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How to Turn On or Off BitLocker for Fixed Data Drives in Windows 10

information   Information
You can use BitLocker Drive Encryption to help protect your files on an entire drive. BitLocker can help block hackers from accessing the system files they rely on to discover your password, or from accessing your drive by physically removing it from your PC and installing it in a different one. You can still sign in to Windows and use your files as you normally would.

New files are automatically encrypted when you add them to a drive that uses BitLocker. However, if you copy these files to another drive or a different PC, they're automatically decrypted.

BitLocker can encrypt the drive Windows is installed on (the operating system drive) as well as fixed data drives (such as internal hard drives). You can also use BitLocker To Go to help protect all files stored on a removable data drive (such as an external hard drive or USB flash drive).

You can choose how you want to unlock an encrypted data drive: with a password or a smart card. For fixed data drives, you can also set the drive to automatically unlock when you unlock the PC, if you prefer, as long as the operating system drive is BitLocker-protected.

This tutorial will show you how to turn on or off BitLocker to encrypt or decrypt a fixed data drive in Windows 10.

Note   Note
You must be signed in as an administrator to be able to use BitLocker on a fixed data drive.

BitLocker Drive Encryption is only available in Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Windows 10 Education editions.


CONTENTS:
  • Option One: To Turn On BitLocker for a Fixed Data Drive in BitLocker Manager
  • Option Two: To Turn Off BitLocker for a Fixed Data Drive in BitLocker Manager
  • Option Three: To Turn Off BitLocker for a Fixed Data Drive in Command Prompt
  • Option Four: To Turn Off BitLocker for a Fixed Data Drive in PowerShell



EXAMPLE: Enter password to unlock data drive encrypted by BitLocker
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Turn On or Off BitLocker for Fixed Data Drives in Windows 10 OPTION ONE Turn On or Off BitLocker for Fixed Data Drives in Windows 10
To Turn On BitLocker for a Fixed Data Drive in BitLocker Manager

1. If you like, set a default encryption method (XTS-AES or AES-CBC) and cipher strength (128 bit or 256 bit) you want used by BitLocker. BitLocker Drive Encryption uses AES-CBC 128 bit by default for fixed data drives.

2. Do step 3, step 4, or step 5 below for how you would like to manage BitLocker.

3. Right click or press and hold on the fixed data drive (ex: G: ) you want to encrypt, click/tap on Turn on BitLocker, and go to step 6 below. (see screenshot below)

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4. Select the fixed data drive (ex: G: ) you want to encrypt, click/tap on the "Drive Tools" Manage tab, click/tap on the BitLocker button in the ribbon, click/tap on Turn on BitLocker, and go to step 6 below. (see screenshot below)

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5. Open the Control Panel (icons view), and click/tap on the BitLocker Drive Encryption icon.

A) Expand open the fixed data drive (ex: G: ) you want to encrypt under Fixed data drives, click/tap on Turn on BitLocker, and go to step 6 below. (see screenshot below)

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6. Choose how (password, smart card, or automatically) you want to unlock this drive, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)
Note   Note
The Automatically unlock this drive on this computer option will only be available if the operating system drive has already been encrypted by BitLocker.


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7. Select how (Microsoft account, USB, file, and/or print) you want to back up your BitLocker recovery key for this drive, and click/tap on Next when finished. (see screenshot below)

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Note   Note
Microsoft account = This option is only available when you are signed in to Windows 10 with a Microsoft account. It will save the BitLocker recovery key to your OneDrive account online at https://onedrive.live.com/recoverykey.

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USB flash drive = This option will save the BitLocker recovery key to a selected USB flash drive.

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File = This option will save the BitLocker recovery key .TXT file to a location you select.

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Print = This option will print the BitLocker recovery key to the selected printer.

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8. Select (dot) how much of your drive to encrypt right now, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)
Note   Note
It is recommended to select Encrypt entire drive.


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9. Select (dot) which encryption mode to use, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)
Note   Note
If you did step 1 above to set a default encryption method and cipher strength, then you will not have this setting available since BitLocker will use what you set in step 1 instead.


New encryption mode (XTS-AES 128-bit) = Select this mode if this is a fixed drive or if this drive will only be used on devices running at least Windows 10 (version 1511) or later.

Compatible mode (AES-CBC 128-bit) = Select this mode if this is a removable drive that you're going to use on an older version of Windows (ex: Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8/8.1).


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10. Click/tap on Start encrypting when ready. (see screenshot below)

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11. The fixed data drive will now start encrypting. (see screenshot below)
Note   Note
This could take a long time to finish depending on the size of the drive and how much data on the drive is being encrypted.


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12. When encryption has finished, click/tap on Close. (see screenshot below)

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Turn On or Off BitLocker for Fixed Data Drives in Windows 10 OPTION TWO Turn On or Off BitLocker for Fixed Data Drives in Windows 10
To Turn Off BitLocker for a Fixed Data Drive in BitLocker Manager

1. If you have not already, unlock the fixed data drive encrypted by BitLocker.

2. Do step 3, step 4, or step 5 below for how you would like to manage BitLocker.

3. Right click or press and hold on the encrypted fixed data drive (ex: G: ), click/tap on Manage BitLocker, and go to step 6 below. (see screenshot below)

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4. Select the encrypted fixed data drive (ex: G: ), click/tap on the "Drive Tools" Manage tab, click/tap on the BitLocker button in the ribbon, click/tap on Manage BitLocker, and go to step 6 below. (see screenshot below)

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5. Open the Control Panel (icons view), click/tap on the BitLocker Drive Encryption icon, and go to step 6 below.

6. Expand open the encrypted fixed data drive (ex: G: ) under Fixed data drives, and click/tap on Turn off BitLocker. (see screenshot below)

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7. Click/tap on Turn off BitLocker to confirm. (see screenshot below)

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8. The fixed data drive will now start decrypting. (see screenshot below)

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9. When decryption has finished, click/tap on Close. (see screenshot below)

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Turn On or Off BitLocker for Fixed Data Drives in Windows 10 OPTION THREE Turn On or Off BitLocker for Fixed Data Drives in Windows 10
To Turn Off BitLocker for a Fixed Data Drive in Command Prompt

1. Open an elevated command prompt.

2. Type the command below in the elevated command prompt, and press Enter. (see screenshot below)


manage-bde -off <drive letter>:

Note   Note
Substitute <drive letter> in the command above with the actual drive letter of the encrypted drive you want to decrypt.

For example: manage-bde -off G:

Tip   Tip
You can check the status of BitLocker for the drive at anytime.


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Turn On or Off BitLocker for Fixed Data Drives in Windows 10 OPTION FOUR Turn On or Off BitLocker for Fixed Data Drives in Windows 10
To Turn Off BitLocker for a Fixed Data Drive in PowerShell

1. Open an elevated Powershell.

2. Type the command below in the elevated PowerShell, and press Enter. (see screenshot below)


Disable-BitLocker -MountPoint "<drive letter>:"

Note   Note
Substitute <drive letter> in the command above with the actual drive letter of the encrypted drive you want to decrypt.

For example: Disable-BitLocker -MountPoint "F:"

Tip   Tip
You can check the status of BitLocker for the drive at anytime.


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That's it,
Shawn


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