The BitLocker feature was first introduced in Windows Vista operating system. The feature however was used to encrypt only the content of our hard drives. Now, with the all exciting Operating system (Windows 7), the Microsoft has incorporated another version of the Bit Locker in it known as the BitLocker-To-GO. This BitLocker-To-Go can be used for encrypting the content of portable USB Flash drives in addition to encrypting the content of our hard drives.
The following section describes the procedure for encrypting portable flash drives .
1) Firstly, insert your flash drive into one of the available USB ports and then open My Computer and right click on the Flash drive that you want to encrypt. As soon as you right click, several options get displayed in a context menu. From the menu, select the option that says Turn on BitLocker.
2) Once you turn on the BitLocker, the Flash drive gets initialized and a window appears on your screens asking how you want to unlock this flash drive. The window will provide you two options, one option is use a password to unlock this drive and the second option is use my smartcard to unlock this drive. Select the option that suits your need. In our illustration, we chose to encrypt the drive using a password so that the access to the flash drive is directed only when the correct password is entered.
3) In the next step you will be prompted to store the Recovery key in a file so that in case if you forget the password or lose the smartcard, you can always get it back. Also make sure that you do not save the recovery file in the flash drive that you are encrypting. Once you save your recovery key, a confirmation message appears saying that your recovery key has been saved.
4) Now, you will be ready to encrypt the flash drive. Once your recovery key has been saved, a new window appears with option Start Encrypting at the bottom of it. Click on it and the encryption kicks off.
5) In the process of Encryption, a progress window will be displayed on your screens showing the current status.
6) Once the Encryption is completed, a successful encryption message appears stating that encryption of this drive is complete.
7) You can also notice one thing after the successful Encryption. The flash drive icon changes its display to a gold colored lock on it indicating that it is encrypted and needs a password to unlock it. Once you enter the valid password, the drive unlocks and displays a grey colored unlocked lock on it.
8. The next time if you want to access the flash drive, you should enter the valid password to unlock it and then use it.
9) The BitLocker-To-Go feature is readily available in the Windows 7 ultimate version of the operating system.
10) The BitLocker feature is also available in windows XP, but you have to launch it first and then use the password to unlock it. In windows XP, you will be allowed only to read and copy the files but cannot change or add files. You can add or change files only in windows 7 ultimate version of operating system.
So, the BitLocker-To-Go feature makes sure that the sensitive data present in your Flash drive is kept safe and secure.