Read time 2 minutes

Summary: BitLocker To Go, introduced in Windows 7, encrypts portable drives for enhanced security. This summary provides step-by-step instructions on how to use this feature, emphasizing the importance of protecting sensitive data on USB flash drives.

BitLocker made its debut in Windows Vista, initially designed to encrypt only the primary operating system drive. However, as technology evolved, its capabilities were expanded to encompass the encryption of additional drives and volumes. In Windows 7, BitLocker evolved into BitLocker-To-Go, granting it the capability to encrypt data on USB thumb drives and various other removable storage devices.

Follow these steps to encrypt your flash drive using the BitLocker-To-Go feature.

  • Open up My Computer’ and right-click on the Portable Flash drive you want to encrypt and select Turn on BitLocker.
  • Once BitLocker has initiated the flash drive, you must input a password to access the drive. Alternatively, you have the option to configure a Smartcard, typically employed in professional settings.
  • Afterward, ensure you securely store the recovery key. This key serves as a backup in case you misplace your password or smartcard. Remember, if you choose to save it as a file, ensure it’s stored on a different drive than the one you’re encrypting.
  • Once you have saved the key as a file or printed it, a confirmation message will be provided.
  • You are now prepared to initiate the drive encryption process. Simply select the Start Encrypting button. As the encryption proceeds, a progress screen will be visible.
  • The USB flash drive has been securely encrypted. The drive icon will now display the BitLocker encryption with a golden lock symbolizing its locked status.
  • Right-click on that icon to bring up options to manage BitLocker encryption.

The next time you connect the USB drive to a Windows 7 computer, you’ll receive a prompt to input the password for accessing the drive. For convenience, you can choose to keep it unlocked on designated machines going forward. Additionally, you can utilize the encrypted drive on Vista and XP systems. Essentially, the BitLocker-To-Go Reader functions as a Windows Explorer-like tool for browsing the drive’s content.

If you’re using Windows XP or Vista with a BitLocker encrypted drive, you can only access and copy files. To add or modify files, you’ll require a Windows 7 machine. This method ensures the security of sensitive data on your USB flash drive. Therefore, Windows 7 users, take advantage of this useful BitLocker-To-Go feature!


The BitLocker-To-Go functionality in Windows 7 empowers users to safeguard their USB flash drives through password protection. This article presents a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on leveraging this valuable feature, covering minor intricacies. Additionally, it underscores the significance of this locker in ensuring data security.