How to Enable Bitlocker on Windows 10 Home With Step-by-Step Instructions?

Updated by Tim to Bitlocker for Windows Home on May 18th, 2020

I have Windows 10 Home edition, not Professional edition. Is there any way to install Bitlocker on Windows 10 Home, or do I have to upgrade to Windows 10 Professional?

Encryption

Like Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 before it, Windows 10 still doesn't make Bitlocker drive encryption available to users of its Home version.

While you can't use Bitlocker on Windows 10 Home, there are several options to enable Bitlocker drive encryption feature. Let's look at how you can encrypt your drive in Windows 10 Home./p>

1. M3 Bitlocker Loader for Windows

M3 Bitlocker Loader for Windows is an application that lets you turn on the Bitlocker drive encryption in Windows 10 Home. You can use this app to activate it for both hard drives and USB flash drives.

If you want to access a drive that's encrypted on Windows from a Mac, you can use the M3 Bitlocker Loader for Mac on that platform.

Step 1: Download M3 Bitlocker Loader for Windows on your PC and install the app.

Step 2: Launch the M3 Bitlocker Loader for Windows app.

Step 3: Choose the drive that you want to encrypt with Bitlocker from the list of drives M3 Bitlocker Loader for Windows identifies on your PC.

M3 Bitlocker Loader for Windows home

Step 4: Click Encrypt beside the drive you're working with.

Step 5: Enter the password you want to use to encrypt your drive and click Next.

Enter the password

Step 6: Save the recovery key as a backup in case you ever forget your password and click Next.

Save the recovery key

Step 7: Activate Bitlocker encryption on the drive you selected in Windows 10 Home.

2. Upgrade Your PC to Windows 10 Professional

One of the differences between Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Professional is Bitlocker support. Windows 10 Pro provides access to Bitlocker drive encryption without any additional software.

Upgrading to Pro lets you activate the feature but at $99 USD, it's a fairly steep cost to do so.

3. Turn on Device Encryption in Windows 10 Home

The device encryption feature in Windows 10 Home also lets you protect your files. It's similar to Bitlocker in as much as it lets you protect your data from access by unauthorized individuals but there are some differences between the two features.

The main difference is that all versions of Windows 10 (Home, Pro, Education, and Enterprise) support device encryption where only Pro, Education, and Enterprise offer Bitlocker encryption. Bitlocker provides you with more tools for managing your encrypted drives that device encryption does.

To use the device encryption feature in Windows 10 Home, there are two requirements:

1. Trusted Platform Module (TPM) has to be enabled.

2. You need a PC with a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) type of firmware.

To turn on device encryption on your drive, use the following steps:

Step 1: Open Settings in Windows by clicking on Start and then the "gear" icon

Step 2: Click on Update & Security.

Step 3: Click on the Device encryption item. If you don't see Device encryption in the Update & Security section of Settings, it most likely means your computer doesn't support one of the two requirements.

Step 4: In the "Devices encryption" section of Settings, click the button labeled "Turn on" to activate it

4. Encrypt Your Drive on Another Computer Running Windows 10 Pro

Windows 10 Home doesn't provide the ability to encrypt your drives with Bitlocker but it can unlock and access drives that have already been encrypted. If you connect your drive to a computer running Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise, or Education, you can turn on Bitlocker and then reconnect it to your Windows 10 Home machine.

How to Unlock a Bitlocker-Encrypted Drive

As we noted, Windows 10 Home can unlock and read a drive encrypted with Bitlocker. M3 Bitlocker Loader for Windows also provides this feature if you're using it.

Follow these steps to unlock a Bitlocker encrypted drive:

Step 1: Open "This PC" (or My Computer) and right-click on the Bitlocker encrypted drive in the list. You can also do the same thing in the Disk Management app.

Step 2: Click Unlock on the menu that appears when you right-click.

Step 3: Enter the password that you created when you encrypted the drive on that PC.

Unlock Bitlocker encrypted drive with password

If you've forgotten or don't have the password but have the recovery key that you saved during the encryption process, click on "More options" then "Enter recovery key".

Unlock Bitlocker encrypted drive

Enter the recovery key to unlock Bitlocker encrypted drive.

Unlock Bitlocker encrypted drive with recovery key

Changing a Bitlocker Password with Windows 10 Home

If you want to change the password on a Bitlocker-encrypted drive in Windows 10 Home, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the search bar by clicking on the magnifying glass beside the Start menu, type "cmd" in the search bar, and right-click on cmd.exe in the list of results. Click on "Run as administrator" from the menu that appears when you right-click.

Command Prompt

Step 2: Enter the following command at the command line prompt: manage-bde -changepassword X: (replace "X" with whatever drive letter is assigned to the drive encrypted with Bitlocker) and press Enter.

Step 3: Enter your new password at the prompt and press Enter.

Step 4: Type the password a second time to confirm it and press Enter again.

Step 5: When the password has been successfully changed, you can close the command prompt window.

Turning off Bitlocker Encryption with Windows 10 Home

If you want to turn off the encryption entirely on your encrypted drive, follow these steps:

Step 1: Click the magnifying glass to open search, type "cmd", and right-click on cmd.exe in the list of results. Click on "Run as administrator" in the right-click menu.

Step 2: Enter the following commands at the command line prompt: manage-bde -off X: (replacing "X" with whatever drive letter has been assigned to the encrypted volume) and press Enter.

Step 3: Close the command prompt window.

This command turns off Bitlocker encryption on that drive so the data will no longer be protected with its encryption.

If You Want to Use Bitlocker, Windows 10 Home Isn't Out of the Question

As you can see, using Bitlocker in Windows 10 Home is possible even though Microsoft doesn't support it directly. Data encryption is a critical factor in keeping your data safe.

Use the information in this article to take advantage of Bitlocker without having to shell out extra money to upgrade to a more expensive version of Windows 10.

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