There is no need to unlock the BitLocker device manually. This section describes how to configure Windows to unlock BitLocker devices automatically.
BitLocker is a device encryption tool built into Windows. Starting with Windows 10, Microsoft now automatically encrypts all Windows drives with BitLocker if you are signed in with a Microsoft account. Thus, if a drive is lost or stolen, no one can access the contents of the drive without proper authorization.
If you reinstall Windows with the drive encrypted, you may need to unlock it with the BitLocker recovery key. Restores are automatically backed up to OneDrive, so “most of the time” you don’t need to worry about this.
By default, all drives automatically encrypted with BitLocker are automatically unlocked as soon as you log into your user account.
However, if you have encrypted a drive manually, you will need to unlock it manually. The nice thing is that BitLocker can be configured to automatically unlock the disk as soon as you log into Windows. This eliminates the need to enter the long and complicated BitLocker password each time. This is especially useful for USB drives and external hard disks.
Let’s take a look at how to automatically unlock the BitLocker drive on Windows 10 and 11 operating systems.
The following procedure works in Windows 10 and 11 as well.
Automatically Unlock BitLocker Devices in Windows
To unlock BitLocker devices automatically, you need to manage BitLocker device settings from the Control Panel. All it takes is a few mouse clicks. Here is how to unlock your BitLocker device automatically.
- Unlock the device if it is not already unlocked.
- Press the “Start” key on your keyboard.
- Select “Control Panel” and open it.
- Select “Large Icons” from the “Display Method” pull-down menu.
- Click the “BitLocker Drive Encryption” option.
- Expand the drive for which you want to enable automatic unlocking.
- Click the “Turn on automatic locking” link.
- Once you log in to your user account, it will automatically unlock.
To turn on automatic locking, you must first unlock the BitLocker device. To do so, make sure the drive is powered on, open File Explorer, and double-click on the drive. When prompted, enter the BitLocker password and click “Unlock” to unlock it.
You can control BitLocker directly from the Control Panel. So first, open the BitLocker settings. To do so, press the “Start” key on your keyboard. Find and open “Control Panel”.
By default, the Control Panel is in “Category” view. Click on the “View by” drop-down menu in the upper right corner and select “Large Icons”.
In the Control Panel, locate and click on “BitLocker Drive Encryption”.
The above steps will bring up the BitLocker Settings page. Here, expand the drive for which you want to enable automatic unlocking. Next, click the “Turn on auto-lock” link next to the device.
As soon as you do this, your device will be set to automatically unlock.
That is all. From now on, the BitLocker drive will automatically unlock as soon as you log into your user account.
Remember that this setting only applies to your computer and only when you are logged into the same user account that you used to configure it. BitLocker encrypted disks will not automatically unlock if the disk is connected to another system or if you are using a different user account. You will need to use your BitLocker password or recovery key. The same applies if you are reinstalling Windows.
Thus, it is fairly easy to enable automatic unlocking of BitLocker drives in Windows.
We hope this brief guide to Windows operation has been helpful to you.
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