Can you add Data Encryption after the OS has been loaded?

Posted on 2013-10-15
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-01-13
One of my customers is now dealing with a Bank that requires that their systems are secure (beyond a username and password)

Am wondering if there is a way to add data encryption to a existing hard drive WITHOUT having to reload Windows, affect the data that is currently on the Hard drive?

Question by:teks14
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 39573906
Do they have requirements for the encryption to be hardware or can it be software based?

Author Comment

ID: 39573930
Not sure - but I suppose I should ramp up on Both
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 39573950
Lastly, what version of Windows 7 are you running?  Bitlocker is only available in Win7 Enterprise and Ultimate, so want to make sure the version before I start posting links for suggestions :)
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Author Comment

ID: 39573975
Its either Home Premium or Pro - I know for sure its not either of the other 2 - however I COULD consider doing an anytime upgrade to either Enterprise or Ultimate if that would be the most painless (meaning it would avoid doing a reload of OS / apps, etc)
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Accepted Solution

piattnd earned 1600 total points
ID: 39573994
Check out Bitlocker, currently available with Win7 Enterprise and Ultimate.  There is a ton of information out there about Bitlocker, but this is a link to the TechNet article that has a pretty good FAQ about the setup, operation, and possibilities of Bitlocker.


This link is the step by step on enabling Bitlocker for Windows 7.  These steps are all performed within Windows (control panel), so you will not need to reinstall the operating system before enabling it.


Please make sure you read through all of the documentation before you implement an encryption solution.  For example, you may find that you have to decrypt an operating system drive if you need to perform certain updates.  The following link goes through a few update scenarios specific to Bitlocker:


If the requirements are to only encrypt the partition or drive that contains user created documents, I would suggest not encrypting the operating system partition to avoid the previously mentioned catch point.

I wish I could break down the explanation briefly for you, but there's so much to encryption to consider, I figured I'd just send you to the source of the info.  Please feel free to post further questions or clarifications and we'll try to clear anything up for you.

Assisted Solution

baztech earned 400 total points
ID: 39576230
You might also consider a product like Truecrypt if BitLocker is not an option for your version of Windows 7.


Its open source on-the-fly encryption can be applied to individual containers / folders, to your system partition, or as a full disk solution as your requirements dictate.  It also offers a variety of 256-bit encryption algorithms based around AES.

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