How to disable BitLocker To Go encryption and remove the unlock password
BitLocker To Go is a useful feature that can help protect the data on your removable drives (USB memory sticks, external hard disks and so on) if it should be lost or stolen. Though it can be helpful, it isn't a perfect feature and it may not appeal to all users, because it asks you for a password, each time you want to use the encrypted drive. If you have encrypted a flash drive, an external hard disk or another removable drive, with BitLocker To Go, and you decide to return the drive to its normal state, so that you can use it without typing the unlock password, you have to decrypt it and disable BitLocker To Go. This tutorial walks you through the process:
Do you want to remove the BitLocker To Go password?
Many people come to this guide because they have searched for a way to remove the BitLocker To Go password. If you remove this password, it means that you disable BitLocker To Go and the drive is no longer encrypted. Therefore, if you lose the drive or it gets stolen, others can easily access your data, because it is no longer protected through encryption.
But, you can set BitLocker To Go to automatically unlock your encrypted drive on the computer(s) where you use it more often, so that you don't need to type the password as often as you do today. If you prefer this option, read this tutorial until the very end: How to unlock a BitLocker encrypted flash drive in Windows. There you will find a section that shows how to automatically unlock a BitLocker encrypted flash drive.
If you still want to go ahead and remove the password completely, disable BitLocker To Go and decrypt your removable drive, then continue reading this tutorial.
Before you decrypt a removable drive, you have to unlock it
It doesn't matter which version of Windows you are using and how and where your removable drive was encrypted with BitLocker To Go. Before you can decrypt it, you must plug the drive into your Windows computer or device and unlock it. Here's a guide that shows how this is done, in all modern versions of Windows: How to unlock a BitLocker encrypted flash drive in Windows.
How to turn off BitLocker To Go and decrypt removable drives in Windows 10 and Windows 8
There are two places from which you can start the decryption process: File Explorer or the Control Panel.
If you need to know how to open File Explorer, read these guides:
Then, go to This PC and right-click or press and hold the encrypted removable drive that you just unlocked. In the menu that opens, select "Manage BitLocker."
The BitLocker Drive Encryption window opens, where you can start the decryption process.
Another way to get to the same window, is from the Control Panel. If you don't know how to open Control Panel, read these guides:
- 8 ways to start the Control Panel in Windows 10
- Introducing Windows 8.1: 9 Ways to Access the Control Panel
Then, go to "System and Security -> BitLocker Drive Encryption."
The BitLocker Drive Encryption window opens. Here you can see all the drives that exist on your Windows computer and you can manage them.
Expand the drive that you want to decrypt by clicking or tapping the arrow on the right of its drive letter. Several options are shown: click or tap "Turn off BitLocker."
The BitLocker Drive Encryption wizard is shown: press "Turn off BitLocker."
The decryption process is performed and a progress bar is shown, so that you can monitor the process. Depending on the amount of data on your drive, this process could take from a few seconds to 20 minutes or longer if you have more than 10 GB to decrypt. If you need to remove the drive click or tap on the Pause button to temporarily stop the process.
Once the job is paused, you can unplug your drive. When you are ready to finish the job, insert the drive once again and unlock it. The decryption progress bar reappears automatically and begins where it left off. When the process is complete, you are notified. Press Close and you are done.
BitLocker To Go is now disabled on your drive and the drive is decrypted.
How to turn off BitLocker To Go and decrypt removable drives in Windows 7
To start the decryption process in Windows 7, open the Control Panel and go to "System and Security -> BitLocker Drive Encryption."
The BitLocker Drive Encryption window opens, and you can see all the drives that exist on your Windows 7 computer.
Scroll to the bottom to view your removable drive under BitLocker To Go. Click "Turn Off BitLocker" where it appears next to your drive.
The BitLocker Drive Encryption prompt is shown, informing you about the consequences of your decision. Press Decrypt Drive.
A progress bar is shown, to inform you how well the job is progressing. Depending on the amount of data on your removable drive, it can take a very long time for the decryption process to reach 100 percent. If you need to remove the drive before the process is complete, click Pause.
Once the job is paused, you can unplug your drive. When you are ready to finish the job, insert the drive once again and unlock it. The decryption progress bar reappears automatically and begins where it left off. When the job is complete, you are notified. Click Close and you are done.
Your removable drive is decrypted and BitLocker To Go is disabled.
NOTE: If you try to disable BitLocker To Go from Windows Explorer, you see a window where you can choose to remove the password from your drive. However, this option doesn't allow you to disable BitLocker To Go encryption. It only forces you to choose another way of unlocking your encrypted drive.
The only way to remove BitLocker To Go encryption in Windows 7, is from the Control Panel, using the steps shared earlier.
What is your experience with BitLocker To Go?
Since you have read this tutorial, then you surely had some experience BitLocker To Go and encrypted removable drives, like USB memory sticks, external hard drives and more. Before you close this article, share your experience with us. Do you like using BitLocker To Go? Is it a good encryption solution? Did you have issues with it? Let us know in the comments below.