To make it possible to use BitLocker on a system that's already using Vista, you'll need to use one of the add-ons available for Vista Business and Ultimate called the BitLocker Drive Preparation Tool. The Drive Preparation Tool allows the user to prepare a system with only one partition, or an incompatible partition arrangement, to use BitLocker. The Preparation Tool typically does this by creating a new boot partition out of the tail end of the current system partition (which it usually names drive S:), copying the boot loader there and setting that partition to be startable. Once you have the utility installed, via Microsoft Update, it's fairly easy to get running:
- Click Start and type BitLocker in the search field.
- Click on BitLocker Drive Preparation Tool.
- Click I Accept to accept the licensing agreement.
- Follow the prompts to create the new system boot partition. You will need to restart the computer during this process.
If you already have a Vista system running and want to add BitLocker to it, this utility makes things a lot easier than having to wipe the system, repartition it and reinstall Vista.
Using BitLocker on a non-TPM system
Step 1: Know your hardware
Step 2: Configure the drives
Step 3: Edit the local policy
Step 4: Start the BitLocker encryption process
About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter. Check it out for the latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators -- and please share your thoughts as well!
This was first published in September 2008