Bitlocker-Windows 8 Pro

Enable Full Disk BitLocker Encryption in Windows 8 Pro Without TPM

Read the entire page before beginning these steps.

Warning: UUHSC, University of Utah and the College of Nursing take no responsibility for damages, data loss or performance issues from enabling encryption. If you choose to enable encryption yourself, back up your laptop files before proceeding. If you do not feel comfortable following these steps consider taking your laptop to a third party Tech support for help.

Windows 8 BitLocker Hardware Requirements

For BitLocker to work, you need a PC with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). According to Microsoft:

A PC with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), which is a special microchip that supports advanced security features. If your PC was manufactured with TPM version 1.2 or higher, BitLocker will store its key in the TPM.

To turn on BitLocker Drive Encryption on the operating system drive, your PC’s hard disk must:

  • Have at least two partitions: a system partition (which contains the files needed to start your PC and must be at least 100 MB) and an operating system partition (which contains Windows). The operating system partition will be encrypted but the system partition will not, so your PC can start. If your PC doesn’t have two partitions, BitLocker will create them for you. Both partitions must be formatted with the NTFS file system.
  • Have a BIOS (the built-in software that starts the operating system when you turn on your PC) that’s compatible with TPM or supports USB devices during PC startup. If this isn’t the case, you’ll need to update the BIOS before using BitLocker.

If your system meets those requirements, you’ll have no problem enabling BitLocker on your local drive. But, a lot of consumer computer’s simply don’t meet those requirements. Luckily there’s a work-around provided you’re not running a Home version of Windows.

Does my PC have TPM?

To find out if your PC has a TPM, open Control Panel, then select BitLocker Drive Encryption > TPM Administration.

TPM-Administration

Then you’ll see if your system has TPM. In this case, my computer doesn’t have it – but it might be possible to enable it in your system’s BIOS. When dealing with a PCs BIOS, each system varies, so you might need to refer to manufacturer documentation. But what if you don’t have TPM enabled hardware?

TPM-not-Enabled

Use BitLocker on Drives Without TPM

If you don’t want to deal with messing with your computer’s BIOS, or waste time updating it, there’s an easy way to make BitLocker work without TPM enabled hardware. Use the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + R and type: gpedit.msc and hit Enter or click OK.

gpedit

Now navigate to Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > BitLocker Drive Encryption > Operating System Drives. Then double click on “Require Additional Authentication at Startup”.

Local-Group-Policy-Editor

On the next screen select Enabled, and under Options check the box “Allow BitLocker Without a Compatible TPM” and click OK and close out of Group Policy Editor.

allow-bitlocker-without-tpm

Turn on BitLocker in Windows 8

Now that you have that taken care of, there’s actually a couple of ways to turn BitLocker on. Since Windows has like 20 ways to do anything . Open Computer from the Desktop, right click on your local drive and select Turn on BitLocker.

Turn-on-Bitlocker-Right-Click

Or from the Explorer Ribbon you can turn it on under Drive Tools.

BitLocker-File-Explorer-Ribbon

Or, if you feel the need to use the Windows Start screen for some reason, just use the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + W to bring up the Settings search field and type: bitlocker and select it under Results.

Windows-8-Start-screen-BitLocker-Settings-Search

Now it’s really just a matter of working through the BitLocker Drive Encryption Wizard.

turn-on-BitLocker

When you get to this point of the wizard, you need to decide if you want to have a password or use a separate USB flash drive. I recommend using a password since flash drives are easily lost.

usb-or-pw

Saving BitLocker Recovery Key

Now you need to save your BitLocker Recovery Key in one or more of the ways offered. The key can be used if you forget the password or something goes wrong with your system. The cool thing is allows you to save in more than one way, including to your Microsoft Account with Windows 8.

Important! If you lose it you’re out of luck for unlocking your drive so be sure you save it in a safe location or better yet multiple locations. Personally I create a file and save it to my home server and an external hard drive, and I save it to my Microsoft Account too.

Save-Backup-Key

Another cool thing you can do with BitLocker now is encrypt only the used disk space, which makes the process much faster on new PCs and drives.

faster-encrypt

After completing the wizard you’ll need to restart your computer.

Restart-to-encrypt

Upon reboot, you’ll need to enter the password you set for BitLocker. And, you’ll always need to type it in after the encryption is completed to access your disk.

Enter-BitLocker-Password

Log in to your computer and you’ll see Windows is encrypting your local disk. The amount of time it takes will vary on each system, but you don’t need to keep an eye on it…it’s going to take several hours in most cases. Let it run over night or all day while you’re at work.

encryption-progress

 

Credits: http://www.groovypost.com/howto/enable-windows-8-full-disk-bitlocker-encryption-without-tpm/

Warning: UUHSC, University of Utah and the College of Nursing take no responsibility for damages, data loss or performance issues from enabling encryption. If you choose to enable encryption yourself, back up your laptop files before proceeding. If you do not feel comfortable following these steps consider taking your laptop to a third party Tech support for help.