How to Use BitLocker To Go to Encrypt Removable Media

BitLocker To Go is a feature in Windows operating systems that allows you to encrypt removable storage devices such as USB flash drives and external hard drives.

If you’re storing any type of file relating to Seattle University, encrypting your removable media with BitLocker is required in order to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access if the device is lost or stolen.

This guide will walk you through the process of using BitLocker To Go to encrypt your removable media.

Note: BitLocker To Go is available in Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions. The steps may vary slightly depending on your Windows version.

Step 1: Connect the Removable Media
Insert your USB flash drive or connect your external hard drive to your computer.

Step 2: Open File Explorer
Open File Explorer by pressing the Windows key + E or by clicking the File Explorer icon in the taskbar.

Step 3: Locate the Removable Media
In File Explorer, locate and right-click on the drive letter assigned to your removable media (e.g., "E:", "F:", etc.).

Step 4: Select "Turn on BitLocker"
From the context menu, select "Turn on BitLocker." This will initiate the BitLocker setup wizard for your removable media.

Step 5: Choose How to Unlock the Drive
In the BitLocker setup wizard, you will be prompted to choose how you want to unlock the drive. You have two options:

Select the desired option and click "Next."

Step 6: Save the Recovery Key
BitLocker will ask you to choose how you want to save the recovery key. The recovery key is a crucial backup in case you forget the password. You have the following options:

  • Save to a file: Choose a secure location on your computer to save the recovery key as a file.

  • Print the recovery key: If you have a printer connected, you can choose to print the recovery key.

  • Save to your Microsoft account: If you are signed in with a Microsoft account, you can choose to save the recovery key online.

Select the preferred option and click "Next."

Step 7: Choose Encryption Method
BitLocker will ask you to choose the encryption method. Choose "New encryption mode," which provides the best security and click "Next."

Step 8: Encrypt Used Disk Space Only or Entire Drive
You can choose to encrypt only the used disk space to speed up the encryption process, or encrypt the entire drive for maximum security. Select the preferred option and click "Next."

Step 9: Start Encryption
Click "Start encrypting" to begin the encryption process. The time required for encryption will depend on the size of the drive and the amount of data stored on it. You can continue using your computer while the encryption is in progress.

Step 10: Eject the Removable Media
Once the encryption process is complete, you will see a message confirming that the drive is encrypted with BitLocker. Safely eject the removable media from your computer.

Step 11: Unlock the Encrypted Drive
When you connect the encrypted drive to a computer, you will be prompted to enter the password to unlock it. Follow the on-screen instructions to unlock the drive and access your data.

By following these steps, you can use BitLocker To Go to encrypt your removable media and protect sensitive data from unauthorized access. Remember to choose a strong password for unlocking the drive and keep the recovery key in a safe place. Encryption adds an extra layer of security to your removable media, ensuring the confidentiality of your data.