BitLocker is a disk encryption tool feature in Windows 7 and newer versions of Microsoft Windows. BitLocker Drive Encryption is available on Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise with the release of the latest version of Microsoft Windows. Windows 7 offers Bitlocker on Enterprise and Unlimited and Windows 8 offered Bitlocker on Professional and Enterprise. Home versions of Windows 10 do not offer this option you must upgrade if you would like to use this feature.

Everything you do on the internet that is important is stored on your hard drive, yet that’s the one thing that users never do is turn on Bitlocker disk encryption when they get a new Windows laptop or desktop. BitLocker Drive Encryption is a feature that allows you to encrypt your PC’s hard drive and on removable drives to prevent prying eyes from snooping into your sensitive data.

BitLocker drives can be encrypted with 128-bit or 256-bit encryption, which is strong enough to protect your data in the event the computer is lost or stolen. I would recommend 256-bit encryption as that is the safest way to encrypt your data.

Encrypting your hard drive is important if you should ever lose your laptop. If you are traveling or just forgot your laptop at the local coffee shop someone could take the hard drive out of your computer and retrieve your files or data. The same situation could be if you are getting a new laptop and are disposing of your old one you should always wipe the hard drive and having your hard drive encrypted makes it even safer to recycle.

BitLocker protects your data for even the simplest things. If you have to bring or send your laptop in for repair and you do not leave the password for the repairman he is not getting your data off your drive. Even if you had someone watching your house or pet and you leave your laptop or desktop at home as long as there is a password on the computer and BitLocker enabled no one even if they take drive could get your data. Bitlocker is valuable if you travel a lot if your laptop for some reason would get taken by security they cannot get into it without your password giving you some control of the situation.

Symantec and others like TrueCrypt do offer third party disk encryption tools. Symantec Endpoint Encryption powered by PGP Technology offers full disk and removable media encryption for $189 dollars a year which are a good price. I will not use third-party software for encryption because system drive encryption always requires tight integration with Windows. Some users have speculated that with Bitlocker Microsoft holds the key to decrypting your drive nothing has been proven about that as of the time of this writing.

Everyone in today’s world should be using drive encryption period. Whether you are using Bitlocker which is my personal choice and recommendation, or a third party like Symantec PGP if you are concerned about the privacy and safety of the data stored on your hard drive you should be encrypting your hard drive it’s easy to do with Bitlocker and keeps you safer.

If you are unfamiliar with encrypting your hard drive here is a great guide on how to set up BitLocker.