How to use Bit Locker to encrypt and password protect data on USB drives

BitLocker is a drive encryption technique which is used to secure your data with password and data is encrypted using a strong encryption algorithm.  It is possible to encrypt almost any device like your hard disk partitions or a USB  or thumb drives. Also to unlock the USB device on any other machine you would need Bit Locker to be installed on it. I am using Windows 7 for this tutorial.

  • Connect the USB or the thumb drive.
  • Go to Start and type Bitlocker and click on Bitlocker Drive Encryption

Windows 7 bit locker

  • This will launch the bit locker application. If you USB / Thumb drive is connected,  it should be displayed in the launched application. Point to be noticed here is that Bit Locker treats Hard drive and plugged devices separately. You will see hard drive partitions under category of Hard Disk Drives and plugged media under Bitlocker to Go.

Windows 7 bit locker drives

  • Clock on the link next to USB drive which says Turn On Bit Locker. This will start the encryption process. In case the drive doesnt have enough space required for encryption you will be warned.

Bitlocker initialize

  • Next step would be add a password to it. Though this is all secured but still make sure you dont choose a weak password.

Bitlocker password protect

  • The encryption process allows you to pause the encryption process in between. This is useful if you forgot to remove some data which you didn’t wanted to safeguard. However make sure you dont remove any data unless you have paused the process.

Bitlocker encryption process

  • Once the encryption process completes you will be asked to save or print a key. This is very important and you should not skip it. In case you forgot your password this is the only way to unlock it.

Bitlocker save keys

  • Thats it your drive is bitlocker protected. Now In order to test it safe eject the media first and then plug it back. As soon as you do it you will be prompted for password.

Bitlocker unlock

  • Now if you had taken a close look at the image above, there is an option which says “Automatically Unlock for this computer  from now on”. This is useful so you dont have to unlock it again and again in your computer at least.

How to recover the lost password for Bitlocker encrypted device ?

In one of the steps above we were promoted to save or print the encryption key. If you had done it all you will need is to type in the key and unlock the device. Just click on the I forgot my password link and key in the recovery key.

Unlock bitlocker drive

Bitlocker recovery key

However you will have only temporary access to the device i.e. as long as it is plugged in.

How to turn off bitlocker encryption on the device ?

Its is pretty easy. Just launch the bit locker encryption program again and use the turn of link displayed on the left side of the drive.

This completes all the steps of Bitlocking a device, recovering the forgot password module and removing the bitlocking feature on it.


  1. Hello,

    I have a question. What happens if I encrypt disk with bitlocker and then try to use it in Linux ?
    Can it be hacked that way.


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