Solved Should I Disable BitLocker on My Windows 11 Home Desktop?


retexan599

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Houston TX USA
OS
Windows 11 23H2 22631.3296
I had thought that the BitLocker business was confined to the Pro editions of Windows 11. Just tumbled to that there is a version of BitLocker on my Windows 11 home desktop. I am inclined to disable it, because:
  • I have read that BitLocker slows down the performance of even an SSD drive.
  • It's another key that I have to remember/save somewhere for an event that will likely never happen. I am not one to change out motherboards, memory, and such (never have).
  • I worry that some future glitch with the BitLocker arrangement will cause me heartache.
  • My desktop stays in one place at all times.
  • I want my children to be able to access the desktop in some future scenario (I am now age 86).
So, what perils do I run by turning BitLocker (Device encryption in Settings) off?

Thanks
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 23H2 22631.3296
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy Desktop TE02-0xxx
    CPU
    2.10GHz Intel 12th Gen Core i7-12700
    Motherboard
    HP 'BlizzardU' 894B 10; Chipset Intel ADL Z690
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce 3050
    Sound Card
    Realtek Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP27er
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    256GB NVMe SSD
    2TB HDD
    PSU
    600W
    Case
    Desktop Tower
    Cooling
    Air
    Keyboard
    Logitech K350
    Mouse
    Logitech M510
    Internet Speed
    25Mps (Max)
    Browser
    Chrome
    Antivirus
    Windows native security
    Other Info
    HP replaced SSD under warranty in November, 2023.
  • have read that BitLocker slows down the performance of even an SSD drive.
This is correct according to technology experts. However, a normal user would never notice the drop in performance.
  • It's another key that I have to remember/save somewhere for an event that will likely never happen. I am not one to change out motherboards, memory, and such (never have).
I wish I could say it will never happen but one can never say never. Things can and do happen. Hardware can fail, files can get corrupted, users can make errors. Like with any device, if one uses a computer long enough, something WILL happen.
  • I worry that some future glitch with the BitLocker arrangement will cause me heartache.
I don't worry about it but I'm always aware that it could happen. Bitlocker is one more thing tied to tpm. TPM is the component I do not have a lot of trust in yet.
  • My desktop stays in one place at all times.
It can still get stolen as can mine. But I do not use bitlocker as there is not one thing on my computer anyone could use against me. I do not store any password or personal information that could be used for nefarious reasons. My passwords are protected by my password manager application.
  • I want my children to be able to access the desktop in some future scenario (I am now age 86).
That is something to give serious consideration to. I am 75. My husband is all I have left, but since he is basically computer illiterate, he would have no idea what to do with a bitlocked drive. It is wise to make sure someone you trust has access to your MS account username and password which is where your bitlocker key is stored. I keep record of mine attached to my will in the safety deposit box along with other important logins for accounts he should close and instructions for what he should do with this room full of equipment if the need arises.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2 22631.3296
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex 7080
    CPU
    i9-10900 10 core 20 threads
    Motherboard
    DELL 0J37VM
    Memory
    32 gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    none-Intel UHD Graphics 630
    Sound Card
    Integrated Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1tb Solidigm m.2 +256gb ssd+512 gb usb m.2 sata
    PSU
    500w
    Case
    MT
    Cooling
    Dell Premium
    Keyboard
    Logitech wired
    Mouse
    Logitech wireless
    Internet Speed
    so slow I'm too embarrassed to tell
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender+MWB Premium
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 22H2 19045.3930
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex 9020
    CPU
    i7-4770
    Memory
    24 gb
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    256 gb Toshiba BG4 M.2 NVE SSB and 1 tb hdd
    PSU
    500w
    Case
    MT
    Cooling
    Dell factory
    Mouse
    Logitech wireless
    Keyboard
    Logitech wired
    Internet Speed
    still not telling
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender+MWB Premium
People probably have BitLocker (aka device encryption, on Home version) on for variety of reasons:
  1. Came that way from the manufacturer, because it's now considered a better security posture
  2. Windows leaks all kind of personal information in everyday operations, they don't want those to be readily accessible from the system drive
  3. It's considered an extra security precaution. For example, unlocked password manager's password can be in memory that gets dumped onto the disk because of virtual memory swap, software crash, system hibernation, and system crash dump. So, they don't want that accessible either. If you use encryption (such as in password manager) but weak passwords, with device encryption, your weak password doesn't matter because the device encryption is theoretically currently unbreakable.
  4. SSD works differently from HDD. When you erase something, it's not really erased. Some people don't want those information recoverable. Encryption ensures this.
For somebody at 86, I'd suggest to keep it as simple as possible. On a forum like this, nobody ever complains about not having encryption, except when the drive might have fallen into the wrong hand, of course, but there are more requests for help for encryption going wrong. OTH, if you have the key in your MS account (Finding your BitLocker recovery key in Windows - Microsoft Support), and your drive is already encrypted, maybe the simplest thing to do is to leave it alone and tell your kids how to access it just in case.

I tested the Bitlocker throughput on my system when I started using it. The loss in throughput was in a single-digit percentage. There were reports in performance downgrade on a Windows update recently, but I haven't experienced it.
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex Micro 5000
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-12500T
    Memory
    2 x 8GB DDR4 SO-DIMM 3200
Thanks to you all who offered advice. For now, I will leave things alone. I did save the key in my MS account and have it printed out and saved with my will. Some of my kids and grandkids are quite computer literate and I think will be able to figure out where to find those keys if they need them down the road.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 23H2 22631.3296
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy Desktop TE02-0xxx
    CPU
    2.10GHz Intel 12th Gen Core i7-12700
    Motherboard
    HP 'BlizzardU' 894B 10; Chipset Intel ADL Z690
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce 3050
    Sound Card
    Realtek Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP27er
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    256GB NVMe SSD
    2TB HDD
    PSU
    600W
    Case
    Desktop Tower
    Cooling
    Air
    Keyboard
    Logitech K350
    Mouse
    Logitech M510
    Internet Speed
    25Mps (Max)
    Browser
    Chrome
    Antivirus
    Windows native security
    Other Info
    HP replaced SSD under warranty in November, 2023.
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