How to Enable BitLocker USB Drive on Windows 11 [Full Guide]

Wonder how to use BitLocker USB drive Windows 11 to protect your flash drives? Delve into this tutorial and learn more details on turning on/off BitLocker for USB drives and using an BitLocker encrypted USB drive. An encryption alternative is also introduced.


By Phoebe / Updated on February 2, 2024

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How do I encrypt a USB in Windows 11?


I'm a graphic designer who freelances from my home office. Sometimes I work with other designers and we often share project files via USB drives. However, I store confidential client data on a specific drive. I would like to know if there is some way that can help me encrypt this drive to ensure that only authorized individuals like me can access it. Thank you in advance!"

- Question from Tech Forum

USB drives serve as convenient storage devices for a variety of files. Usually, the data stored in it is very important to us and contains private and critical information. To protect these files from accidental access by others, it is essential to encrypt the USB.

How to perform USB drive encryption on a Windows system? There is a feature called BitLocker To Go that is specifically designed for removable devices. You can use it to enable BitLocker USB drive Windows 11 or 10 smoothly.

Once encrypted, access requires a password, recovery key, or smart card so that you can protect documents and media from the threats of data theft or exposure from lost, stolen, or inappropriately decommissioned devices. Please scroll down to get the detailed steps.

How to turn on BitLocker for USB drive in Windows 11

If you have decided to enable Windows 11 BitLocker USB drive, refer to the instructions below:

BitLocker Encryption (BitLocker To Go) is only available in the Windows 11/10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.
Please log in with the administrator account before using BitLocker Encryption.
Make sure the TPM is ready for use.

Step 1. Navigate to "Start" > "Settings" > "Storage" > "Advanced storage settings" > "Disks & volumes".


Step 2. Select the USB flash drive with the volume to encrypt. Then, choose the volume and click "Properties".


Step 3. Click "Turn on BitLocker".


Step 4. Choose your preferred USB drive unlocking method: via password or smart card. Here we select a password option, enter it twice, and click "Next" to continue.


Step 5. Choose a preferred way to save the Windows 11 Bitlocker recovery key: Microsoft account, a file, or print the recovery key. Click "Next" to continue.


Step 6. Choose a preferred encryption way: "Encrypt used disk space only" or "Encrypt entire drive". Here we select "Encrypt used disk space". Click "Next" to continue.


Step 7. Choose a preferred encryption mode: "New encryption mode" or "Compatible mode". Here we select "Compatible mode". Click "Next" to continue.


Step 8. Read the confirmation notes. Click "Start encrypting" to download Bitlocker in Windows 11.


Once the download completed, you have turned the BitLocker on and encrypted the USB drive in Windows 11 successfully.

How to use BitLocker encrypted USB drive in Windows 11

If the USB flash drive is encrypted, how to access data on it and encrypt the drive again? In this part, you are going to learn how to use a BitLocker encrypted USB drive in Windows 11, including unlocking and locking the portable drive.

Part 1. Unlock a USB drive

To access data from the encrypted USB, you need to unlock it first. Details are listed as follows:

Step 1 Double click "My Computer/This PC" on the desktop to open "File Explorer".

Step 2. Locate the encrypted USB drive.


Step 3. Right-click the drive and type your password saved before. Click "Unlock".


Tip: Click "More options" if you forgot the password. Enter the previously saved recovery key.

Now you can access data on the USB drive.

Part 2. Lock a USB drive

A simple way to lock the flash drive is to shut down or restart the computer. But if you find it inconvenient or time-consuming, you can lock it from the Command Prompt. Here are the step-by-step guides:

▲ Warning: Please be very careful when typing command lines. Wrong typing can cause severe consequences.

Step 1. Press the "Win + R" keys to open the Run dialog box.

Step 2. Type "cmd" in the box. Then Press "Ctrl + Shift + Enter" to run Command Prompt as Administrator.

Step 3. Click "Yes" to confirm.

Step 4. Type "manage-bde -lock X:" (Replace X with the letter assigned to your USB drive) and press "Enter".

This command will lock the BitLocker USB drive Windows 11 again.

Tip: You may be interested in how to resize the encrypted partition.

How to turn off BitLocker for USB drive in Windows 11

If you don't want to encrypt your USB drive anymore, you can turn off BitLocker on it in Windows 11 with easy clicks. Refer to the instructions below:

Tip: In case of any accidents during the process, it is suggested to clone the encrypted partition to back up your important files before proceeding.

Step 1. Click "Start" and type "Control Panel". Then, select the top result.

Step 2. Go to "System and Security" and click "BitLocker Drive Encryption".

Step 3. Click "Turn off BitLocker" twice. It will start decrypting your USB drive.


When the decrypting process is completed, your USB drive has been decrypted.

