Splitting my encrypted C: drive into two partitions


dbookbinder

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My C: drive is a 2TB SSD encrypted with Bitlocker. I want to split it into two partitions and move my data files to the second partition so that creating a boot image is less time consuming -- currently it takes all night. I separately back up the data files incrementally, so I don't need these to be in the disk image.

I have several related questions:
  1. Can I do this without decrypting the C: drive using something like Minitool or EASUS partition managers?
  2. If I don't have to decrypt, should I suspend Bitlocker while the repartitioning is happening?
  3. After the split, will each partition be encrypted, or do I need to re-encrypt the new second partition?
  4. Will the second partition have a different encryption key?
  5. I also have a second internal drive. Will the second partition become D: and the second internal drive E:?

    I'm running Windows 11 Pro, 23H2.
    Thanks!
 
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My experience on a clients computer?
1, 2, 3 eliminate all encryption,
4 maybe,
5 disconnect any other drive/s first.

Not listed, keep in mind that if one partition fails the whole drive may be having issues, may fail. I prefer my 8TB NAS drive running as RAID 1 with 2 x 4TB HDDs for 4TB total storage.
 

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    Win11 Pro RTM
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    Dell Vostro 5890
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@dbookbinder

Definitely decrypt first.
You don't have to unhook the other drives, just to partition.
You can change the drive letters to whatever you want... afterwards. With Minitool or Disk Management.



You can easily go all OCD with drive letters... if desired. :-)


This is my Disk Management, and File Explorer...

000000 Disk Management 2.png


Image1.png




I only backup the stuff in the RED box, in the top pic. Approx. 35GB. Takes just under two minutes.
 

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    Win 11 Home ♦♦♦22631.3593 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦23H2
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    Windows XP Pro 32bit w/SP3
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    AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ (OC'd @ 3.2Ghz)
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    Firefox 3.x ??
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    Still assembled, still runs. Haven't turned it on for 13 years?
My C: drive is a 2TB SSD encrypted with Bitlocker. I want to split it into two partitions and move my data files to the second partition so that creating a boot image is less time consuming -- currently it takes all night. I separately back up the data files incrementally, so I don't need these to be in the disk image.

I have several related questions:
Can I do this without decrypting the C: drive using something like Minitool or EASUS partition managers?

If I could follow Microsoft instructions to use Windows diskpart to shrink my Bitlockered system partition to make room for a larger recovery partition, you should be able to do the same to make room for a new partition. The Windows Disk Management app might also do the trick.

If I don't have to decrypt, should I suspend Bitlocker while the repartitioning is happening?

No.


After the split, will each partition be encrypted, or do I need to re-encrypt the new second partition?

The new partition won't be encrypted.

Will the second partition have a different encryption key?

Yes, and it will be a data drive, so you should enable auto-unlock after you encrypt it. This has implications when you restore the OS partition. This article explains different ways to backup/restore Bitlockered OS partitions for the imaging software I use, but it applies to all such software:


This article explains how to recover when you mess up and restore the OS partition in the unencrypted state, such that you have to re-encrypt it, which screws up auto-unlock:


I also have a second internal drive. Will the second partition become D: and the second internal drive E:?

No, the drive letters won't change for fixed drives.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
My 2 cents, if my drive was encrypted (it's not) I would never take the chance and perform disk tasks without decrypting and turning off bitlocker first.
 

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  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2 22631.3593
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    PC/Desktop
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    Dell Optiplex 7080
    CPU
    i9-10900 10 core 20 threads
    Motherboard
    DELL 0J37VM
    Memory
    32 gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    none-Intel UHD Graphics 630
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    Integrated Realtek
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    Benq 27
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1tb Solidigm m.2 +256gb ssd+512 gb usb m.2 sata
    PSU
    500w
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    MT
    Cooling
    Dell Premium
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    Logitech wired
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    so slow I'm too embarrassed to tell
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    Firefox
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    Defender+MWB Premium
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    Windows 10 Pro 22H2 19045.3930
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    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex 9020
    CPU
    i7-4770
    Memory
    24 gb
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27
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    2560x1440
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    256 gb Toshiba BG4 M.2 NVE SSB and 1 tb hdd
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    500w
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    Dell factory
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    Logitech wireless
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    Logitech wired
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    still not telling
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    Defender+MWB Premium
Hi,
Personally the 2tb ssd is best used as a pure personal data/ games drive
If it were me I'd look into getting a 250-500gb ssd just for os

But indeed decrypt first.
 

