BitLocker To Go - Removable Storage Encryption

Print this articlePrint this article

Encrypting a Removable Storage Drive

Important: If you encrypt a removable storage device with BitLocker it will be completely inaccessible on a Mac and read-only (meaning files cannot be added or modified) on non-Windows 7 versions of Windows.

This article describes how to encrypt a removable storage device (commonly referred to as a USB flash drive) using BitLocker To Go (hereafter referred to as simply BitLocker). Please note that BitLocker is not available for Windows XP, but is enabled by default on CCIT supported Windows 7 computers. Also, drives encrypted with BitLocker are read-only (meaning files cannot be added or modified) on previous versions of Windows, but not Mac computers.

  1. When a removable storage device is connected to the computer you will see the encryption prompt, pictured below. Click on the first option to encrypt the drive. The second option, will allow read access to the files on the drive, but not write access.

  2. BitLocker will initialize the drive. If the drive cannot be encrypted an error message will be displayed. Please contact CCIT by sending an email, containing the error message, to ccit@columbia.edu.

  3. Enter a password for the removable storage device. This should not be a password that you use for anything else, as you may need to share the device with your coworkers.

  4. Click the Start Encrypting button.

  5. Do not remove the drive until it is finished encrypting.









Accessing an Encrypted Removable Storage Drive

When you remove and reconnect the removable storage device you will be prompted for the password you created when the drive was encrypted.