Solved Macrium and Bitlocker on a new laptop. A few questions...


Mooly

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A few questions here relating to disk imaging and Bitlocker. I've set out the things I would like to know more about separately which hopefully make it more understandable. Thanks for reading...

Background, I have a new PC and this is my first with UEFI and Bitlocker. There are two separate internal drives. The Disk Management console shows both drives as 'Bitlocker Encrypted' and both have an open padlock symbol when viewed in File Explorer.

I intend to make Disk Images and initially store them on the second D drive. This is my normal strategy and I then move the files occasionally to a separate external drive for archiving.

Question 1/
Will backup software such as Macrium work correctly with this setup without me having to do anything with Bitlocker? In other words just click and run to make a disk image as I am used to now on an older legacy Bios non Bitlocker systems.

Question 2/
Assuming the above will work OK, can I also restore normally using that image from within Windows without Bitlocker causing an issue?

Question 3/
Assuming the above backup and restore scenario will all work OK then is that image file stored on the second drive 'D' also be encrypted?
(What I'm getting at here is whether that image file would be usable if it were stolen. Would it be recognisable as lets say a Macrium image and be mountable in some way in another PC?)

As mentioned at the top, my backup strategy has me move image files to a separate drive occasionally as an archive.

Question 4/
What would happen if the image file on D (assuming it is been encrypted) were moved to another normal non encrypted external USB drive. Would that be possible and/or would it loose its encryption and be so be usable by anyone?

Question 5/
Would such an externally stored archived image file restore normally onto the Bitlocker encrypted system directly if needed?
 

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Mooly

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The more I look into this and the more confusing it becomes. So much so I wonder whether turning Bitlocker off might be more realistic.

It seems that there are many stumbling blocks and it also seems that a disk image is performed on a sector by sector basis meaning each backup is massive as would also be the incremental chain.

I think I need a rethink on this. Bitlocker was enabled by default out of the box and I'm seriously wondering whether it will cause more issues in the long run.

I'm still very interested in your thoughts though.
 

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glasskuter

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If you choose to use bitlocker, not all drives have to be encrypted. You can control what drives have bitlocker turned on and off from control panel-bitlocker drive encryption.

I do not use bitlocker myself so I turned it off completely. I feel it would be too easy for me to trap myself in a corner and lose access to my encrypted drive. I use a PC rather than a laptop so I'm not particularly worried about it being stolen.

I believe this article should answer all your questions regarding restoring a Macrium backup. Techie Tuesday: Adding BitLocker support to Windows PE. It's all in the way you make your recovery media.
 

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Mooly

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Thanks very much @glasskuter, that info is great, really informative. I'll give some serious thought whether to keep using Bitlocker or not.

One other thing I notice (that I think might be Bitlocker related) is just how large the Windows installation is. There is no bloatware preinstalled either.
 

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Mooly

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Well I've taken the plunge and gone for Macrium Home while its still on half price offer. Haven't made an image yet... I can see having more questions tbh but I'll start a new thread for those when they arise. Its a long while since I used Macrium.

I see it reports the drives as 'unlocked' when I hover over them. Also surprised to see Disk 2 as the one with the OS.

Untitled.png

I'll have to read the manual. I seem to remember from when I last used Macrium you had to do/add something to allow it to restore from within Windows.

One for tomorrow I suspect :cool:
 

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    8Gb
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cereberus

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Macrium Reflect backs up bitlocked partitions fine. If you have a TPM, it unlocks rhe partiions automatically.. If not, it will backup loced or unlocked depending on whether you set Reflect to backup licked or unlocked.
 

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glasskuter

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Disk 2 as the one with the OS
Yes, I was very surprised when I got my Dell to see that as well.
how large the Windows installation is.
That does look to be large on a virgin machine unless you have installed a lot of programs or have moved a lot of personal files into Windows 11.
If you haven't already, you can relocate your personal folders to your data drive to clear space on the C: drive. How to move user folders to different location on Windows 10
 

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Mooly

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Macrium Reflect backs up bitlocked partitions fine.

Excellent. Probably one for tomorrow as its never good to retire if there happens to be a problem with something.

That does look to be large on a virgin machine unless you have installed a lot of programs or have moved a lot of personal files into Windows 11.

I've added some user data (about 6 Gb I guess) and some programs although one of those is massive as programs go (almost 6Gb). That said the same set up on the old laptop weighs in at around 50Gb in total. In fact there is more on that old laptop at the moment. The old one is a 10 yr old Dell laptop running W11 brilliantly actually considering.

The data partition on the new one (that you can see in the image) contains a Windows own backup file. I made it just in case. Nothing else on their at the moment.

I'll perhaps look at putting some files on the D drive. I need to think it all out now as I'm used to a single drive partitioned into Data, then one for File History, another partition for backups and a small partition for PC specifics like drivers and installation files and such like.

When I'm happy with it all and that the backups are working OK I might in future look at blitzing the install and doing a clean one. Lots of advice on the Dell site about driver install order and all that stuff.
 

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Mooly

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First image made and no warnings or messages about Bitlocker. The image is also noticeably smaller than the Windows one and was pretty quick to complete in around 5 minutes. Read I/O at 4.9Gbs and write at 2.0Gbs
 

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    8Gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics
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Mooly

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That does look to be large on a virgin machine unless you have installed a lot of programs or have moved a lot of personal files into Windows 11.

Just for interest...

Clean installed and now with more stuff than when that first image was made. I found that Dell 'OS Support' app as supplied has something similar to restore points in Windows and although System Restore was OFF it still showed as being active with space used. Found a way to turn that off in the Dell app. Also the OS Support gives permission for Dell to turn off Bitlocker remotely ??? to install updates automatically. I can see where they are coming from but its not something I want or would like.

A clean install has blitzed all that.

Compare this to the image in post #5. Now with many more Gb of stuff installed by me. Look at the C drive. How a default manufacturer install can be so massive is beyond me. There was nothing 'bloatware' installed as its a business laptop.

I'm learning a lot as I go. A good job I made copies of the Bitlocker Keys because formatting and resizing... well you can guess the rest... and I know how all that works now. The keys worked just fine. All blitzed though now and set up from scratch.

Screenshot 2022-06-13 152140.png


Screenshot 2022-06-13 152530.png
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    W11 Pro x64 21H2
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell 7760 Mobile Precision 17"
    CPU
    Intel i5
    Motherboard
    Unknown
    Memory
    8Gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Internal
    Hard Drives
    2 x 256Gb SSD
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    Dell 240 watt
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    Dell Premier Bluetooth
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    50Mbps
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