Thursday 5 September 2013

BitLocker Encrypted Drive: Unable to Unlock

We have a number of external BitLocker encrypted drives that we use to tote around our business data with.

After plugging one of the drives into our newly stood up system with Windows Server 2012 RTM being slowly configured as a desktop we hit this:


Normally, a BitLocker encrypted drive gets plugged into any Windows Vista and above operating system and a prompt happens to unlock it for full access.

Double clicking on the drive in Explorer did nothing. Nada. Zippo.

In the end we had missed installing the BitLocker components on the machine:


Note that a restart would be required once the installer routine completed.

Sure enough, after the reboot we were prompted for the pass phrase after double clicking on the drive’s icon:


With BitLocker now included in Windows 8 Pro there is no reason why organizations that do move their desktop operating system platforms over to Windows 8 should not use BitLocker to encrypt every system and external storage device by default.

In fact, for any organization that has sensitive data housed on their systems the only thing stopping the migration to Windows 8 Professional would be Line of Business applications ... maybe. One could work around that with application virtualization or RemoteApps depending on the LoB.

The tools for BitLocker management are also available in Windows Server as well as a part of the Desktop OS Software Assurance and MDOP offering.

And one more thing: With the horsepower that today’s systems offer whole disk encryption as opposed to encrypting only contents is always the best option. BitLocker Content Only Encryption is a new feature in Windows 8.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
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