Protecting the data on your flash drive using BitLocker drive encryption is a smart move to ensure that your personal information is not available to anyone who gets their hands on your drive. While it does take a while to encrypt the data, after the initial setup, you will have no trouble using your encrypted drive. By entering the password you configured, you can unlock it for regular use in a matter of seconds. When using your drive on a Windows 7 machine, you will have full access to view, copy and edit your data. You can also use your drive on a Windows Vista or Windows XP machine, though you will not be able to save alterations to the flash drive. Read on to learn everything you’ll need to know to work with your encrypted drive.
Unlock Your Encrypted Drive in Windows 7
Insert your encrypted flash drive into a USB port on your computer. Windows will automatically recognize the encrypted drive and launch a BitLocker window.
Enter your password in the field provided. Click "Show password characters as I type them," to verify that you have typed your password correctly.
Select "Automatically unlock on this computer from now on," if on your own computer. This will allow you to skip this step and access your data automatically when you insert your drive. Do not select this option on a shared or public computer.
Click Unlock when you’ve entered your password and made your selections. If your password is entered incorrectly, you’ll receive an error.
Otherwise, an AutoPlay window will launch allowing you access to your drive. Click "Open folder to view files," to view your data in Windows Explorer.
If AutoPlay is not enabled, simply open Windows Explorer and open the contents of the flash drive.
Remember to safely remove your flash drive when you are finished working with it.
Unlock Your Encrypted Drive in Windows Vista or Windows XP
Insert your encrypted flash drive into a USB port on a Windows Vista or Windows XP computer. Windows will recognize the device and let you open and browse its content. Open the contents of the flash drive and double-click "BitLocker To Go."
Clicking this item will launch the BitLocker To Go Reader window, which is very similar to the window you will see on a Windows 7 computer. You are asked to type your password.
Enter your password in the field provided. Click "Show password characters" to check for errors.
Click Unlock to open the BitLocker To Go Readerwhich provides access to your files.
You can copy files from your drive and open them on the computer. You will not, however, be able to save edits or files to the flash drive. Attempting to do so will result in an error.
Now that your drive is protected and you know how to use it, you’re data will be safe and secure. For as long as you maintain your password, unlocking and working with the device is extremely simple to do. Make sure to remember your password though, or BitLocker will keep you from your data as surely as it would anyone else. If you should find yourself unable to unlock your drive, you’ll need to use your Recovery Key to get in. Check out the next article in the series, to learn this process.
As you can see, working with an encrypted flash drive is a simple matter. Though you’ll have to sacrifice a few seconds before each use to enter your password, it is a small price to pay for data security. If I’ve missed anything, or you have any questions about the procedure described above, please feel free to leave a comment.
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