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I've never decrypted when shrinking C: and creating new partitions using disk management. It shrinks fine and when I format the new simple partition it is automatically encrypted.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 build 10.0.26635.3566 Beta
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    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 14 5430
    CPU
    Intel i7-1355U
    Motherboard
    Dell 0GMW80
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris XE
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    Realtek
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    Dell 14" and LG Ultrawide 26"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1080
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    Samsung 990 Pro 1TB NVME Gen 4 M.2 SSD
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    Dell
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    Dell KM3322W
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    900mb down / 400mb up FTTP
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    Microsoft Surface Keyboard
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    900mb / 400mb FTTP
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    Edge
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    Windows Defender
I've never decrypted when shrinking C: and creating new partitions using disk management. It shrinks fine and when I format the new simple partition it is automatically encrypted.
There seem to be widely divergent views on this. Good to hear you've had no problems. When it's automatically encrypted, does it use the same encryption key or a new one for that partition?
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP
    CPU
    i7-1355U
    Motherboard
    HP
    Memory
    64GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel IRIS 1GB
    Sound Card
    Realtek (internal)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Stock and external 27" Acer monitor
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    NVme 2TB (Windows), 2TB SSD
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    Stock
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    Stock and external HP keyboard
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    Trackpad and external Logitech wired mouse
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    FIOS 1GB
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    2TB Samsung 990 Pro, 2TB Samsung 870 EVO
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    Windows 10
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    Dell Inspiron 5770
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    Intel i7-8550U
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    Dell
    Memory
    32GB
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    AMD Radeon 530
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    Realtek
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    1920x1080
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    Microsoft Defender

My Computers

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  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2 22631.3593
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    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex 7080
    CPU
    i9-10900 10 core 20 threads
    Motherboard
    DELL 0J37VM
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    32 gb
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    none-Intel UHD Graphics 630
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    Integrated Realtek
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    Benq 27
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    2560x1440
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    1tb Solidigm m.2 +256gb ssd+512 gb usb m.2 sata
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    500w
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    Dell Premium
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    Logitech wired
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    so slow I'm too embarrassed to tell
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    Firefox
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    Defender+MWB Premium
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    Windows 10 Pro 22H2 19045.3930
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    Dell Optiplex 9020
    CPU
    i7-4770
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    24 gb
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
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    256 gb Toshiba BG4 M.2 NVE SSB and 1 tb hdd
    PSU
    500w
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    MT
    Cooling
    Dell factory
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    Logitech wireless
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    still not telling
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    Defender+MWB Premium
There seem to be widely divergent views on this. Good to hear you've had no problems. When it's automatically encrypted, does it use the same encryption key or a new one for that partition?
Same one
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 build 10.0.26635.3566 Beta
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 14 5430
    CPU
    Intel i7-1355U
    Motherboard
    Dell 0GMW80
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell 14" and LG Ultrawide 26"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 990 Pro 1TB NVME Gen 4 M.2 SSD
    PSU
    Dell
    Case
    Dell
    Cooling
    Dell
    Keyboard
    Dell KM3322W
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    Dell Trackpad or Dell KM3322W
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  • Operating System
    Windows 11
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    Tablet
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    Microsoft Surface Pro 7
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    Core i5 - 1035G4
    Motherboard
    Microsoft
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus
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    Surface touch
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    2736 x 1824
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    128GB
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    None
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    Microsoft Arc Intellimouse
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    Microsoft Surface Keyboard
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    900mb / 400mb FTTP
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    Edge
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    Windows Defender
There seem to be widely divergent views on this. Good to hear you've had no problems. When it's automatically encrypted, does it use the same encryption key or a new one for that partition?

