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Matt McSpirit on Virtualisation, Management and Core Infrastructure

The BitLocker Command Line Interface...

The BitLocker Command Line Interface...

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image Are you aware of BitLocker and what it can do?  If not, you can read a full lowdown here, however, in a nutshell, BitLocker is a new feature in Windows Vista Enterprise and Windows Vista Ultimate which prevents a thief who boots another operating system or runs a software hacking tool from breaking Windows Vista file and system protections or performing offline viewing of the files stored on the protected drive.  Essentially, it is locking your data down, should your machine fall into the wrong hands...

Up to now, I was under the impression that BitLocker could only be used to encrypt your system drive, i.e. your Vista installation drive, typically C:\.  This is partially true - from within the nice user interface that Vista provides within the control panel, you can only BitLocker your system drive, however, if you want to put your command line tools to the test, you gain full control over BitLocker, giving you the ability to enable it on any NTFS volume.  Yes.  Even USB external IDE drives.

By doing the following:

  1. Open an elevated command prompt
  2. Change to %WINDIR%\System32
  3. Enter cscript manage-bde.wsf -status

BitLocker Drive EncryptionThe result is a list of all the drives on my system, external or otherwise, that can be used for BitLocker.  If they can't be used, it simply won't list them.  My USB External disk was one of the results, as the picture shows.

Steve Riley provides a host of further information on the BitLocker Command Line Interface, including the different commands you can use to control BitLocker - I'd say this is pretty useful stuff, especially for external USB disks!

I think the key point to note, regardless of whether you are using the command line or the GUI to enable BitLocker - Make a note of your Recovery Key and keep it somewhere safe!  You never know!

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