BitLocker is a full disk encryption feature developed by Microsoft to protect data on Windows operating systems. It works by encrypting the entire hard drive, including the operating system, system files, and user data. Once enabled, BitLocker requires a user to enter a password or insert a USB key to unlock the drive and access its contents.
BitLocker uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption with a 128-bit or 256-bit key, depending on the version of Windows being used. It also supports the use of a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), a chip on the computer's motherboard that stores encryption keys and helps prevent tampering with the system. In addition, BitLocker can be used with a USB startup key, which must be inserted into the computer's USB port to boot the system.
BitLocker is available on certain versions of Windows, including Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise, Windows 8.1 Pro and Enterprise, and Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise. It is not available on Windows Home editions. To use BitLocker, the computer must have a TPM chip or a USB startup key, and the user must have administrative privileges to enable and configure the feature.
How to disable Bitlocker on External Drive
Method 1: If the Windows System has device encryption and bitlocker enabled.
To disable BitLocker on an external drive, you can follow these steps:
- Connect the BitLocker-encrypted external drive to your computer.
- Open File Explorer, and right-click on the external drive that you want to disable BitLocker on.
- Select "Manage BitLocker" from the context menu.
- If prompted, enter your BitLocker password or recovery key.
- In the BitLocker Drive Encryption window, click on the "Turn off BitLocker" option.
- Wait for the decryption process to complete. This may take some time depending on the size of the drive and the amount of data stored on it.
- Once the decryption process is complete, you will receive a message indicating that BitLocker has been turned off.
- You can now safely disconnect the external drive from your computer.
Note that disabling BitLocker will remove the encryption from the external drive and make the data on it accessible without a password or recovery key. If you want to re-enable BitLocker on the drive, you will need to follow the same steps and select "Turn on BitLocker" instead.
Method 2: If the Windows System does not have device encryption and bitlocker enabled.
Here is how to disable Bitlocker on an external drive from a version of Windows that doesn't support the Bitlocker encryption feature, or on a Windows system without device encryption enabled. This process does require that the Bitlocked Drive has already been unlocked and that the drive is accessible. If not, simply sign into your Microsoft account to retrieve your recovery key, then enter the recovery key when prompted while trying to access the drive.
- First we need to open a command prompt as administrator. To open a command prompt as admin;
Press the Windows + R, then type cmd and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter.
- To disable bitlocker on the drive, type the following in the command prompt, replacing X with your actual drive letter;
manage-bde –off X: