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

Updated by Tim to BitLocker for Windows Home on November 9th, 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.

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 BitLocker encrypted drive on your Mac, you can use 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

If you have only one C: drive and want to protect your personal files, read our article: How to protect your personal files on C: drive?

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 in Windows 10 Home

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 48-digit BitLocker recovery key to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive.

Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive with recovery key

If you have forgotten the recovery key, cracking BitLocker password is the only way.

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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