Windows 11 set up BitLockerSource: Windows Central

BitLocker on Windows 11 adds an extra layer of security with encryption to protect your device and files from unauthorized access. When using encryption, the feature scrambles the data on the drive to make it unreadable for anyone without the correct decryption key.

The BitLocker security feature is available on Windows 11 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions. However, on Windows 11 Home, you can use "device encryption," a limited version of BitLocker. It works identical to the full version but without many of the advanced management settings and capabilities, such as "BitLocker To Go." Also, when using device encryption, all the drives will encrypt automatically, while the full version of BitLocker allows you to choose the storage using encryption.

In this Windows 11 guide, we will walk you through the steps to get started setting up device encryption with BitLocker on your computer.

How to set up BitLocker on Windows 11 Pro

To configure BitLocker in the Pro edition of Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Storage.
  3. Under the "Storage management" section, click on Advanced storage settings.
  4. Click on Disks & volumes.

    Open Disks & volumesSource: Windows Central

  5. Select the drive with the partition to encrypt.
  6. Select the partition to enable encryption.
  7. Click the Properties button.

    Open drive propertiesSource: Windows Central

  8. Click the Turn on BitLocker option.

    Settings turn on BitLockerSource: Windows Central

  9. Click the Turn on BitLocker option again.

    Control Panel enable BitLockerSource: Windows Central

  10. Select the option to back up the recovery key — for example, Save to your Microsoft account.

    Save to your Microsoft accountSource: Windows Central

    Quick note: You can always find the recovery key on your Microsoft account. Also, the option to save online is only available when the account is connected with a Microsoft account.

  11. Click the Next button.
  12. Select the Encrypt used disk space only option.

    Encrypt used disk space onlySource: Windows Central

  13. Click the Next button.
  14. Select the New encryption mode option.

    New encryption modeSource: Windows Central

  15. Check the Run BitLocker system check option.

    Run BitLocker system checkSource: Windows Central

  16. Click the Restart now button (if applicable).

Once you complete the steps, the system will begin encrypting the data on the drive.

While in the "BitLocker Drive Encryption," it is also possible to encrypt other drives, such as secondary storage, external USB hard drives, and removable data drives, using "BitLocker To Go."

Remove BitLocker encryption

If you need to remove the system encryption, use these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Click on System and Security.
  3. Click on BitLocker Drive Encryption.

    BitLocker Drive EncryptionSource: Windows Central

  4. Under the "Operating system drive" section, click the Turn off BitLocker option.

    Turn off BitLocker on Windows 11 ProSource: Windows Central

  5. Click the Turn off BitLocker button again.

After you complete the steps, the decryption process will take a while, depending on how large the drive is and your data.

How to set up BitLocker on Windows 11 Home

To configure BitLocker in the Home edition of Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Privacy & Security.
  3. Click the Device encryption setting.

    Open device encryption on Windows 11 HomeSource: Windows Central

  4. Turn on Device encryption toggle switch.

    Turn on BitLocker homeSource: Windows Central

  5. (Optional) Under the "Related" section, click the BitLocker drive encryption option.
  6. Under the "Operating system drive" section, click the Back up your recovery key option.

    Backup BitLocker recovery keySource: Windows Central

  7. Click the Save to a file option.
  8. Save the BitLocker recovery key in a different location.
  9. Click the Save button.

Once you complete the steps, BitLocker will turn on the system to encrypt the files on the drive.

This version of BitLocker is only available on some devices. If you don't find the option, the device most likely doesn't support device encryption. You would typically see this feature on devices like Microsoft Surface devices, and those from other brands like HP, Lenovo, Dell, etc.

Remove BitLocker encryption

To decrypt a device using BitLocker, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Privacy & Security.
  3. Click the Device encryption setting.

    Open device encryption on Windows 11 HomeSource: Windows Central

  4. Turn off the Device encryption toggle switch.

    Turn off BitLocker homeSource: Windows Central

After you complete the steps, the decryption process will begin on the device.

More Windows resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

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