Managing Your BitLocker To Go Encrypted Flash Drive

Now that you've taken the time to protect your data using BitLocker To Go, you'll need to understand your options for managing the device. Basic usage includes nothing more than entering your password, but you'll need to know more for special circumstances. Perhaps you'll wish to change your password, add a smart card as a second unlocking method or reprint your recovery key to ensure you can unlock your drive no matter what happens. Whatever your reasons, BitLocker provides a simple menu for managing your drive that make the job simple. This tutorial will show how to access this menu and what you can do with each menu item.

Accessing the Management Menu

After inserting your encrypted flash drive and entering your password, there are two ways to access the BitLocker To Go management menu. Your first option is to open Windows Explorer, right-click the drive and click "Manage BitLocker."

Your second option is to access BitLocker Drive Encryption under the System and Security, in the Control Panel. Click "Manage BitLocker" where it appears to the right of your flash drive.

Both methods will open up the management menu, which provides all of tools you'll need to manage your encrypted flash drive.

Changing Your Password

The first option on the management list is "Change password to unlock the drive." This option will be necessary if you need to alter your password after forgetting it, if you accidentally tell someone your password or if you want to change the password periodically for security's sake. To change your password, simply select the first menu item.

You are not required to enter your current password, as you had to enter it in order to unlock the drive and access this menu. Simply type your new password in both of the provided fields and click "Next."

This message informs you that your password change was successful.

Removing Your Password

The second menu item, "Remove password from this device," may seem counter-intuitive. After all, why encrypt a drive if it isn't password protected?

The fact is, unless you also have a smart card registered with the drive, you will not be able to remove your password.

If you have a smart card enabled on the drive, simply click "Remove password from this drive" and click "OK." If you don't have a smart card and you wish to add one to your drive, simply insert your smart card into your computer's card reader and click "Add a smart card to unlock the drive."

Saving or Reprinting the Recovery Key

Your Recovery Key is essential to unlock your drive if you should lose your smart card or forget your password. Without this unique key, you'll lose all of your data. If you should lose the Recovery Key that you saved or printed during the initial setup, select the fourth menu option, "Save or print recovery key again." This will open the same dialog box you interacted with when first setting up your drive.

Select "Save the recovery key to a file" if you wish to store the key on your computer's hard drive. Save the file to a location that is easy to remember, such as your Documents folder. Select "Print the recovery key" if you wish to print a hard copy of the key for your records. This is a good idea in case your hard drive fails. Click "Next" when you are done to return to the management menu.

Toggling Auto Unlock

The final option on your list will change depending on your current settings. If your drive is not currently set to automatically unlock on your computer, the option will read "Automatically unlock this drive on this computer."

Selecting this option will store your password on your computer so you will not have to enter it each time you plug in your drive. After automatic unlocking is enabled, the menu option will change to reflect this and offer you the ability to turn off automatic unlocking.

Using the automatic unlock feature is very convenient and makes your encrypted drive behave like any other drive on your computer. However, enabling the option on a shared or public computer will give any user access to your files and it is not recommended. Make sure you use this option on a computer to which only authorized people have access to.


Now that you've seen all of the management options offered by BitLocker To Go, you have a firm grasp on what the feature offers and how to handle it. Take the time to test out the various options now to ensure you understand their use before you really need it. Feel free to comment below if you have any trouble. We're always here to answer your questions.