A layman’s guide to encrypting your hard drive

Your data is important and it needs to be secure.  Large companies have IT departments that work around the clock to keep everything secure on their servers.  Likewise, you should keep your data secure.  In this day and age, it is easier than ever, even if you are using Windows.

Why should you encrypt your data?

5 Reasons to encrypt your data:

#1. Your computer along with the hard drive, may be stolen.

robber computer

#2. You may lose your laptop.  It could happen anywhere, at the airport, at school.

lost laptop

#3. You could pass away unexpectedly and whoever inherits your computer may gain access to accounts/data that you would prefer to have private.

inheritance-meem

#4. Your machine could be confiscated by authorities. (Not everyone is honest, if your credit card information is found they could write it down and use it themselves)

confiscate

#5. Clever hackers could get a hold of your data if you leave it open.

hacker computer

Your data is important, there is no reason why it should be at risk.  If you have any other good reasons on why it’s important to encrypt your hard drive, please post in the comments below.

How to easily encrypt your hard drive using windows:

So most people have a login password for their Windows PC, but if someone steals your computer or hard drive, the thief can easily place your hard drive into another computer and access that data directly.  If you have lots of sensitive information on your computer like bank account information, credit cards, personal health information, then you want to do a full-disk encryption, which will protect all of your data.

Microsoft’s Bitlocker software: 

If you use Microsoft windows, you can easily encrypt your entire hard drive.

You must have:

#1. Windows 7/Vista Ultimate, Windows 7/Vista Enterrpise, Windows 8/10 Pro, Windows enterprise 8/10.

#2 .A TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip most newer computers do.

If you don’t have a TPM chip, when you try to enable Bitlocker the software will let you know right away that you can’t encrypt the hard drive.

Let’s get started:

To enable BitLocker:

#1. Go to the Control Panel

#2.  System and Security

#3.  BitLocker Drive Encryption,

bilocker

You can also do a search for “BitLocker” in Windows 8.

Turnonbitlocker

In the BitLocker menu, clickTurn on BitLocker next to the drive you want to encrypt. It is as simple as that.

If your computer does not meet the requirements for BitLocker, you can still use DiskCryptor for free full-disk encryption.

Warning about passwords & encryption:

Even if your disk is encrypted, you need to make sure that your password is strong.  If you use a weak password like: “Password1”, a hacker can break that encryption and access the file.  The longer the password is, the better.

A strong password should be at least 10 characters, but 12 is better. A good mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols ensures good encryption.

If you have any tips about encryption, please comment below.

 

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