Solved BitLocker question


BamaInArk

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I was tinkering on a spare Win11(22H2) system yesterday. When doing a Macrium image I noticed a new symbol on the C: partition. It is the Bit Locker symbol. I have never used Bit Locker so wasn't sure why it all of a sudden appeared. The BL symbol has not appeared before so unsure why it's showing now. This is after updating Patch Tuesday.
So pulled up the Bit Locker status and it shows "waiting for activation"
I Googled some Bit Locker stuff but still clueless. Suggests it will turn on when accessing a Microsoft acct?

Anyway just curious to the whys and hows of Bit Locker.
 

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Ed Tittel

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IMO to resolve the notice, you are going to have to complete bitlocker activation and then turn off bitlocker if you do not want to use it. It is VERY important that you keep record of the bitlocker recovery key that will be generated.
The 'Waiting for Activation' you see in the BitLocker Drive Encryption Control Panel means that the drive IS ENCRYPTED, but it is waiting to release a recovery key of some sorts.

Maybe this will explain and help solve your situation (though it won't explain how you got into the situation in the first place. Possibly it was an option you missed in OOBE or I have read that there were some laptops that were optioned for bitlocker from the manufacturer)

If you decide to turn off bitlocker once it is activated Turn Off BitLocker for Drive in Windows 11 Tutorial
It will take some time to decrypt the drive.
 

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glasskuter

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Hey @Ed Tittel I haven't done a clean install or OOBE since then so didn't know that. That's good info to know and, as one who helps others, hard for me to take. It's irresponsible for MS to encrypt drives for people who do not even know what drive encryption is, let alone the repercussions it can cause if one is not prepared for it. At least, they're forcing these Home users to make a MS account. Too bad for those that will eventually forget their passwords or security questions and who gave a landline without text access as a recovery method.

In the case of this "waiting for activation" I'm assuming that the bitlocker recovery key is stored in their MS account even though it has as yet NOT been released to the user. Is that your understanding of that?

(not thread related) PS: MY ipad pro loves the dock. :-)
 

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BamaInArk

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Thanks for that link. Honestly I'm not sure how it got turned on unless the link posted by Ed has important info and MS turns it on automatically. And for this system it will be just as easy for me to reload the OS from scratch. Although having never dealt with bitlocker I might tinker with it a bit even if just to experience what happens.
 

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Haydon

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'Drive Encryption' is enabled by default, but not 'BitLocker Drive Encryption'.

The two are different, 'Drive Encryption' is simpler for the user than 'BitLocker Drive Encryption', the most important difference is that 'Drive Encryption' does not require the user to handle encryption keys. Most users are not even aware that there is 'Drive Encryption' on their machines.

However, I am aware of cases where the simple 'Drive Encryption' gets triggered into some unpredictable mode of the more complex 'BitLocker Drive Encryption'.

One of these triggers are likely backup apps, IMHO. An encrypted backup is useless for the user unless the user has the encryption key. Hence, backup apps usually produce a non-encrypted backup, and in so doing (rarely) trigger a wide variety of 'Drive Encryption' to some mode of 'BitLocker Drive Encryption' problems.

Not sure what advice to give, as the issue is really for MS in conjunction with backup app vendors to resolve, so that the public does not get inconvenienced, or in worst cases, gets locked out of their own data, search for cases right here on 11F and elsewhere :eek1:

The OP is lucky the issue happened on a spare machine (y)
 

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Dru2

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Looks like BitLocker is automatically enabled in Windows 11. See this 11F thread that started last September: Windows 11 encrypted my drive automatically.
HTH,
--Ed--
Windows 11 Pro RTM 22H2 Build 22621.1413, back to previous RTM versions.

I don't believe that's the case. I clean installed Windows 11 a few times on my custom-built PC (in trying to solve an issue) and during those installs never once was BitLocker automatically applied.

Now I can't speak for laptops or prebuilt systems, but on any of my custom-built desktops (two) none ever had BitLocker auto applied. And yes, I know what BitLocker is as I use it.
 

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cereberus

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Windows 11 Pro RTM 22H2 Build 22621.1413, back to previous RTM versions.

I don't believe that's the case. I clean installed Windows 11 a few times on my custom-built PC (in trying to solve an issue) and during those installs never once was BitLocker automatically applied.

Now I can't speak for laptops or prebuilt systems, but on any of my custom-built desktops (two) none ever had BitLocker auto applied. And yes, I know what BitLocker is as I use it.
It depends on pc. A new pc from an oem vendor with Home will drive encrypt automatically on a clean install.

