Windows 7 users can protect their data using internal Windows encryption technology, BitLocker and BitLocker To Go. BitLocker firstly introduced on Windows Vista, and it is only available in Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Windows 7. BitLocker will encrypt and protect the data using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) cryptography method.
There are three different ways of BitLocker to encrypt and secure your data.
1. Encrypting a Hard Disk or Partition with hardware support.
BitLocker will encrypt your data and stores the cryptographic keys on motherboard’s chip. These cryptographic keys are unique and locked to specific hardware. If the encrypted disk removed, it can never be decrypted on another computer. This method only works for computer that has Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip.
2. Encrypting a hard Disk or Partition without hardware support.
BitLocker will encrypt your data and stores the cryptographic keys on Windows installation. The encrypted disk protected with a password, and you can access this encrypted disk on other Windows 7 computers. This method works for all Windows 7 computers, even if it doesn’t have TPM chip on the motherboard.
3. Encrypting a USB flash drive or external hard disk.
BitLocker will encrypt your data on the USB flash drive or external hard disk. It will be protected with a password and could be accessed in every Windows 7 computer. This method is using BitLocker To Go, a new encryption feature on Windows 7.
Even you can only encrypt data on Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate Editions, but the encrypted disks are accessible in all versions of Windows 7.
Protecting your data using BitLocker and BitLocker To Go is very important, especially if you carry critical information such as personal data, business data, etc. Simply follow these steps below to encrypt your data with BitLocker:
1. Go to Start -> Control Panel -> System and Security -> BitLocker Drive Encryption
2. Turn on BitLocker on your selected drive or partition.
Now your disk has encrypted and protected with a password. If you encrypt the USB flash drive or external hard disk, you can’t access it from older Windows version unless you install BitLocker To Go Reader. You can download BitLocker To Go reader directly from Microsoft official download page here. By installing BitLocker To Go Reader, you can access encrypted disk on Windows XP and Windows Vista based PCs.
BitLocker and BitLocker To Go are Windows 7 internal tools. However, there are also several third party encryption software like PC Lock and other encryption software.
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