Thursday, November 12, 2009

Concerned about your data privacy? Enable Bitlocker on Windows Vista/Windows 7

With the ever increasing demand for privacy, it is no wonder that Microsoft has packaged some encryption tools with its latest release of operating system. BitLocker and BitLocker ToGo, are available only in Windows Vista Ultimate, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 7 Enterprise.

I remember reading an article online during the first few days when Windows 7 RC had come out. One of the bloggers had commented that while installing Windows 7, he noticed a hidden partition being created, and couldnt figure out why it was there, and he recommended deleting it and absorbing the free space into the system drive using some partitioning tools. I now realise that the reason why there is a hidden unused partition, is so that your computer can boot up if you use BitLocker to encrypt your system drive.

BitLocker allows you to encrypt the whole volume, not a specific file, like you could with Encrypted File System (EFS). If your computer has a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip, you could use it to store the encryption keys, else you can use a flash disk. This however, would be requested everytime you reboot your computer. The encryption/decryption happens seemlessly by the Operating System, so the user doesnt need to do much in regards to that.

BitLocker To Go, is a new feature, added to Windows 7 by default, that allows you to encrypt your external drives.

Please do note that if you do not own the high end version of Windows Vista or Windows 7, you can still enjoy the privacy of BitLocker and BitLocker To Go. You can use the free tool Truecrypt.

You can get more details about BitLocker and BitLocker To Go from this Microsoft published Walkthrough .

Till the next time ..

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