BitLocker: convert drive from "Used Space Only" to "Fully Encrypted"

  1. Posts : 21
    Windows 10

    BitLocker: convert drive from "Used Space Only" to "Fully Encrypted"


    Is it possible to convert a drive that is encrypted under "Used Space Only Encrypted" to be "Fully Encrypted" instead?

    I could do a full decrypt and re-encrypt, but that would take a very long time for this large drive.

    I was sure that I selected "Fully Encrypted" from the beginning, but when I check manage-bde -status the drive is listed as "Used Space Only Encrypted" so I must have missed that somehow. But I want to fix it now.

    Side note: is it possible that a drive formatted with ReFS instead of NTFS could incorrectly be reported as "Used Space Only Encrypted"?


    Windows 10 version: 1909
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 4,185
    Windows 11 Pro, 22H2

    Question first before I go into specific details:

    Why do you want to perform the full encryption? Was there previous data on the drive that you want to protect? If not, then full encryption is a waste of time.

    There is absolutely no advantage to performing a full encryption EXCEPT that if there was previously unencrypted data on the drive that you want to encrypt, the full encryption would address that. Other than that, there is no advantage whatsoever, in fact, it simply takes longer to accomplish nothing.

    Other than decrypting / re-encrypting, the only other solution I could think of would be to use a utility to perform a secure erase of the unused areas of the disk. That would effectively accomplish the same result.
      My Computers

  3. Posts : 21
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Hi hsehestedt. Thanks for the reply!

    I don't think there is previous data on the drive (I've had it for a few years already), but I was just surprised when I checked the status recently and saw it wasn't fully encrypted.

    Your solution of erasing the unused areas sounds good and will be much less of a pain than re-encrypting the whole disk. I'll do that, thanks.
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 4,185
    Windows 11 Pro, 22H2

    If there was no previous data, then there really is no need do an erase of unused space. After all, what are erasing then?

    With used space only BitLocker encryption, any new data you write to the drive still gets encrypted as it is written so you are not really buying yourself anything.
      My Computers


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