How to Encrypt Hard Drive on Mac and Windows – Do we want to keep the data and files stored on our PC safe? Let’s see how to enable full disk encryption on mac and Windows
Everyone knows when it is important to encrypt personal information and sensitive files to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands and compromising our privacy.
On modern PCs and Macs of the latest generation, we can also encrypt the entire disk and make it accessible only to those who know the credentials of the Microsoft or Apple account, making access to personal files even with external recovery tools (Recovery CD , boot CD and the like) becomes impossible.
If we have a laptop or MacBook that we use a lot outside the home, in this guide we are going to show you how to encrypt hard drives on Mac and Windows to add an extra layer of protection without affecting computer performance.
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How to Encrypt Hard Drive on Mac and Windows
Before we start encrypting the entire disk where the operating system and our personal files are located, we must consider the pros and cons of this solution. The advantages are obvious and are well described below:
- Protection against theft : If our laptop is stolen, they cannot access our personal files and use our accounts, even with recovery tools via CD and USB sticks.
- Virus Protection : Encryption also protects against viruses that can operate at boot level or before the system has fully booted.
- Secure Recovery : To recover an encrypted PC, you need to know the credentials of the account that encrypted it or use the key associated with the encryption system.
After knowing well the advantages of this solution, we also see the disadvantages of encrypting the system disk :
- Slower performance : An encrypted hard drive has to be decrypted every time it is started and the files are read, which slows down the performance of the hard drive and the computer in general. With an SSD, the drop in performance is negligible to imperceptible.
- Difficult recovery : When the PC no longer boots and the system is locked, we cannot easily recover our personal files without unlocking the encryption applied, especially if we rely on external technicians.
- Loss of data : If we lose access to the account in the system or lose the encryption key, the data stored on the hard drive becomes inaccessible and lost forever.
Now that we are aware of the benefits and risks of encryption, let’s see together how to apply it on both Windows PCs and Macs.
Encrypt disks on Windows
To encrypt the entire hard drive on a Windows PC, we can use both standard encryption and the encryption offered by BitLocker .
For default encryption we just have to open the start menu on the bottom right and open the app Settings take us to the Update and Security menu open the side menu Device encryption and finally press the button activate .
The encryption becomes active immediately and affects all partitions of the system. If we want to use an even more powerful encryption system, we have to rely on BitLocker integrated into Windows since version 7.
Before proceeding, it is worth checking whether we are using the Professional or Enterprise version of the Microsoft operating system , since BitLocker encryption is not available in the Home version.
To check which version of the operating system we are using, we open the File Manager app from the Start menu we press the right button on the This PC item (in the sidebar).
We open the Property entry and scroll down to the Windows Specifications section where we can find the Windows 10 version in the Edition box .
After verification, open the Start menu again and on the keyboard type BitLocker and we open the BitLocker Management menu .
In the window that opens, identify the system disk and next to it press the item Turn on BitLocker .
If we follow the instructions, we can immediately encrypt the entire disk and save the recovery key in a text file or directly in the Microsoft account associated with the PC (strongly recommended) to be recovered online even if the PC is completely turned off the Use).
If there are other accounts on the PC, it is necessary to activate encryption for all accounts: to make the process very fast, we recommend that you always use Microsoft accounts to associate the encryption of your account range to protect each part of the Protect hard drive on computer.
PLEASE NOTE : all the operations mentioned in the chapter dedicated to Windows are only executable if we have access to a account with administrator rights .
If there is only one administrator account and the others are simple accounts, encrypting the administrator account automatically affects all other users on the computer.
Encrypt Hard Drive on Mac
If we own a Mac or a MacBook, we can protect the entire hard drive with Data Vault , which works in a similar way to BitLocker.
We remind you that on iMac Pro or on any other Mac with Apple T2 chip, data is automatically encrypted, but you can also activate FileVault for an additional layer of protection .
To activate FileVault on our Mac, in the upper left click on the Apple menu we go on System Preferences we open the Security and Privacy menu and let’s go to the card identified with the name Data Vault .
To unlock the feature, press the padlock on the bottom left, enter the system password, and finally press the Enable FileVault button . The system will ask for the password again and choose the preferred unlocking system:
- Allow my iCloud account to unlock the disk : The unlock key will be linked to our Apple ID, so we can instantly unlock the disk every time you log in to this Mac.
- Create a recovery key and don’t use my iCloud account : The system will create a recovery key that we need to save in a text file and keep in a safe place.
We choose the system we prefer and confirm the final steps to protect Mac hard drive.
From now on it is enough to log in with the account to which the encryption is associated to immediately unlock the disk or, at each login, call up the recovery key provided by the encryption program.
Read Also: How to Encrypt your Files on Google Drive
If there are multiple users on the Mac, their information must also be encrypted. When we see that the button appears Activate user.
Let’s reward it, select all the users present one by one and enter their login passwords so that all Mac users can unlock the disk.
By following the instructions in this guide, we will protect our notebook or MacBook’s hard drive when we are away from home or working in a very crowded office, so that no thief or bystander can try to recover our files or access our accounts without ours .permission.
Since encryption can be combined with accounts supported by operating systems (Microsoft and Apple), we recommend that you activate the two-factor authentication to access the credentials and therefore access the PCs protected by the accounts really to complicate.
If we have chosen to generate the codes for authentication via app, we recommend using Google Authenticator to generate codes , currently one of the fastest and most effective ways to manage two-factor authentication.