BitLocker Guide - How to encrypt an external drive
- The introduction of GDPR means we need to be more careful about how we handle personal data.
- To ensure data isn’t lost accidentally or stolen easily we have decided to add encryption to any external drive (memory or USB stick, pen drive etc).
- By encrypting a drive with BitLocker any data on it is scrambled and cannot be read without a password.
- If you want to use an external drive to write data to from our network, it will need to be fully encrypted.
Always remember that external drives fail on a regular basis. Do not rely on just one drive for all your data – it could end in tears and often does! Use OneDrive or another form of cloud storage in addition. The cloud should be your first choice with an external drive as a back up….
Encrpting using Bitlocker will only allow the device to work on a PC as it is a windows based product. It will NOT work on a Mac. Mac users will need to use the cloud i.e. OneDrive or similar to transfer data from a Mac to use on a college PC/laptop.
When you plug in the prompt shown left will appear. Choose Encrypt if you are sure you want to.
You may not need to encrypt – so you may choose “Don’t encrypt this drive” if you just want to transfer a video or photos from an SD card for example. Only encrypt a drive if you need to get data from our network onto the card.
You will now be prompted to create a recovery key. This is 24 digits long and must be saved before you proceed. We don’t recommend printing – a sheet of paper can easily be lost.
Choose “Save to a file” and save it to your network space or to OneDrive. You could also take a photo of it to store on your phone
If you forget your password the recovery key will give you access to the drive. If you lose the recovery key as well there is no way of accessing your data on the drive.
We recommend the use of Compatible mode at the next step.
Clicking Next will then encrypt your drive. This may take some time (% progress is displayed) and must complete before you can write to the drive.
If it’s taking too long you can Pause, then eject the drive and resume encryption next time you plug in.