Bitlocker turned itself on??? Never seen this b4

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  1. Posts : 380
    Windows 10 1803

    Bitlocker turned itself on??? Never seen this b4

    Edit: Not Bitlocker, but Device Encryption.

    Windows v1909 18363 on a Dell Inspiron 15 - the original drive on this one failed. I installed a new SSD
    No biggie, right? So while setting up, updating windows, installing drivers etc, I noticed Bitlocker is ON. ??
    I never turned it on.

    how did this happen? It turned off and decrypted ok apparently when I turned the feature Off in Windows device encryption setting, but how on earth did this occur? I wonder now if there is a setting in the BIOS that Dell invented....
    Last edited by cognus; 1 Week Ago at 13:19.
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  2. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 48,963
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro for Workstations build 19640

    Hello cognus,

    This does sound like Device Encryption that gets turned on by default.

    How to Turn On or Off Device Encryption in Windows 10
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  3. jumanji's Avatar
    Posts : 2,361
    Windows 10 Home 64bit Version 1909

    Even if your DELL laptop has Windows 10 Home edition, it may come with Device Encryption enabled if it meets certain prerequisites. Device encryption is a simplified form of the standard bitlocker encryption with no management feature. Your laptop will automatically get encrypted when you log in with your Microsoft account. ( Previously you perhaps logged in with a local account. )

    You can turn it off or on manually.

    "Windows Device Encryption/BitLocker can also be enabled manually:
    Click the Start button, select Settings > Update & Security > Device Encryption. If device encryption is turned off, click select Turn on.
    You are prompted to back up your recovery key. Dell recommends saving the recovery key to USB drive and not to the system drive.
    If Device Encryption is not shown, the system may not meet device encryption requirements. Verify that the System Requirements are met."

    The recovery key is automatically saved to your Microsoft Account (MSA) when the device is encrypted and can be retrieved from ( You will be prompted to type your account password to let you see the recovery key/s)

    Bitlocker turned itself on???  Never seen this b4-23-05-2020-22-03-23.jpg

    Last edited by jumanji; 1 Week Ago at 12:15.
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  4. Posts : 380
    Windows 10 1803
    Thread Starter

    Thanks to you both.
    I think we're looking at the same article, linked within the article Brink posted:

    And I should note there are quite a few threads about this on the Dell forum but none were very conclusive.
    In this case, as I said, the OEM drive failed [hard failure... ugly kind]. I removed the original HDD. I installed a virgin SSD, and used v1909 from my USB UEFI bootable device courtesy of MS Media-Builder app.. I did NOT setup a Microsoft account [and that takes some work these days]. I did not login to any of my own MS accounts... just getting started here on config'ing the system. Yet, Device Encryption turned on anyway. When, I'm not sure but it has been less than 24 hours since original install. It must be a Dell "feature", yet on this common garden variety Dell Inspiron laptop no MS account was involved [which the article says is requisite].

    so I call it "solved", though the process was slightly diff from Dell's article. Hope this helps somebody that stops by hunting for such answers.
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  5. jumanji's Avatar
    Posts : 2,361
    Windows 10 Home 64bit Version 1909

    A long thread on the issue: - solved - many solutions.

    In the following situations, your Device encryption enabled PC can get automatically encrypted:

    Use MSA for Windows log-in, add MSA as email app. and work or school account, log into Microsoft Store App with MSA, redeem or activate Microsoft Office or other Microsoft applications with MSA. ( People using Office 365 found their PCs autoencrypted "I too never set it up when I began using the laptop in early 2019. However, by going to the office 365 admin center I was able to find the Bit Locker key registered in Azure Active Directory under the device manager and user profile. I had used multiple drives so the Key ID is important for identifying the correct key." )

    Even if you turn off Device encryption, the defunct Recovery Key/s with date encrypted and uploaded into it will be available in your Microsoft Account unless you had deleted it in your account.

    ( Since Dec 2019 when I setup and activated my Windows Home 64 Bit Dell Inspiron 22 -3280, I had turned off and on Device Encryption 8 times . I had deleted all old Recovery keys from my Microsoft account, retaining only the Recovery Key/s generated on my last encryption switch on. )

    Bitlocker turned itself on???  Never seen this b4-24-05-2020-12-31-38.jpg

    (I have turned off Device encryption now and so these keys are no longer valid/relevant. Will be deleted shortly )

    Bitlocker turned itself on???  Never seen this b4-24-05-2020-12-41-42.jpg

    Since you found that Device Encryption was available in Settings > Update & security and you turned it off manually, you can also turn it on manually and save your Recovery key by clicking on Bitlocker settings as shown in my last post.You have to find out where exactly in the Microsoft domain the Recovery Keys are saved so that you can retrieve it, should you lose the saved key/s. ( I am sure it should be in one of your Microsoft Accounts. )

    Last edited by jumanji; 1 Week Ago at 12:46.
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  6. Posts : 380
    Windows 10 1803
    Thread Starter

    jumangi I'm not sure I'm following you. Are you saying that the user SHOULD create a key [assuming one was never deliberately created in the first case] and save it somewhere safe so that it can be the "get out of jail key" for contingencies, in case the system is auto-encrypted through some Microsoft trigger?

    oh, and, at Microsoft, do they still refer to the category as "Bitlocker", per your example?
    Last edited by cognus; 1 Week Ago at 10:42. Reason: clarity
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  7. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 48,963
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro for Workstations build 19640


    Device Encryption is really just a basic version of BitLocker.

    If Device Encryption is turned on, you should indeed back up its BitLocker recovery key in case you need it. Backing it up to your Microsoft account is just one option.

    Backup BitLocker Recovery Key in Windows 10
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  8. Posts : 380
    Windows 10 1803
    Thread Starter

    there is no bitlocker icon.
    i see many threads on the topic so I will figure it out .

    what still confuses me in these responses, for which I am grateful, is this: the system was automatically locked, I surmise due to a match having been made with the Dell 'feature', the device's unique id [generated by whom/which? dell, ms, ?] , and the finding of the device ID already stashed in a MS database and associated with some human [is this last part true or false?]. So shortly after windows auto-activated, it the drive was encrypted, with no notification [which sorta makes sense... distantly].
    WAS A KEY generated at that POINT?
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  9. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 48,963
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro for Workstations build 19640

    If Device Encryption is not turned on, then there's no need to back up its BitLocker recovery key since there's not one.

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  10. Posts : 380
    Windows 10 1803
    Thread Starter

    per my edits above, since Drive Encryption was auto switched 'on' at some point, was there a key generated, without notice to the user [me, in this case]? Since it turned 'off' peacefully enough, I assume not, but the discussion has me concerned :)
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