To those who say the newly formatted partition will be automatically encrypted, are you using "Device Encryption"? That's different than regular Bitlocker and unavailable on my Windows 11 Pro 23H2 system, which is the same OS the OP says he's running. From what I've just read, "Device Encryption" is indeed automatic for OS and fixed drives. Regular Bitlocker, OTOH, is not. At least I've always had to manually enable it on every volume I want encrypted, which is all of them, and this goes back to when I moved from Truecrypt to Bitlocker in 2014. That said, I've never partitioned a drive aside from re-creating and enlarging the recovery volume to apply the recent updates. I don't have direct experience with creating a normal data partition on an OS drive, and I would be surprised if regular Bitlocker automatically encrypts it just because the OS partition is encrypted. That definitely does not happen with separate data drives.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
To those who say the newly formatted partition will be automatically encrypted, are you using "Device Encryption"? That's different than regular Bitlocker and unavailable on my Windows 11 Pro 23H2 system, which is the same OS the OP says he's running. From what I've just read, "Device Encryption" is indeed automatic for OS and fixed drives. Regular Bitlocker, OTOH, is not. At least I've always had to manually enable it on every volume I want encrypted, which is all of them, and this goes back to when I moved from Truecrypt to Bitlocker in 2014. That said, I've never partitioned a drive aside from re-creating and enlarging the recovery volume to apply the recent updates. I don't have direct experience with creating a normal data partition on an OS drive, and I would be surprised if regular Bitlocker automatically encrypts it just because the OS partition is encrypted. That definitely does not happen with separate data drives.
No, I have Bitlocker on all my partitions and when I created two new partitions, one for my documents which is NTFS and one for my DevDrive which is ReFS they both had Bitlocker enabled straight away.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 build 10.0.26635.3566 Beta
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 14 5430
    CPU
    Intel i7-1355U
    Motherboard
    Dell 0GMW80
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell 14" and LG Ultrawide 26"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 990 Pro 1TB NVME Gen 4 M.2 SSD
    PSU
    Dell
    Case
    Dell
    Cooling
    Dell
    Keyboard
    Dell KM3322W
    Mouse
    Dell Trackpad or Dell KM3322W
    Internet Speed
    900mb down / 400mb up FTTP
    Browser
    Edge 124.0.2478.67 Beta
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Windows 365
    1TB OneDrive
    Outlook
    Visual Studio Code
    Visual Studio
    Python 3.12.2
    Macrium Reflect
    Dell Update
    MyDell
    Dell SupportAssist
    Dell TB16 Thunderbolt dock
  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Tablet
    Manufacturer/Model
    Microsoft Surface Pro 7
    CPU
    Core i5 - 1035G4
    Motherboard
    Microsoft
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Surface touch
    Screen Resolution
    2736 x 1824
    Hard Drives
    128GB
    PSU
    Microsoft
    Case
    Microsoft Keyboard
    Cooling
    None
    Mouse
    Microsoft Arc Intellimouse
    Keyboard
    Microsoft Surface Keyboard
    Internet Speed
    900mb / 400mb FTTP
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
No, I have Bitlocker on all my partitions and when I created two new partitions, one for my documents which is NTFS and one for my DevDrive which is ReFS they both had Bitlocker enabled straight away.

