windows 10 version 1511 by adding additional encryption algorithms, group policy settings, operating system (OS) discs, and detachable data drives.

For Windows 11, 10, and Server 2016 and later, this update is applicable. Windows Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions all support BitLocker.

How Does BitLocker Work?

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A Trusted Platform Module is a customized chip that BitLocker makes use of (TPM). For hardware authentication, the TPM holds Rivest-Shamir-Adleman encryption keys specific to the host system. To protect user data, the TPM and BitLocker are installed by the original hardware manufacturer of the computer.

A startup procedure can be prevented from starting until the user enters a PIN or inserts a removable device, such as a flash drive, that has a startup key, in addition to a TPM. In the event that the user forgets or misplaces their password, BitLocker also generates a recovery key for the user’s hard drive.

Windows OS discs can still be encrypted using BitLocker on computers without a TPM installed. But with this solution, starting the machine or bringing it out of hibernation requires a USB startup key. However, Microsoft claims that when BitLocker and a TPM are used together, there is additional pre-startup system integrity testing.

Two other tools for managing BitLocker are the BitLocker Recovery Password Viewer and BitLocker Drive Encryption Tools. Users can find BitLocker recovery passwords that are backed up to Active Directory (AD) Domain Services using the BitLocker Recovery Password Viewer.

The data on a drive that has already been encrypted can be recovered with this utility. The BitLocker Drive Encryption Tools are a collection of command-line programs, Windows PowerShell cmdlets for BitLocker, and the manage-bde and repair-bde utilities.

When BitLocker-protected drives cannot be unlocked naturally or through the recovery console, repair-bde is used, for instance. BitLocker can be enabled or disabled using the Manage-bde command-line utility. All of the files on the drive will be encrypted until BitLocker is turned off, at which point it will be decrypted.

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How to Use BitLocker?

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BitLocker is by default enabled. However, if it is disabled, a user can search for Manage BitLocker in the Windows search box. If BitLocker is installed on the device, it will be shown in the control panel and have an option to be enabled. Other choices include turning off BitLocker, backing up your recovery key, and suspending protection.

When BitLocker is activated, Windows starts to check the system settings. A password must be set up by the user because it is required each time they access their computer or drive. After that, the user chooses the Recovery key settings.

The user can choose how much of their drive they want to encrypt after clicking Next. The two-volume encryption choices are to encrypt the entire drive or just the utilized disc space. Encrypting the data-containing disc space is different from encrypting the entire drive, which encrypts the entire storage volume, including free space.

In order to make sure that BitLocker can access the recovery and encryption keys before anything is encrypted, the user can click here and then run a BitLocker system check.

The BitLocker Drive Encryption Wizard restarts the computer after the system check is finished in order to start the endpoint encryption procedure. Only after the user logs in and the device is added to an AD domain is protection enabled.

By searching for Manage BitLocker in the Windows Search box, choosing the resulting option, and then deactivating BitLocker, the user can decrypt data and switch off BitLocker.

Bit-Locker System Requirements

The following are needed for BitLocker:

  • Installing TPM 1.2 or later is required.
  • A startup key that is kept on a removable device is necessary if a TPM is not being used.
  • For a chain of trust during OS startup when employing a TPM, a BIOS or unified extensible firmware interface (UEFI) that complies with the Trusted Computing Group is required.
  • USB mass storage device class support is required in BIOS or UEFI.
  • Storage drives need at least two partitions.
  • The NT File System must be used to format the OS drive (NTFS)
  • UEFI-based system discs must be formatted with the File Allocation Table 32 file system.
  • System discs that make use of BIOS firmware are required to be NTFS formatted.

What Is a BitLocker Recovery Key?

When BitLocker detects a potential attempt at unauthorized access, it uses a 48-digit recovery key to unlock the user’s computer. The key acts as an additional layer of protection to protect user data. Windows might also request the BitLocker recovery key if the system’s hardware, software, or firmware is modified.

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How to Find a BitLocker Recovery Key?

Reinstalling Windows is the only choice if the recovery key is missing. BitLocker recovery keys can be backed up in the following places to prevent this: The Microsoft account of the user. The user can view their key from another device by logging into their Microsoft account there.

A flash drive USB. The key can be kept on a USB flash drive and used to unlock a locked PC by inserting it into the device. The user can plug the key into another PC to read the password if it is saved as a text file.

The user’s Active Directory (AD) account is in Microsoft Azure. The user’s device-related Azure AD account may contain bigger storage space for the key.

The system of the system administrator. If the user’s device is linked to a domain, a system administrator might possess the recovery key. The possession of the user. The code may have been printed or handwritten on paper by the user.

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