How to Activate BitLocker Step by Step

In this guide I am going to explain what BitLocker is and what it is for in Windows environments . I show you what the objectives of this security tool are for your PC and, in a very simple way, I explain how to activate it on your computer to keep it protected. You will find everything you need to know about BitLocker in this in-depth analysis.

Index of contents

  • What is BitLocker and what is it for?
  • Why is Bitlocker so important? Check out this practical example
  • How to activate BitLocker step by step
    • Recommendations for correct use of this security function

What is BitLocker and what is it for?

BitLocker is a disk encryption tool developed by Microsoft to protect data stored on computers and tablets that use the Windows operating system. First introduced in Windows Vista, this tool offers an additional layer of security by encrypting the entire hard drive , including system files and user data. This ensures that, if the device is lost or stolen, the data remains inaccessible to unauthorized persons.

Now, what is BitLocker based on? Basically, advanced encryption algorithms are used that make the data unreadable if you do not have the unlock key. More specifically, the AES standard is used , although in CBC mode and a 128-bit key. In the latest versions of BitLocker, the tool can also encrypt the contents of external drives that have been connected to the PC. This feature is known as BitLocker to Go.

To enable BitLocker, you need a TPM module , one of the essential requirements to install Windows 11 . We are not talking about a software implementation, but rather a hardware component that stores and manages encryption keys securely. Now, even if your computer does not have TPM, you will be able to take advantage of the capabilities of the tool, as it allows you to use a USB drive as a boot key. The obvious advantage of TPM is that everything is stored within the computer and there is no need to connect USB keys .

Why is Bitlocker so important? Check out this practical example

To fully understand the objective that BitLocker pursues, I will give you a simple example. But before we start imagining, remember that this functionality is especially useful in professional environments , where sensitive data is often stored on company devices. And it is even more interesting for employees who telework and move, where theft or loss of equipment poses a huge risk.

With this in mind, consider a company executive carrying a Surface to work while traveling . One day, while he is at a cafe, someone steals his backpack, which contains the Surface. This is a problem, because the information on the storage drive contains plans for a future project, as well as data for all customers. You certainly wouldn’t want to be in this situation.

Fortunately, the computer was protected with BitLocker. Therefore, all this confidential information is illegible to someone who does not have the master key. Without this key, the thief cannot access the files stored on the Surface , because before booting it he will encounter this:

Source: Microsoft

But the thing doesn’t stop there. Even if the thief decides to remove the hard drive and connect it to another computer to try to read the data , he will find that all the contents are encrypted and cannot be opened with any program.

How to activate BitLocker step by step

To activate BitLocker, you need to have Windows 11 Pro . It is also possible to activate it in previous versions of the system, as long as you have a Professional license. You can update the Windows edition on your computer thanks to a gold key . They are easy to find on the Internet.

Important Guide:

  • How to change Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 PRO

Once you are on Windows 11 Pro (or its equivalent in previous versions), do this:

  1. Enter the Windows control panel . This tool has not yet been migrated to the new system configuration panel.
  2. Click System and Security.
  3. Click on BitLocker Drive Encryption.
  4. Next to the drive you want to encrypt you will see the message Activate BitLocker. Click on it.
  5. Follow the wizard steps and choose where you want to save the unlock key.
  6. Next, decide whether you want to encrypt the entire drive or just the used disk space. This last procedure is faster.
  7. Choose the encryption mode. I recommend choosing Compatible modeonly for those units that you are going to carry from one computer to another.
  8. Finally, check the Run BitLocker system checkbox . It is a process that takes a while, but it ensures that the encryption was applied correctly.
  9. Finally, press Start encryption.
  10. The computer will restart and you will need to use the key that BitLocker provided you in the first step of the wizard.

Recommendations for correct use of this security function

If you decide to use BitLocker, here are some recommendations that you should not overlook:

  • Protect all your data. If you really want to take advantage of this tool, make sure to use it on all drives on your device , including external hard drives with BitLocker To Go.
  • Keep the key safe. Keep the recovery key in a safe and accessible place. During setup, you can take advantage of your Microsoft account to associate it with encryption. This is a very effective way to recover access to your data if you forget the password. Additionally, it is also possible to obtain a printed copy to store in a safe place.
  • Update the operating system. This ensures that you have the latest BitLocker features and that data compatibility is maintained.

It is important to take these points into account, as they will prevent accidental loss of information. Additionally, we also recommend making regular backup copies on other drives or in the cloud , to be able to recover data, even if you forget the unlock key.

And you, do you usually use advanced security features like BitLocker? Do you think these tools should be available to all users or only to those who work in professional environments? Leave us your opinion below. We read you!


Leave a Comment