Best alternative to BitLocker in Windows 11/10 Home

Does Windows 11 Home have BitLocker? Unluckily, neither Windows 11 nor Windows 10 Home users have options to use BitLocker to protect their important data. But don't worry. These users can try the best alternative - AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. It is a secure and trustworthy encrypting tool that enables you to encrypt and manage BitLocker more efficiently.

★Let's see its encrypting advantages:
Wide compatibility: Supports almost all versions of Windows systems, including Windows 11/10 Home editions.
Comprehensive functions: Combines all BitLocker features into one application, including key backup, password changing, data encryption/decryption, and drive locking/unlocking.
User-friendly interface: Provides step-by-step guidance, ensuring easy operation. Suitable for Windows users at all levels, especially for beginners.
Advanced algorithm: Uses the AES encryption algorithm and fully complies with the security standards of Microsoft BitLocker.
Free DownloadWin 11/10/8.1/8/7
Secure Download

How to BitLocker a USB drive Windows 11 with AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional? Please follow the parts below. Remember to connect the drive you want to encrypt in advance.

Part 1. How to turn on BitLocker

Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.

Step 2. Navigate to the "Tools" tab and select "BitLocker".


Step 3. All drives on the system will be displayed. Please Select the drive partition you want to encrypt and click "Turn on BitLocker".


Step 4. Set a password, confirm, and click "Next" to continue.


Step 5. Select a preferred way to back up your recovery key: "Save to a file" or "Print the recovery key".


Please keep the file carefully.

Part 2. How to back up recovery key

Step 1. Access the encrypted drive and select "Back up recovery key".


Step 2. Enter your password and click "Next" to continue.

Step 3. Select "Save to a file" or "Print the recovery key".

Step 4. Click "Next" to save the recovery key in the generated TXT file.

Make sure that the file containing the recovery key is kept secure and easily accessible to BitLocker administration.

Part 3. How to change password

Step 1. Locate the drive you want to change the password. Click the "Change password" option.


Step 2. Select your preferred method: "Use password to change drive password" or "Use recovery key to change drive password".

Step 3. The confirmation "Password changed successfully" window shows that the password was changed successfully.

Part 4. How to lock/unlock the USB drive

If a drive is not locked, click the option "Lock the drive" to lock the drive directly.


To unlock a USB, refer to these steps:

Step 1. Click"Unlock the drive".


Step 2. Select a preferred way: "Use a password to unlock the drive" or "Use a recovery key to unlock the drive". Then click "Unlock".

The drive will be unlocked if the entered password/recovery key is correct.

Part 5. How to turn off BitLocker

Step 1. Find the encrypted drive and click "Turn off BitLocker".


Step 2. Time to wait for decryption to complete. Please do not terminate the program, remove the drive, or turn off the power.

Step 3. Once the decryption process is finished, click "Completed".

The BitLocker on the drive is now decrypted.


This passage mainly focuses on how to use BitLocker USB drive Windows 11 to protect flash drives, including turning on/off BitLocker and unlocking/locking a USB drive.

Windows 11/10 Home edition users without BitLocker can rely on AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro for drive encryption. Apart from encryption, this versatile tool also supports various functions such as allocating free space during cloning, converting the disk to GPT without losing data, move installed programs to free up space in the C drive. For Windows Servers, select the Server Edition.

FAQs on Windows 11 BitLocker USB drive

Q1. How do I temporarily disable BitLocker in Windows 11?

To temporarily disable BitLocker in Windows 11:

1. Press the Windows key + R, then enter the command "control /name Microsoft.BitLockerDriveEncryption" and hit Enter.

2. In the Control Panel window, select "Suspend Protection".

3. A pop-up appears; click "Yes".

4. BitLocker encryption is now temporarily inactive. The BitLocker icon will display a yellow warning sign.

Q2. How to know if my USB drive is encrypted with BitLocker Windows 11?

To check your BitLocker status:

1. Press the "Win + R" keys to open the Run dialog box.

2. Type "cmd" in the box. Then Press "Ctrl + Shift + Enter" to run Command Prompt as Administrator.

3. Click "Yes" to confirm.

4. Type "manage-bde -status" and press "Enter".

Now you can view the BitLocker status for drives on the computer. Protection Status: Protection On indicates that your USB drive is encrypted with BitLocker.

Q3. How to Find BitLocker Recovery Key on Windows 11?

To find the BitLocker Recovery Key on Windows11:

1. Sign in to the Microsoft account linked to the device that has BitLocker active.

2. BitLocker will automatically back up the recovery key to the Microsoft account associated with the device.

If needed, you can retrieve it from there.

Phoebe · Staff Editor
Phoebe, an editor at AOMEI Technology, is dedicated to offering optimal solutions for Windows-related concerns, specializing in partition management, disk upgrades, data recovery, and more. During her free time, she enjoys indulging in reading, watching movies, and exploring her passion for cooking.