Well, either you're using Device Encryption, or your system behaves differently than mine for unknown reasons. Using Disk Management, I just tried shrinking my Bitlockered C: drive and created a new partition right after it, and after formatting the new partition, it was not encrypted. IOW, the new partition on the OS drive is treated exactly the same as a separate drive, which is what I thought would happen.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
Well, either you're using Device Encryption, or your system behaves differently than mine for unknown reasons. Using Disk Management, I just tried shrinking my Bitlockered C: drive and created a new partition right after it, and after formatting the new partition, it was not encrypted. IOW, the new partition on the OS drive is treated exactly the same as a separate drive, which is what I thought would happen.
Definitely Bitlocker 1710870866771.png
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 build 10.0.26635.3566 Beta
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 14 5430
    CPU
    Intel i7-1355U
    Motherboard
    Dell 0GMW80
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell 14" and LG Ultrawide 26"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 990 Pro 1TB NVME Gen 4 M.2 SSD
    PSU
    Dell
    Case
    Dell
    Cooling
    Dell
    Keyboard
    Dell KM3322W
    Mouse
    Dell Trackpad or Dell KM3322W
    Internet Speed
    900mb down / 400mb up FTTP
    Browser
    Edge 124.0.2478.67 Beta
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Windows 365
    1TB OneDrive
    Outlook
    Visual Studio Code
    Visual Studio
    Python 3.12.2
    Macrium Reflect
    Dell Update
    MyDell
    Dell SupportAssist
    Dell TB16 Thunderbolt dock
  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Tablet
    Manufacturer/Model
    Microsoft Surface Pro 7
    CPU
    Core i5 - 1035G4
    Motherboard
    Microsoft
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Surface touch
    Screen Resolution
    2736 x 1824
    Hard Drives
    128GB
    PSU
    Microsoft
    Case
    Microsoft Keyboard
    Cooling
    None
    Mouse
    Microsoft Arc Intellimouse
    Keyboard
    Microsoft Surface Keyboard
    Internet Speed
    900mb / 400mb FTTP
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender

I don't know if that's the right place to look. Device Encryption uses Bitlocker but is a higher-level construct, and I wouldn't be surprised if that dialog box I'm very familiar with doesn't give information about the former. Go to "Settings > Privacy & security" and see what's under the "Security" section at the top. If your device supports "Device Encryption", there will be an option for it there, and you can click on it to see if you're using it:


Neither of my Windows 11 Pro systems has the option for "Device Encryption". Don't know why, and in fact, I'd never heard of it before reading these posts talking about "automatic encryption", which I've never experienced in 10 years of using Bitlocker on probably a couple dozen drives.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
I don't know if that's the right place to look. Device Encryption uses Bitlocker but is a higher-level construct, and I wouldn't be surprised if that dialog box I'm very familiar with doesn't give information about the former. Go to "Settings > Privacy & security" and see what's under the "Security" section at the top. If your device supports "Device Encryption", there will be an option for it there, and you can click on it to see if you're using it:


