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Friday, January 1, 2016

Checking BitLocker status (Windows 8/Windows 10)

If you've started using BitLocker to encrypt your hard drives (and you should be), you may notice when first started that the system is very sluggish for awhile.

When I turned it on (be aware - not ALL versions of Windows have it - for example Windows 8.1 Pro and Enterprise - I am assuming the same for Windows 10), all went as planned but the system was really slow for a 16GB machine. While I was just setting it up (installing Office, etc.), the system was really bogged down. I let it sit for a day then installed some other things - same issue.

This was really beginning to concern me about the long term performance until I noticed that in the System Tray, the BitLocker icon was there. Right clicking on it is showed "Encrypting". Being a new system with a 1TB drive, I assumed it would take a while so I let it sit for a full day. Checked the status, same deal so wasn't sure if it was stuck or some other major issue.

Looking around for some answers (I obviously didn't want to reboot), I finally found the command line method for managing BitLocker (manage-bde). While this command has a lot of options (locking/unlocking a drive, etc.) it has the option to simply check the status. Open a Command Window (running As Administrator!), enter the command:

manage-bde -status

Viola! It shows the complete information you'd want to know:

Disk volumes that can be protected with
BitLocker Drive Encryption:
Volume C: [drive name]
[OS Volume]

Size: 930.79 GB
BitLocker Version: 2.0
Conversion Status: Encryption in Progress
Percentage Encrypted: 73.8%
Encryption Method: AES 128
Protection Status: Protection Off
Lock Status: Unlocked
<some more info about type of key, etc. here>

<other drives will be listed here>

In short, enabling BitLocker means being very patient. In the case of my drive (930.79 GB), it took over two and a half days to complete!