This page answers common questions about the BitLocker To Go deployment and implementation within the School of Medicine.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is BitLocker to Go?
BitLocker To Go is Microsoft’s built-in external media encryption tool. More details about BitLocker and BitLocker To Go can be found at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security/information-protection/bitlocker/bitlocker-to-go-faq
- When will I need to use BitLocker to Go?
BitLocker To Go will be used anytime you choose to save data from a SOMTech-managed School of Medicine Windows 10 computer to an external USB storage device. BitLocker To Go will be activated when you insert an external storage device into a Windows computer. Like DDPE it will prompt you to encrypt the device if it detects it is not already encrypted with BitLocker. If you choose to not encrypt the device files on the device will be “read only” meaning while you will be able to see them you will not be able to modify them or save any new files to the device.
- How do I use & activate BitLocker to Go?
Instructions can be found at BitLocker To Go Instructions
- What if my device is already encrypted with DDPE?
If your device is already encrypted with DDPE it is advised that you do not encrypt it with BitLocker until you have first removed the DDPE encryption. This can be done via these methods:
- If no data on the drive is needed you may just reformat the drive and then encrypt it with BitLocker.
- If a small amount of data is on the drive that is needed we’d recommend copying the data to your home drive or desktop. Reformatting the drive. Encrypting it with BitLocker and then copying the data back to the drive.
- If it is a large drive such as an external hard drive with large amounts of data it is recommended you submit a ticket so a technician may assist you with the conversion.
- What if I need to use my device on a personal computer or a computer not supported by SOMTech?
External media encrypted with BitLocker To Go will work the same on any computer whether or not it is managed by SOMTech.
- What if I forget my password?
Submit a ticket and SOMTech will be able to walk you through the process of unlocking the drive and resetting the password.
- What if I do not want my device encrypted?
An exemption may be provided for certain computers & devices that the encryption may interfere with. These exemptions will be granted on an as-needed basis at the direction of SOMTech. If an exemption is needed please submit a ticket at https://go.vcu.edu/SOMTicket.
- Previously, I did not have to encrypt drives on my Windows computer; will that change on August 3rd?
Due to the way that DDPE EME was implemented, there were some individuals who did not have the encryption policy applied to them. This may mean that you were previously not required to encrypt flash drives. It is very likely that you will have to start encrypting flash drives once the updates are applied starting August 3rd.
- Will this apply to research computers not connected to the network?
No, this change will only be implemented on SOMTech-managed computers connected to the network.
- Will I be able to use an encrypted device on a Windows 7 computer?
Yes, if the compatibility option is selected during encryption.
- What if I am using an IronKey?
IronKeys are no longer supported by SOMTech, but if you have an IronKey or another hardware-encrypted USB device, please submit a ticket to SOMTech to make sure it does not get double-encrypted. If it gets double-encrypted, please submit a ticket to SOMTech to help resolve the issue.
- Will this affect SD cards and other similar media?
Windows will likely treat your SD cards as external media if you are using a USB card reader. In most situations, it is recommended to not encrypt the SD card, but you can still copy files off of the SD card.
- Mac - Can I use drives encrypted with BitLocker To Go on a Mac?
Unfortunately, drives encrypted with BitLocker To Go will not be able to be read on Mac computers. So safe sharing and storage of files for Mac users we strongly recommend users use VCU Health’s implementation of Microsoft OneDrive. More details can be found at https://go.vcu.edu/SOMDrive.
- Mac – Will any changes be implemented on Macs?
No changes are being done on Macs during the deployment of BitLocker To Go on August 3rd, 2021.
- Mac – Will drives be automatically prompted to encrypt on Macs starting August 3rd?
No, there will be no prompts to encrypt drives on Macs with this change. If you are placing data that needs to be encrypted on external media, please use FileVault encryption: https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/protect-your-mac-information-with-encryption-mh40593/mac