Neither of my Windows 11 Pro systems has the option for "Device Encryption". Don't know why, and in fact, I'd never heard of it before reading these posts talking about "automatic encryption", which I've never experienced in 10 years of using Bitlocker on probably a couple dozen drives.
I have this and when I click on BitLocker drive encryption it takes me to the screen shot I posted earlier. 1710873431800.png
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 build 10.0.26635.3566 Beta
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 14 5430
    CPU
    Intel i7-1355U
    Motherboard
    Dell 0GMW80
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell 14" and LG Ultrawide 26"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 990 Pro 1TB NVME Gen 4 M.2 SSD
    PSU
    Dell
    Case
    Dell
    Cooling
    Dell
    Keyboard
    Dell KM3322W
    Mouse
    Dell Trackpad or Dell KM3322W
    Internet Speed
    900mb down / 400mb up FTTP
    Browser
    Edge 124.0.2478.67 Beta
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Windows 365
    1TB OneDrive
    Outlook
    Visual Studio Code
    Visual Studio
    Python 3.12.2
    Macrium Reflect
    Dell Update
    MyDell
    Dell SupportAssist
    Dell TB16 Thunderbolt dock
  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Tablet
    Manufacturer/Model
    Microsoft Surface Pro 7
    CPU
    Core i5 - 1035G4
    Motherboard
    Microsoft
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Surface touch
    Screen Resolution
    2736 x 1824
    Hard Drives
    128GB
    PSU
    Microsoft
    Case
    Microsoft Keyboard
    Cooling
    None
    Mouse
    Microsoft Arc Intellimouse
    Keyboard
    Microsoft Surface Keyboard
    Internet Speed
    900mb / 400mb FTTP
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
I also have a Samsung NVME SSD which has had encrypted drive enabled by Samsung Magician which utilises hardware encryption.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 build 10.0.26635.3566 Beta
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 14 5430
    CPU
    Intel i7-1355U
    Motherboard
    Dell 0GMW80
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell 14" and LG Ultrawide 26"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 990 Pro 1TB NVME Gen 4 M.2 SSD
    PSU
    Dell
    Case
    Dell
    Cooling
    Dell
    Keyboard
    Dell KM3322W
    Mouse
    Dell Trackpad or Dell KM3322W
    Internet Speed
    900mb down / 400mb up FTTP
    Browser
    Edge 124.0.2478.67 Beta
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Windows 365
    1TB OneDrive
    Outlook
    Visual Studio Code
    Visual Studio
    Python 3.12.2
    Macrium Reflect
    Dell Update
    MyDell
    Dell SupportAssist
    Dell TB16 Thunderbolt dock
  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Tablet
    Manufacturer/Model
    Microsoft Surface Pro 7
    CPU
    Core i5 - 1035G4
    Motherboard
    Microsoft
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Surface touch
    Screen Resolution
    2736 x 1824
    Hard Drives
    128GB
    PSU
    Microsoft
    Case
    Microsoft Keyboard
    Cooling
    None
    Mouse
    Microsoft Arc Intellimouse
    Keyboard
    Microsoft Surface Keyboard
    Internet Speed
    900mb / 400mb FTTP
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
I also have a Samsung NVME SSD which has had encrypted drive enabled by Samsung Magician which utilises hardware encryption.
I'm a longtime BitLocker user. I have several Samsung SSD drives that came with Samsung Magician installed. When I get them, I format them and then install BitLocker.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell XPS 15 9510 OLED
    CPU
    11th Gen i9 -11900H
    Memory
    32 GB 3200 MHz DDR4
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 3050Ti
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15.6" OLED Infinity Edge Touch
    Screen Resolution
    16:10 Aspect Ratio (3456 x 2160)
    Hard Drives
    1 Terabyte M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
    2 Thunderbolt™ 4 (USB Type-C™)
    1 USB 3.2 Gen 2 (USB Type-C™)
    SD Card Reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC)
    Internet Speed
    900 Mbps Netgear Orbi + 2 Satellites
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge (Chromium) + Bing
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Windows Security (Defender)
    Other Info
    Microsoft 365 subscription
    Microsoft OneDrive 1TB Cloud
    Microsoft Outlook
    Microsoft OneNote
    Microsoft PowerToys
    Microsoft Visual Studio
    Microsoft Visual Studio Code
    Macrium Reflect
    Dell Support Assist
    Dell Command | Update
    LastPass Password Manager
    Amazon Kindle
    Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation
    Lightroom/Photoshop subscription
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Tablet
    Manufacturer/Model
    Microsoft Surface Pro 7
    CPU
    i5
    Memory
    8 GB
    Hard Drives
    256GB SSD
    Internet Speed
    900 Mbps Netgear Orbi + 2 Satellites
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge (Chromium) + Bing
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Windows Security (Defender)
    Other Info
    Microsoft 365 subscription (Office)
    Microsoft OneDrive 1TB Cloud
    Microsoft Outlook
    Microsoft OneNote
    Microsoft Visual Studio
    Amazon Kindle
    Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation
    Lightroom/Photoshop subscription
I have this and when I click on BitLocker drive encryption it takes me to the screen shot I posted earlier.

So, as I suspected, you're using "Device Encryption", and that's why you're getting automatic encryption. If Device Encryption isn't enabled for whatever reason, you don't get automatic encryption, but you can still use Bitlocker directly, which is what I've always done.

I also have a Samsung NVME SSD which has had encrypted drive enabled by Samsung Magician which utilises hardware encryption.

Microsoft stopped trusting self-encrypting drives five years ago:


You can use "manage-bde -status" to see if you're using hardware or software encryption. I never wanted to multiply vulnerabilities so never trusted the individual hardware manufacturers anyway and always used software encryption.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
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