Secure your USB drives with BitLocker To Go for Windows 7

How it works

Basically, BitLocker To Go allows you to encrypt a USB drive and restrict access with a password. Without the password, the USB drive is worthless. When you connect the USB drive to a Windows 7 computer, you are prompted for the password and upon entering it, can read and write to the drive as you normally would.

During the encryption process, Windows 7 installs a special reader onto the USB drive. When you connect the USB drive to a computer running XP or Vista, the BitLocker To Go reader takes control, prompts for the password, and then basically makes the USB drive a read-only device.

BitLocker To Go can be used by both home and business users. In a Domain system, IT administrators can configure a policy that requires users to apply BitLocker protection to removable drives before being able to write to them. Furthermore, the policy can specify password length as well as complexity.

Setting up a USB drive
Setting up BitLocker To Go on a USB drive is a simple procedure. Once you insert a USB drive, right-click on it and select the Turn on BitLocker command from the menu.

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By Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.