Turn On or Off Auto-unlock for BitLocker Drive in Windows 10  

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    Turn On or Off Auto-unlock for BitLocker Drive in Windows 10

    Turn On or Off Auto-unlock for BitLocker Drive in Windows 10

    How to Turn On or Off Auto-unlock for BitLocker Drive in Windows 10
    Published by
    07 May 2021
    Designer Media Ltd



    How to Turn On or Off Auto-unlock for BitLocker Drive in Windows 10


    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 removable data drives encrypted with BitLocker To Go, you can set the drive to automatically unlock when you sign in to the PC. 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.

    You can configure BitLocker to automatically unlock volumes that do not host an operating system. After a user unlocks the operating system volume, BitLocker uses encrypted information stored in the registry and volume metadata to unlock any data volumes that use automatic unlocking.

    This tutorial will show you how to turn on or off auto-unlock for a fixed or removable data drive encrypted by BitLocker in Windows 10.

    You must be signed in as an administrator to be able to turn on or off auto-unlock on a fixed data drive.

    Auto-unlock only gets applied to the specific current user on the specific computer. Each user will have to turn on auto-unlock on each specific computer.

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



    Contents

    • Option One: To Turn On or Off BitLocker Auto-unlock for Drive in BitLocker Manager
    • Option Two: To Turn On BitLocker Auto-unlock for Drive while Unlocking Drive
    • Option Three: To Turn On or Off BitLocker Auto-unlock for Drive in Command Prompt
    • Option Four: To Turn On or Off BitLocker Auto-unlock for Drive in PowerShell






    OPTION ONE

    To Turn On or Off BitLocker Auto-unlock for Drive in BitLocker Manager


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

    2 Do step 3 (on) or step 4 (off) below for what you would like to do.


     3. To Turn On Auto-unlock for Drive Encrypted by BitLocker

    A) Expand open the fixed data drive or removable data drive you want to turn on auto-unlock for. (see screenshot below)

    B) Click/tap on Turn on auto-unlock, and go to step 5 below.

    Turn On or Off Auto-unlock for BitLocker Drive in Windows 10-bit_locker_auto-unlock_settings-.jpg


     4. To Turn Off Auto-unlock for Drive Encrypted by BitLocker

    This is the default setting.

    A) Expand open the fixed data drive or removable data drive you want to turn on auto-unlock for. (see screenshot below)

    B) Click/tap on Turn off auto-unlock, and go to step 5 below.

    Turn On or Off Auto-unlock for BitLocker Drive in Windows 10-bit_locker_auto-unlock_settings-off.jpg

    5 You can now close the BitLocker Drive Encryption control panel if you like.






    OPTION TWO

    To Turn On BitLocker Auto-unlock for Drive while Unlocking Drive


    1 Open This PC in File Explorer (Win+E).

    2 Click/tap on to open a locked fixed or removable data drive (ex: "F") you want to turn on auto-unlock for. (see screenshot below)

    Turn On or Off Auto-unlock for BitLocker Drive in Windows 10-unlock_drive-1.jpg

    3 Enter the password to unlock this drive, and click/tap on the More options link. (see screenshot below)

    Turn On or Off Auto-unlock for BitLocker Drive in Windows 10-unlock_drive-2.png

    4 Check the Automatically unlock on this PC box, and click tap on Unlock. (see screenshot below)

    Turn On or Off Auto-unlock for BitLocker Drive in Windows 10-unlock_drive-3.png

    5 You can now close File Explorer if you like.






    OPTION THREE

    To Turn On or Off BitLocker Auto-unlock for Drive in Command Prompt


    1 Open an elevated command prompt.

    2 Do step 3 (on) or step 4 (off) below for what you would like to do.


     3. To Turn On Auto-unlock for Fixed or Removable Data Drive Encrypted by BitLocker

    A) Type the command below in the elevated command prompt, press Enter, and go to step 5 below. (see screenshot below)

    manage-bde -autounlock -enable <drive letter>:

    Substitute <drive letter> in the command above with the actual drive letter of the encrypted drive you want to turn on auto-unlock.

    For example: manage-bde -autounlock -enable D:

    Turn On or Off Auto-unlock for BitLocker Drive in Windows 10-bit_locker_auto-unlock_command-.jpg


     4. To Turn Off Auto-unlock for Fixed or Removable Data Drive Encrypted by BitLocker

    This is the default setting.

    A) Type the command below in the elevated command prompt, press Enter, and go to step 5 below. (see screenshot below)

    manage-bde -autounlock -disable <drive letter>:

    Substitute <drive letter> in the command above with the actual drive letter of the encrypted drive you want to turn off auto-unlock.

    For example: manage-bde -autounlock -disable D:

    Turn On or Off Auto-unlock for BitLocker Drive in Windows 10-bit_locker_auto-unlock_command-off.jpg

    5 When finished, you can close the elevated command prompt if you like.






    OPTION FOUR

    To Turn On or Off BitLocker Auto-unlock for Drive in PowerShell


    To see more usage options for the Enable-BitLockerAutoUnlock command, see: Enable-BitLockerAutoUnlock | Microsoft Docs

    To see more usage options for the Disable-BitLockerAutoUnlock command, see: Disable-BitLockerAutoUnlock | Microsoft Docs

    To see more details about the Clear-BitLockerAutoUnlock command, see: Clear-BitLockerAutoUnlock | Microsoft Docs


    1 Open an elevated PowerShell.

    2 Do step 3 (on), step 4 (off - specific drive), or step 5 (off - all drives) below for what you would like to do.


     3. To Turn On Auto-unlock for Specific Fixed or Removable Data Drive Encrypted by BitLocker

    A) Type the command below in the elevated PowerShell, press Enter, and go to step 6 below. (see screenshot below)

    Enable-BitLockerAutoUnlock -MountPoint "<drive letter>:"

    Substitute <drive letter> in the command above with the actual drive letter of the encrypted drive you want to turn on auto-unlock.

