Never before has humankind consumed more information than it does now. Photos, texts, audios, videos, etc. are some of the avenues we use to consume data. Many also save a lot of this data onto their hard drive for later consumption. Examples include photos of special occasions or important documents concerning work/business. However, there is always the chance that security of such data can be compromised in the absence of any protection. One of the best ways to deal with this problem is encryption of the hard drive data. Here’s a lowdown on how to go about it.
Why a Login Password Alone Won’t Do
If your PC runs Windows 7 operating system then you must have enabled computer login through a password. It would be churlish on your part to assume that this protects your data ably enough. Of course, this hurdle will prevent anyone from accessing your computer’s hard drive but it certainly cannot stop another person from reading your hard drive’s content by plugging it into another computer. Full data encryption is your best bet if you’ve got a lot of important data on your hard drive. This way, no one can access your information even if the disk gets stolen or misplaced.
BitLocker is a feature from Microsoft that allows users to set up full-disk encryption in its operating system. However, two conditions must be satisfied for the program to work. Firstly, your PC needs to be running either the Enterprise or Ultimate version of Vista or 7 (if yours is a Windows 8 PC, it needs to run Enterprise or Pro versions). Secondly, your PC needs to have a Trusted Platform Module (aka, a TPM) chip.
To check if your PC has a TPM or not you need to enable the BitLocker feature. If you do not have one, Windows will inform you of the same.
BitLocker can be enabled through the below mentioned path,
Control Panel->Security and Systems->BitLocker Drive Encryption
Alternatively, with Windows 8 you can simply search for ‘BitLocker’. After you open the BitLocker menu, you need to click the ‘Turn on BitLocker’ button. You will manually need to specify which of your drives you need to be encrypted by checking on the appropriate box. That’s it, you are done.
In the event that your computer’s specs are not enough to run BitLocker, encrypting your hard drive can still be done using other options like DiskCryptor or TrueCrypt.
Encrypting Removable Drives
If you happen to use removable media like flash drives and external hard drives for storing sensitive information, then you can encrypt the same using BitLocker To Go, a BitLocker version designed exclusively for removable drives. And although your PC still needs to run either an Enterprise or Professional edition of Windows, a TPM is not required with BitLocker To Go.