BitLocker Drive Encryption
How to encrypt your drive
UT Tyler policy states:
"USB thumb drives and similar removable storage devices owned, leased, or controlled by the University must be encrypted before storage of any Confidential University Data on the device."
As many employees use thumb drives and external hard drives as a way to backup or transfer files, we wanted to make you aware of how you can easily encrypted that data by using a Windows encryption tool, BitLocker.
Many users wonder what encryption is, or why it is important. The simple explanation is that it protects your files from being viewed by others if you happen to lose your removable media or have it stolen by someone else. If your drive is encrypted, the only way another person would be able to view your data is if they knew what your password was. If your thumb drive or external hard drive fall into someone else’s hands and it is not encrypted, they will have the ability to view, copy, edit, and replicate any and all data on that drive.
PLEASE NOTE THAT WHEN USING REMOVABLE MEDIA TO STORE FILES, YOU SHOULD ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A COPY OF YOUR FILES SAVED SOMEWHERE ELSE (PREFERABLY TO YOUR SECURE NETWORK DRIVE). THIS IS TO ENSURE THAT YOUR DATA WON’T BE LOST FOREVER IF YOUR THUMB DRIVE IS LOST, STOLEN, OR INADVERTENTLY DAMAGED TO THE POINT WHERE IT WILL NO LONGER FUNCTION PROPERLY.
To encrypt your removable media, follow these simple steps:
Starting BitLocker Encryption
1. Browse to My Computer, right click your thumb drive or hard drive and select ‘Turn on BitLocker’
2. The Starting BitLocker screen opens up.
3. Check the box “Use a password to unlock the drive” and enter a password. This password complexity requirements are the same that are used for your domain credentials. Once you have entered a password you will be able to remember, click Next.
4. Before the encryption process starts you will have the option to store/print the recovery key. This will be needed to recover the data on the thumb drive if you ever forget your password. We recommend saving the recovery key to your P drive.
5. Once you have saved the recovery key and click Next, the encryption process will begin. The time it will take to complete this process will vary based on the size of the removable media you are encrypting. For example, a 4 GB thumb drive should take between 5 and 10 minutes to encrypt, whereas a 500 GB external hard drive could take several hours to complete the encryption process.
6. Once the encryption process has completed, you will receive this notification.
Here are some important things to note:
- After your removable media is encrypted, you will be prompted to enter your password whenever you plug it in to a Windows machine
- You will not be able to view data on your encrypted thumb drive on other types of machines (Macs, Linux, etc..)
- When you plug your encrypted thumb drive into a Windows machine, you will be given the option to trust the machine so that you do not have to re-enter your password every time you use the thumb drive.
If you have questions about this, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.