    For example: Enable-BitLockerAutoUnlock -MountPoint "F:"

    Turn On or Off Auto-unlock for BitLocker Drive in Windows 10-bit_locker_auto-unlock_powershell-.png


     4. To Turn Off Auto-unlock for Specific Fixed or Removable Data Drive Encrypted by BitLocker

    This is the default setting.

    A) Type the command below in the elevated PowerShell, press Enter, and go to step 6 below. (see screenshot below)

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

    Substitute <drive letter> in the command above with the actual drive letter of the encrypted drive you want to turn off auto-unlock.

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

    Turn On or Off Auto-unlock for BitLocker Drive in Windows 10-bit_locker_auto-unlock_powershell-off.png


     5. To Turn Off Auto-unlock for All Fixed Data Drives Encrypted by BitLocker

    A) Type the command below in the elevated PowerShell, press Enter, and go to step 6 below.

    Clear-BitLockerAutoUnlock

    6 When finished, you can close the elevated PowerShell if you like.


    That's it,
    Shawn





  1. Posts : 27
    Windows 10
       #1

    Thanks very much @Brink for the great tutorial.

    Is it possible to unlock a data drive automatically in one of the ways described in the tutorial -- even when the system drive is not encrypted?
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 61,535
    64-bit Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Thread Starter
       #2

    David P said:
    Thanks very much @Brink for the great tutorial.

    Is it possible to unlock a data drive automatically in one of the ways described in the tutorial -- even when the system drive is not encrypted?
    Hello David,

    Unfortunately, a BitLocker encrypted fixed data drive can only be automatically unlocked if the OS drive is also encrypted by BitLocker.
      My Computers


  3. Posts : 27
    Windows 10
       #3

    Thanks Brink for the fast reply :)

    I was asking because that locked data drive in my case leads to all kind of errors with several programs when it is locked.

    Specifically, Dropbox, Syncthing and Openshell don't work (or complain that they don't have access to their folder).

    I guess I will have to remove these from autostart, or change their folder locations, then.
      My Computer


  4. Posts : 61,535
    64-bit Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Thread Starter
       #4

    David P said:
    Thanks Brink for the fast reply :)

    I was asking because that locked data drive in my case leads to all kind of errors with several programs when it is locked.

    Specifically, Dropbox, Syncthing and Openshell don't work (or complain that they don't have access to their folder).

    I guess I will have to remove these from autostart, or change their folder locations, then.
    Is there an issue for not encrypting the OS drive to be able to auto-unlock the data drive?
      My Computers


  5. Posts : 27
    Windows 10
       #5

    Thanks, that's of course the right question here.

    I'm refraining from doing that because I'm panicking already when I think of an emergency case where I have to access my OS drive externally when the PC doesn't boot, or when I want to take a system drive image and restore it to somewhere else.

    I'd rather not add an additional level of complexity to the major stress that occurs when your (work) computer crashes and doesn't boot, by having the system drive encrypted.
    Last edited by David P; 14 Feb 2020 at 16:20. Reason: typos
      My Computer


  6. Posts : 61,535
    64-bit Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Thread Starter
       #6

    David P said:
    Thanks, that's of course the right question here.

    I'm refraining from doing that because I'm panicking already when I think of an emergency case where I have to access my OS drive externally when the PC doesn't boot, or when I want to take a system drive image and restore it to somewhere else.

    I'd rather not add an additional level of complexity to the major stress that occurs when your (work) computer crashes and doesn't boot, by having the system drive encrypted.
    I can certainly understand that.

    It can get real complicated if you lost the BitLocker recovery key, startup key, or password for the OS drive.
      My Computers


  7. Posts : 27
    Windows 10
       #7

    Thanks Brink.

    It would actually be sufficient for me if it were possible to enter the BitLocker password before logging into Windows, or at least to have a script that prompts for the BitLocker password first thing after logging into Windows, and before any autostart programs are loaded.
      My Computer


  8. Posts : 61,535
    64-bit Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Thread Starter
       #8

    David P said:
    Thanks Brink.

    It would actually be sufficient for me if it were possible to enter the BitLocker password before logging into Windows, or at least to have a script that prompts for the BitLocker password first thing after logging into Windows, and before any autostart programs are loaded.
    I suppose you could create a shortcut to open the drive letter and move it into your Startup folder like in option 2 below to have it prompt for the BitLocker password at startup.

    Add, Delete, Enable, or Disable Startup Items in Windows 10

    The problem is, I don't think it will do this before any other program that runs at startup wanted to access the drive.
      My Computers


  9. Posts : 27
    Windows 10
       #9

    Yeah that's right...

    I think I'll try and move the folders of those autostart programs, and/or simply remove them from autostart altogether.
      My Computer


 

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