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How to Encrypt a Hard Drive with BitLocker in Windows 10

If your hard drive stores critical data, you may want to encrypt it to keep data safe. Fortunately, encrypting a hard drive is not difficult. Windows comes with a BitLocker Drive Encryption tool that allows you to do this easily. Now, this post will show you how to encrypt a hard drive with BitLocker in Windows 10.

How to encrypt a hard drive with BitLocker in Windows 10

There are two methods for your choices. Choose the method you want according to your preferences.

Way 1: Using BitLocker Drive Encryption

Step 1: Got to This PC, right-click the hard drive or partition you want to encrypt, and then select Turn on BitLocker from the context menu.

turn on bitlocker

Step 2: The "BitLocker Drive Encryption" window opens, asking how you want to unlock this drive: use a password or a smart card. For convenience, you can choose “Use a password to unlock the drive”, then enter a password and click Next.

type password

Step 3: Choose how you want to back up your BitLocker recovery key. For convenience, you can choose Save to a file.

Tips: The recovery key is a 48-digit key automatically generated by BitLocker Drive Encryption, which can be used to unlock your BitLocker encrypted drive. If you forget your password or lose your smart card, you can use the recovery key to access your drive.

choose save to a file

Step 4: Choose one location to save the recovery key, such as the Desktop or a removable flash drive, and then click Save. When a confirmation dialog box appears, click Yes and the recovery key will be saved successfully.

Tips: It is recommended that you keep more than one recovery key and save each in a safe location, just in case you lose your BitLocker recovery key.

save recovery key

Step 5: Once the recovery key is saved, click Next to proceed.

click next

Step 6: Choose “Encrypt used disk space only” or “Encrypt entire drive”, depending on your own situation. Then click Next.

select encrypt used disk space only

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

start encrypting

Step 8: Then just wait for the encryption to complete. This takes a while, depending on the amount of disk space to encrypt.

encrypting the drive

Once encryption is complete, you will see a lock icon on the drive when you open This PC. The BitLocker encrypted drive will be locked each time you start or restart Windows 10, and you need to unlock the drive before you can access it. To unlock the BitLocker encrypted drive, just double-click it or right-click it and select Unlock Drive, then enter your password or recovery key.

drive is encrypted

Tips: If you want to unencrypt the drive, go to Control Panel > System and Security > BitLocker Drive Encryption to turn off BitLocker on the drive.

turn off bitlocker

Way 2: Using iSumsoft BitLocker Reader

Windows built-in BitLocker Drive Encryption is good, but it can be a bit cumbersome to use, and sometimes it may stop working suddenly. If you want an easier way to BitLocker encrypt a hard drive in Windows 10, iSumsoft BitLocker Reader is an alternative.

Step 1: Download and install iSumsoft BitLocker Reader on your Windows 10. After installation, launch this tool. It will display all hard drives and partition information on your PC.

Download

Step 2: Right-click the drive you want to encrypt and click Turn on BitLocker.

click Turn on BitLocker

Step 3: An Encrypt dialog opens. Enter a secure password to encrypt the drive, and then click “save to file” to save your recovery key as a file on your PC or a removable drive.

enter password

Step 4: Once the recovery key is saved, click Encrypt to start encrypting the drive.

click encrypt

Step 5: Wait for the encryption process to complete. When you get the prompt “Encrypt Successfully”, click OK to finish.

encrypt successfully

You will see a lock icon on the drive. Right-click the BitLocker encrypted drive and select Lock Drive so that the drive is immediately locked without requiring you to restart the computer.

Related: 5 Ways to Lock BitLocker Drive without Restarting Windows 10

lock drive

Right-click the locked drive and select Unlock Drive so that you can use your password or recovery key to unlock the drive.

unlock drive

Tips: iSumsoft BitLocker Reader allows you to encrypt, decrypt, lock, and unlock the drive by simply right clicking on the target drive without any tedious steps.