Introduced with Windows Vista, the BitLocker feature allowed you to encrypt the contents of your hard drive. In Windows 7 Bit Locker To Go goes one step further and allows you to encrypt portable USB Flash drives. Us, computer repair geeks, think this is a great feature.
To begin – open up *My Computer* and right click on the flash drive you want to encrypt, then click *Turn on BitLocker*
After BitLocker has initialised the flash drive you will then need to enter a password to be able to unlock the drive.
You will then be prompted to store the recovery key – this is used in the event that you lose your password. If you decide to store it as a file make sure it is NOT on the same drive as the one you are encrypting!
Once the key has been saved or a file is printed, you will get the following confirmation message
Now you are ready to start encrypting the drive, so simply click the *Start Encrypting* button
As it is encrypting you will be presented with a progress screen display
After a successful encryption of your USB Flash drive you’ll notice that the drive icon will change to show it has been encrypted with BitLocker.
You’ll notice that the drive icon has changed to show it is encrypted with BitLocker where the gold indicates it is locked, and the grey is the display after you have unlocked it.
Right-click on that icon to bring up the options to manage BitLocker encryption.
When you next plug the drive into a Windows 7 machine you’ll be asked to enter the password so you can gain access to the drive. You can also set it to be unlocked on certain machines in the future.
The encrypted drive can also be used in XP and Vista. Now we’ll take a look at how it comes up in XP. When you plug it in, it will ask for the password to launch Bit LockerTo Go Reader – this utility is installed automatically on the drive by Windows 7.
BitLocker To Go Reader is a Windows Explorer type navigation utility that will show the content of the drive.
With a BitLocker encrypted drive you will only be able to read and copy files. If you need to add files or change them you will need to do that on a Windows 7 machine.
This computer repairs geeks’ trick is a handy way to make sure sensitive data on your USB flash drive is safe. Right now anyone who has Windows 7 RC1 Ultimate can use this feature.