Hello there! If you’re here, you’re probably looking to secure your external drives with Bitlocker and create a recovery key. That’s a smart move! In this tutorial, we’ll guide you through the process step-by-step. Let’s get started!

Understanding Bitlocker

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand what Bitlocker is and why it’s so important. Bitlocker is a full disk encryption feature included with Windows Vista and later. It is designed to protect data by providing encryption for entire volumes. By default, it uses the AES encryption algorithm in cipher block chaining (CBC) or XTS mode with a 128-bit or 256-bit key. Microsoft has more details if you’re interested.

Why Use Bitlocker?

Bitlocker provides an essential layer of security for your data. In today’s digital age, data breaches and cyber attacks are increasingly common. By encrypting your external drives with Bitlocker, you’re adding an extra layer of security that makes it much harder for unauthorized users to access your data.

Step 1: Turn on Bitlocker for Your External Drive

First things first, you need to turn on Bitlocker for your external drive. Here’s how:

  • Connect your external drive to your computer.
  • Open ‘This PC’ and right-click on the external drive you want to encrypt.
  • Select ‘Turn on Bitlocker’.

Step 2: Choose How You Want to Unlock Your Drive

Next, you’ll be asked how you want to unlock your drive. You can choose to use a password or a smart card. For this tutorial, we’ll use a password. It’s important to choose a strong password that you won’t forget, but also one that would be difficult for others to guess.

Step 3: Create a Recovery Key

Now, it’s time to create your recovery key. This is crucial because if you ever forget your password or lose your smart card, this recovery key is the only way to access your data. Here’s how to create one:

  • After setting your password, you’ll be asked how you want to back up your recovery key. Choose ‘Save to a file’.
  • Choose a safe location to save your recovery key and click ‘Save’.
  • Make sure to keep your recovery key safe and secure!

Step 4: Start the Encryption Process

Finally, you can start the encryption process. Just click ‘Start encrypting’ and Bitlocker will do the rest. This might take a while depending on the size of your drive, so be patient. Once the encryption process is complete, your drive will be secured with Bitlocker.

Using Your Encrypted Drive

After your drive is encrypted, you can use it just like any other drive. When you connect it to a computer, you’ll be asked to enter your password. If you enter the correct password, you’ll be able to access your data. If you enter the wrong password too many times, you’ll be asked to enter your recovery key.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common questions people have about Bitlocker and recovery keys :

Question Answer
What if I lose my recovery key? If you lose your recovery key, you won’t be able to access your data. That’s why it’s crucial to keep it safe and secure. Microsoft has more information on what to do if you lose your recovery key.
Can I use Bitlocker on a Mac? No, Bitlocker is a Windows-only feature. However, Macs have their own built-in encryption feature called FileVault.
Can I turn off Bitlocker? Yes, you can turn off Bitlocker at any time. Just right-click on your drive in ‘This PC’ and select ‘Manage Bitlocker’. Then, click ‘Turn off Bitlocker’.


And there you have it! You’ve just secured your external drive with Bitlocker and created a recovery key . Remember, keep your recovery key safe and never share it with anyone. Happy encrypting!