I clean installed a couple of days ago and drive encryption was automatic.

A custom build may not drive encrypt automatically. I do not know this works but I suspect presence of a bios embedded key is the deciding factor.

EDIT - drive encryption on Home requires

1) TPM 2
2) Modern Standby
3) MS account.

So unless you meet all these criteria, it will not automatically encrpyt the device.
 
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BamaInArk

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Windows 11 Pro RTM 22H2 Build 22621.1413, back to previous RTM versions.

I don't believe that's the case. I clean installed Windows 11 a few times on my custom-built PC (in trying to solve an issue) and during those installs never once was BitLocker automatically applied.

Now I can't speak for laptops or prebuilt systems, but on any of my custom-built desktops (two) none ever had BitLocker auto applied. And yes, I know what BitLocker is as I use it.
I've clean installed Win11 probably about 40 or so times in the last year and a half and this is the first time I have seen this issue. More recent examples of bypassing OOBE so as to install without having to use my MS account. The system this happened too has been running for several months now without issue except for MS update overriding the Adrenalin drivers all the time.
 

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Haydon

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I've clean installed Win11 probably about 40 or so times in the last year and a half and this is the first time I have seen this issue.
You most likely had 'Drive Encryption' enabled by default 40 times before and you did not notice it was there, because it did not misbehave.

What is triggered on your W11 machine now is not the regular 'BitLocker Drive Encryption' that you would get with W11 Pro. You can experiment with whatever you have now, but it is NOT the same thing.

Just be aware of the difference, it is dangerous to make mistakes with (the regular) 'BitLocker Drive Encryption'

If you don't care about 'BitLocker Drive Encryption' just do another clean install of W11 and the default 'Drive Encryption' would most likely not misbehave again and you would not even notice it is there in normal use, that's how it is designed to be like that.
 

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Dru2

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...except for MS update overriding the Adrenalin drivers all the time.
Simply use the tutorial below and your Adrenalin drivers won't be updated via Windows Update. Yes, it works and I've been using it for years without issue. And I too have an AMD GPU as listed in my system specs. They don't get updated.


BTW, I should have added I also use a Microsoft Account, and again, BitLocker never auto applied itself.
 

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Dru2

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It depends on pc. A new pc from an oem vendor with Home will drive encrypt automatically on a clean install.

I clean installed a couple of days ago and drive encryption was automatic.

A custom build may not drive encrypt automatically. I do not know this works but I suspect presence of a bios embedded key is the deciding factor.
Right. And in your quote of my post I there was this...
Now I can't speak for laptops or prebuilt systems, but on any of my custom-built desktops (two) none ever had BitLocker auto applied. And yes, I know what BitLocker is as I use it.
That would also include any type of "Drive Encryption"

That said, with today's laptops and pre-built systems, I can see some type of Drive Encryption auto happening as this is yet another step in making sure customers have secured PCs right out the box.
 

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cereberus

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Simply use the tutorial below and your Adrenalin drivers won't be updated via Windows Update. Yes, it works and I've been using it for years without issue. And I too have an AMD GPU as listed in my system specs. They don't get updated.


BTW, I should have added I also use a Microsoft Account, and again, BitLocker never auto applied itself.
To be 100% clear - Full Pro Bitlocker is never automatic. It is the cutdown version "Drive Encryption" that is automatic in some cases.

Drive encryption on Home requires all three of these parameters

1) TPM 2
2) Modern Standby
3) MS account.

Where as Windows 11 requires 1 and 2 (officially), it depends on pc if it has modern standby - that feature is getting common in laptops - I cannot say about desktops.

What a lot of people do not realise is you can use Drive Encryption in Pro as well but as far as I know it is never automatic - only if pc is Home.
 

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Dru2

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To be 100% clear - Full Pro Bitlocker is never automatic. It is the cutdown version "Drive Encryption" that is automatic in some cases.
I know zero about "Full Pro BitLocker". I'm strictly referring to the BitLocker Drive Encryption" tool built into Windows.

Windows BitLocker.jpg

That said, I must admit I've never run a "Home" version of Windows so perhaps this auto thing is something particular to that versions?
 

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Haydon

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Yeah, with W11, there has to be adequate machine support for the default enablement of 'Device Encryption'. If there is no adequate machine support, then 'Device Encryption' does not get enabled on the machine, of course.

Since @BamaInArk had 'something resembling BitLocker' triggered on his W11 machine, it is most likely that his W11 machine does support 'Device Encryption' and thus, it is most likely that 'Device Encryption' will be enabled by default upon a clean install of the OS.

