Windows 11 to enable BitLocker storage encryption by default


A clean installation of Windows 11 may soon automatically activate BitLocker and encrypt the hard drive (storage device) by default, as present in the Insider Preview build, according to reports. While this will provide a considerable boost to security, users are recommended to save the recovery key properly.

The next Windows 11 update (24H2) revises the setup procedure by automatically activating BitLocker, according to Deskmodder.de.

BitLocker is a built-in full volume encryption feature first introduced with Windows Vista. It encodes the data on the hard drive, so it cannot be read without a key.

While encryption protects against unauthorized access if the device gets lost or stolen, enabling it by default also raises some concerns, as unaware users may lose access to their files upon reinstallation of Windows.

According to a report by Deskmodder.de, the change affects both “Home,” “Pro,” and higher editions of Windows. After the update, all computers will have the Device Encryption feature set as “on” in the device security settings. However, the drives will not be encrypted immediately.

“Anyone who has carried out a new installation with the 24H2 should definitely check it first. Either set the encryption to “Off,” undo encryption, or make sure to back up the BitLocker key. Because Windows not only encrypts the system disk (C:) but also all connected hard drives,” Deskmodder.de warns.

Users may also bypass the encryption during installation by changing the registry key or making their own bootable installation media with Rufus or other similar software.

To back up the BitLocker recovery key, tap the Windows Start button and type BitLocker, then select the Manage BitLocker Control Panel app from the search results. Here, select Back up your recovery key and choose where you want to save it. Microsoft offers the option to save it to Microsoft accounts, a USB flash drive, a file, or by printing the key.

It’s not yet clear if the default encryption feature will be in the final release of Windows 11 24H2, which will ship in the second half of 2024.

The Windows update is supposed to bring the more advanced Microsoft Copilot, a new energy-saving mode, scrollable quick settings, QR codes for Wi-Fi sharing, support for creating 7z and TAR archives in addition to ZIP in File Explorer, update Task Manager with new metrics for RAM performance, and other features. Cybernews previously reported that Windows is also removing the basic word processor program WordPad together with Cortana in future Windows releases.


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