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How to Encrypt Hard Drive in Windows 10 by Using BitLocker

When one hard drive stores critical data, you may want to encrypt the drive to keep data safe. Both some third-party software and Windows built-in BitLocker can help perform hard drive encryption. Now this post will show you how to encrypt hard drive in Windows 10 by using BitLocker.

How to encrypt hard drive in Windows 10 with BitLocker

Step 1: Open File Explorer. Click and select This PC. Then in the Devices and drives section, locate the hard drive partition you want to encrypt, right click on it, and then select Turn on BitLocker from the context menu.

right click on the hard drive partition and select Turn on Bitlocker

Step 2: After the BitLocker Drive Encryption window opens, you will choose how you want to unlock this drive, using a password or using a smart card. For convenience, put a check mark in the checkbox next to "Use a password to unlock the drive", type your passwords in the boxes (Passwords should contain uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, spaces, and symbols), and then click Next.

Check Use a password to unlock the drive

Step 3: You are asked to select one option to back up the recovery key, which you can use to access your hard drive if you forget your password. For convenience, select Save to a file.

Click Save to a file

Step 4: Select one location such as Desktop and click Save, and then click Yes when prompted with a confirmation dialog to save the recovery key on your PC. Of course, for safety, you are advised to save the recovery key in a safer place such as a flash drive other than your PC.

save the key on desktop

Step 5: Once the recovery key is saved and you return to the BitLocker Drive Encryption window, click Next.

Step 6: You will be asked to select how much of your drive you want to encrypt. You can select either "Encrypt used disk space only" or "Encrypt entire drive" depending on your own needs, and then click Next.

Select Encrypt entire drive

Step 7: When you are ready to encrypt this drive, click Start encrypting.

click Start encrypting

Step 8: Wait while the encryption process is on. It will take a while depending on your computer’s performance and the space to encrypt.

encrypting

Step 9: When encryption is complete, click Close.

encryption is complete

Encryption will take effect after you restart computer. Then you will be asked to enter password to unlock this drive before you can access it. Even if the hard drive is moved to another computer, it's still in the encrypted state, and password is still required to access the drive.

enter password to unlock hard drive

Tips: If you need to decrypt your drive in Windows 10, just turn off BitLocker. Do as follows.

1. Right click on the encrypted hard drive volume, and then select Manage BitLocker from the context menu.

2. After the BitLocker Drive Encryption window opens, locate the encrypted volume section and then click on Turn off BitLocker to decrypt this drive.

turn off bitlocker

3. Click Turn off BitLocker in the pop-up dialog to decrypt this drive.

click Turn off BitLocker button