Built in Encryption with Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise
Two versions of Windows 7 come with an encryption program called BitLocker Drive Encryption. It helps keep everything safe on your computer by encrypting the entire drive that your data resides on. When you turn this on any file that you save on your drive is automatically encrypted. There is even a BitLocker To Go, which you can use for devices like USB flash drives and external hard drives. First you might be wondering what exactly is encryption?
Encryption is a method used to secure a message or file by scrambling the contents so it can only be read by someone who has the correct encryption key to unscramble it. When you have important information that you want to keep safe, this is what you would need to have the strongest level of security.
In order to use BitLocker, your computer must have two partitions on the drive. You need a system partition, which contains the files your computer needs to start. Secondly you an operating system partition, which contains Windows. Only the operating partition will be encrypted. The system partition will not be so your computer can start. If your drive does not have two partitions don’t worry. The BitLocker wizard will automatically create one for you using 200 MB of available disk space.
When you turn on BitLocker for the first time you will need to create a recovery Key. If BitLocker detects any security issues with your computer, it will lock the operating system drive and you will need the recovery Key to unlock it. Normally though you just do your work how you usually would, and any files that get removed from your computer or email to someone will automatically get decrypted.
If you don’t want BitLocker on anymore you can turn it off by either temporarily suspending it or permanently decrypting the drive.