What is BitLocker?


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http://live.pirillo.com/ – When Microsoft first announced their plans for Windows Vista, expert users were excited. Finally an operating system with a multitude of bells and whistles! Unfortunately, we’re still waiting to see this happen. While there are a few good add-ons, we’re still waiting for Microsoft to deliver the goods.

One of the add-ons available is called BitLocker. This handy little feature will encrypt your entire hard drive, making the entire system much more secure. Sadly, BitLocker is only available for Vista Ultimate and Enterprise editions.

BitLocker makes use of a hardware chip called a Trusted Platform Module or TPM. When you turn on the computer, BitLocker communicates with the TPM to make sure the Operating System hasn’t been tampered with. If everything is ok, BitLocker then sends a key to the software on your hard drive, allowing it to boot.

There are, of course, minimum system requirements needed in order to make use of BitLocker:

  • Vista Ultimate or Enterprise
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM) microchip v1.2
  • Trusted Computer Group (TCG)-compliant BIOS
  • Two NTFS partitions – one for the system volume and one for the operating system volume
  • System volume must be at least 1.5 GB and set as the active partition

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3 thoughts on “What is BitLocker?”

  1. If someone goes with the golden rule “separate OS and software from data” I think bitlocker has a little use (a TrueCrypt-ed virtual drive will do just the same without hardware chips and possible goverment(s)-friendly backdoors).

    Not-available-yet WinFS on the other hand IS progress. Not for the computer world (journaling filesystems are not new for other OSes including linux) but for microsoft.

    And removal of drm related stuff is a must but this is another story.

  2. If someone goes with the golden rule “separate OS and software from data” I think bitlocker has a little use (a TrueCrypt-ed virtual drive will do just the same without hardware chips and possible goverment(s)-friendly backdoors).

    Not-available-yet WinFS on the other hand IS progress. Not for the computer world (journaling filesystems are not new for other OSes including linux) but for microsoft.

    And removal of drm related stuff is a must but this is another story.

  3. Kawa’s comment doesn’t make sense to me.

    IMO the goal of all successful companies (yes, including Microsoft) is to make products that people want to buy. That means that the product has to be useful.

    Data leakage has been a big problem. Remember when a govt employee got his computer stolen, and the lost hard drive happened to contain millions of veterans’ social security numbers? Oops. (Here’s a recap – http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/07/navy_data.html)

    Well, BitLocker obfuscates ALL data on the drive with state-of-the-art encryption. The end goal is that thieves can’t read personal/sensitive info off the BitLocker-encrypted drive — and post social security numbers on the Internet, for example. Pretty darn useful.

    Tell me – what does WinFS really bring to the mainstream user? The mainstream user doesn’t even know what a relational database is, much less why it’s better that their docs and mp3’s are stored in a database. People care about user experience, and IMO the now-dead WinFS wasn’t designed with user benefits in mind. As a result, even if MS shipped WinFS, I think few people would’ve forked over money to buy it.

    Also, people seriously need to drop the conspiracy theory that Microsoft might be installing backdoors. Even if you think Microsoft is evil and just concerned about their bottom line (oh wait – that’s a lot of businesses!), there’s no $$$ advantage to be had with installing a backdoor. To make money, it doesn’t hurt to sell the product to as many organizations as possible — government, enterprise, whatever. I find it hard to believe that Microsoft (or any company) would support one type of organization at the expense of selling their product to every other organization on Earth. Just doesn’t make sense. Also, there are hundreds of people working on Windows, with access to source code. It’s not like Microsoft selectively hires evil-minded people. With upwards of 100,000 people, Microsoft employees are pretty similar to you and me — ie, not spending their workdays thinking about how to make their customers hate them.

    I really didn’t mean to rant, so sorry if it came across as such. Microsoft doesn’t even pay my salary these days. I just thought it’d be nice to share my perspective of reality.

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