Introduction

There might be several reasons why you have ended up on this blog post.

Either you want to see if your machine is encrypted for personal reasons or you have implemented Bitlocker in your organization.

In this blog post, I walk through several different methods of checking the Bitlocker encryption status, including Powershell and the Command-Line (CMD).

Using these commands, you can also check the Bitlocker progress of encrypting your drive.

Make sure to read the full post!

What is Bitlocker?

Bitlocker is Microsoft’s encryption method, introduced with Windows Vista.

The benefits of using Bitlocker

One of the benefits of using Bitlocker, compared to 3rd party alternatives, is that it is integrated as part of the Windows 10 operating system.

This is especially beneficial when upgrading to a new version of Windows 10.

Microsoft releases two updates to Windows 10 every year as part of its evergreen strategy, called Windows as a Service.

Bitlocker encryption

Bitlocker uses 128-bit encryption by default but can be changed to 256-bit encryption.

With Windows 10 1903, Microsoft changed its recommendation from 256-bit encryption to 128-bit encryption. The reason for this being that customers had reported performance issues and Microsoft could see no reason for keeping the 256-bit encryption recommendation.

Read more about this in the security baseline for Windows 10 1903:

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/secguide/2019/05/23/security-baseline-final-for-windows-10-v1903-and-windows-server-v1903/

In short, Bitlocker is very secure!

It is possible to enable Bitlocker encryption on all the space on your drive or just the space being used.

The recommended method is to encrypt all the free space. With traditional, mechanical disks, this took quite a long time. To alleviate this, you could use Bitlocker pre-provisioning, where only the used space was encrypted.

Now with SSDs, this long wait is gone, and you can safely encrypt all free space.

I have written a blog post about why Bitlocker allocates all your free space.

The TPM chip

Bitlocker leverages hardware security in the form of the TPM chip.

TPM version 2.0 vs. 1.2

The current version of the TPM chip is 2.0, and the previous version was version 1.2.

Note that TPM 2.0 requires Native UEFI mode to be enabled. UEFI needs to be enabled for many security features in Windows 10.

I have written blog posts on how to upgrade TPM from 1.2 to 2.0, as well as downgrade TPM from 2.0 to 1.2 using vendor software.

Why should you use Bitlocker?

Enabling Bitlocker in your environment is generally recommended to increase security.

Most organizations that I have seen implement Bitlocker, or any other security feature, AFTER they have been compromised.

This is of course, not a good strategy, so please, make sure to be proactive in this aspect.

As it is exceptionally difficult to break the Bitlocker cryptography, you can save yourself much headache by implementing Bitlocker.

The great thing is that it is super-easy using SCCM, MDM, or Group Policy.

Is Bitlocker enabled by default?

Bitlocker automatic device encryption is enabled by default if you are logged in via a Microsoft or Azure account. Bitlocker is not automatically enabled if you log in using a local account.

How do I enable Bitlocker?

Bitlocker can be enabled during Operating System Deployment or on existing machines. Niclas Andersson has written a great blog post on how to deploy Bitlocker on existing machines using SCCM.

After enabling Bitlocker in your organization, you might want a simple command for checking the encryption status of a client.

How to check Bitlocker encryption status

As I mentioned in the introduction, there are several ways of checking the Bitlocker encryption status.

The methods I explain in this blog post are:

  • The GUI in Windows 10
  • Powershell using a built-in Commandlet
  • Command-Line (CMD) using the manage-bde command

Check if Bitlocker is enabled using the GUI in Windows 10

Search for Manage Bitlocker or go to Control Panel -> Bitlocker Drive Encryption

bitlocker status

Look for Windows (C:) Bitlocker on

bitlocker status

Check if Bitlocker is enabled using Powershell

You can easily use Powershell to check the Bitlocker status on a machine. Open an elevated command prompt and enter the following command:

Get-BitLockerVolume

Check if Bitlocker is enabled using the Command-Line (CMD)

With the help of this simple command, you can see the encryption status. It can be run in the command line or via Powershell.

manage-bde -status c:

After running the above command, you should see the below output:

Bitlocker encryption status Powershell

From the picture above, the following properties show Bitlocker status:

  • Conversion Status
  • Percentage Encrypted
  • Protection Status

All of the above properties give you an indication of the current encryption status of Bitlocker.

How do I unlock a Bitlocker-enabled device?

If your device has intentionally or unintentionally been locked, you need to retrieve the Bitlocker recovery key.

This key can be stored in several locations:

Conclusion

Bitlocker is an effortless way of securing data on drives for home as well as enterprise use.

I would recommend everyone to enable Bitlocker and make sure to follow up that Bitlocker is enabled.

Are you using Bitlocker, and what challenges have you seen? Please leave a comment below!

References

Related posts:

9 COMMENTS

  1. Very nice.

    It’s a real shame that the Windows 10 settings page for running the disabling of bitlocker provides no such status as a progress bar or percent counter. It just says “bitlocker decrypting” and that’s it. Pretty dismaying for a process that takes so long. I was disabling it on my Surface Pro 3, with a 128g drive, and it took about 15 mins. 🙁

    But without this powershell cmdlet I’d have had no idea at all how long it would take. (Writing this while I wait for it to finish.)

    Thanks so much.

  2. thankyou so much for helping the little guy that has limited knowledge of the programs MICROSOFT choose to place on the OS when we buy a PC or associated programs.
    Not computer literate enough to work through the maze of dark back alleys of the processes that go on behind the scenes of these programs!
    but when they force Faulty WINDOWS UPDATES on us, and when an UPDATE has completed or its associated programs are faulty, you can no longer use that pc/programs because it wont boot up or wont work the same way as it did before. Even trying to find out where to start to get the right help from them, for windows 10 uses(or windows 7 uses forced to convert to windows 10) like myself, and nothing they tell you to do helps- or makes it worse! is a terrible and shameful situation for a multi-national company such as MICROSOFT, to admit. So I guess they never will admit it. I’ve found that they just keep us little guys in the dark or chasing our tails, as most of the time they have not a clue themselves. So eventually it forces us to look for alternative advice, such as yours, to try and come up with the solutions to fixing the F-ups they continually and willingly take our hard earned money for! Not admitting to their drastic and obvious mistakes means they don’t have to fix anything.
    Great work MICROSOFT TEAM for a job NOT well done!!
    So again, I thank you- and other people that do genuinely go out of their way to help- on behalf of the little guy!

  3. I recently noticed PC’s were shows 2 type of conversation status like ( Used space only encrypted and Fully encrypted ) because default report doesn’t show anything. Is there any option to include the table in SQL query ?

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