With W11 Pro, 'BitLocker Device Encryption' does not get enabled by default. 'BitLocker Device Encryption' has to be enabled by the user.

There are various configurations options, with or without TPM, with or without requiring additional authorization (like requiring plugging in a USB stick with the unlock key) etc. and of course, combinations of the configuration options are also possible.

------------------

'Device Encryption' was designed for the masses and is actually quite safe, but of course (rare) hiccups can happen.

'Bitlocker Device Encryption' is a completely different matter. It would be good if MS mandates a benign trial with an exam that users have to pass LOL
 

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BamaInArk

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Yeah, with W11, there has to be adequate machine support for the default enablement of 'Device Encryption'. If there is no adequate machine support, then 'Device Encryption' does not get enabled on the machine, of course.

Since @BamaInArk had 'something resembling BitLocker' triggered on his W11 machine, it is most likely that his W11 machine does support 'Device Encryption' and thus, it is most likely that 'Device Encryption' will be enabled by default upon a clean install of the OS.

With W11 Pro, 'BitLocker Device Encryption' does not get enabled by default. 'BitLocker Device Encryption' has to be enabled by the user.

There are various configurations options, with or without TPM, with or without requiring additional authorization (like requiring plugging in a USB stick with the unlock key) etc. and of course, combinations of the configuration options are also possible.

------------------

'Device Encryption' was designed for the masses and is actually quite safe, but of course (rare) hiccups can happen.

'Bitlocker Device Encryption' is a completely different matter. It would be good if MS mandates a benign trial with an exam that users have to pass LOL
To be clear none of my systems are prebuilts and are all self built systems using commercially acquired parts. All Win11 Pro. About 9 systems. None of them were upgrades and all were clean installed. So far, this one system, is the only one that has/had the issue posted in the OP.
The problem system is an AMD Ryzen 5700G on an Asus X570i mini ITX build. Using the iGPU. And again the only reason I noticed something amiss was the Bitlocker symbol that all of a sudden was showing up on that drive while using Macrium Reflect free.
I appreciate the discussion.
 

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Dru2

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Let me clarify my thoughts a bit further seeing the OP's last post - All my experience has been with "Intel based" systems running Pro versions of Windows. Can't speak on Home or AMD systems.
 

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cereberus

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'Device Encryption' was designed for the masses and is actually quite safe, but of course (rare) hiccups can happen.

'Bitlocker Device Encryption' is a completely different matter. It would be good if MS mandates a benign trial with an exam that users have to pass LOL
 

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System One

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    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
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    Laptop
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    ASUS Vivobook 14
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    I7
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    Yep, Laptop has one.
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    16 GB
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    Integrated Intel Iris XE
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    Realtek built in
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    N/A
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    1920x1080
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    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
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    Yep, got one
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    Stella Artois
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    TPM 2.0

cereberus

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People confuse terminology.

There is Bitlocker on Pro where user has full control and can choose to bitlock each partition individually.

Then there is Device Encryption as it was originally called BUT IS NOW CALLED Bitlocker Drive Encryption - it is the same thing! The terminology change was made to accentuate the encrypting algorithms were bitlocker, not a different method.

Bitlocker Drive Encryption differs from Bitlocker as it is a cut down version which user has no flexibility over.

When you use Bitlocker Device Encryption all drive partitions are bitlocked.

So when we say Device Encryption is a cut down version of Bitlocker, we mean it still uses same Bitlocking algorithms but have much less flexibility (basically all or nothing) with what you can do.

In other words, Device Encryption bitlocks the entire device (all drives).

Pro Bitlocker bitlocks individual partitions as selected by the user. This facility does not exist in Home.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
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    Laptop
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    ASUS Vivobook 14
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    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0

Haydon

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To be clear none of my systems are prebuilts and are all self built systems using commercially acquired parts. All Win11 Pro. About 9 systems. None of them were upgrades and all were clean installed. So far, this one system, is the only one that has/had the issue posted in the OP.
The problem system is an AMD Ryzen 5700G on an Asus X570i mini ITX build. Using the iGPU. And again the only reason I noticed something amiss was the Bitlocker symbol that all of a sudden was showing up on that drive while using Macrium Reflect free.
I appreciate the discussion.
@BamaInArk From what you have been posting, it is likely that 'Device Encryption' has been enabled by default on your W11 Pro machines. You can check that by looking at 'System Info' as an admin.

On the one problem machine, you could always turn OFF 'Device Encryption'. I would do a clean install first, in any case.

Good luck (y)
 

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