Did you know that you can set BitLocker to automatically unlock any of the drives it’s used on? This includes removable drives and fixed data drives, as long as they do not have an OS installed on them.
Here’s how to set up the auto-unlock feature for BitLocker encrypted drives and save yourself some time.
Where can you use BitLocker’s automatic unlock feature?
You can tell BitLocker to automatically unlock any drive connected to your PC when you log on. This handy feature can also unlock a protected flash drive when connected to your personal PC, offering a nice balance between security and convenience. As long as these drives don’t have an operating system installed on them, you should be good to go.
Check out our guide to how BitLocker works to protect your files to learn more about this useful Windows tool.
How to enable automatic unlocking in BitLocker Manager
Typically, when you need to adjust an option in BitLocker, you go through the BitLocker Manager. However, you can only enable BitLocker’s automatic unlock via the Control Panel.
- Type in Windows Search control panel and then open the app.
- Click System and securityand then click BitLocker Drive Encryption.
- Look for the drive you want to set automatic unlock for. If the drive appears as locked, unlock it with the BitLocker password.
- More options will be displayed. Click Turn on automatic unlocking.
The inserted drive will now be automatically unlocked when you are logged on to your Windows PC. To disable automatic unlocking for the drive, repeat the above process and click Turn off automatic unlocking.
Using BitLocker isn’t the only method you can use to protect your removable drives. Here are some other ways to protect USB drives with a password.
Here’s how to enable automatic unlocking while unlocking a drive
You can also set automatic unlocking for a drive while unlocking it. If you are always locking and unlocking your hard drive, this method should be the most convenient option to take.
- Insert the encrypted drive into the PC and double-click it in My PC. This will enable the password prompt.
- Enter the BitLocker password for the drive and click Several choices.
- Check the box next to it Unlock automatically on this PCand then click on Unlock button.
Here’s how to enable or disable automatic unlocking with the prompt
You can also enable or disable automatic unlocking of BitLocker from the command prompt. And while knowing how to do this isn’t essential, learning how to enter commands at the command line is a useful skill.
- Make sure the drive is connected and unlocked. You cannot enable automatic unlocking on a locked drive for security reasons.
- Type cmd into Windows Search and run command prompt as administrator. You must have administrator privileges (elevated) to make changes to BitLocker using this method.
- To enable automatic unlocking, enter: manage-bde -autounlock -enable H:. Substitute H with the letter assigned to the removable or fixed data drive.
- To disable automatic unlocking, enter: manage-bde -autounlock -disable H:. Again, replace H with your own station letter.
Both commands will result in a message telling you that auto unlock is enabled/disabled.
The command prompt is a very useful tool. Our guide to some other important Windows CMD commands will show you how useful this tool can be.
Automatically unlock BitLocker encrypted drives
Using BitLocker to encrypt your hard and removable drives is a good security measure. But that doesn’t mean having to type in your password to access them isn’t annoying. With automatic unlocking, you can maintain security, but with less frustration.