General Question

orlando's avatar

Is BitLocker disk encryption compatible with online/offline backups?

Asked by orlando (624 points ) January 30th, 2014

I’m planning to set up a new desktop workstation using Windows BitLocker disk encryption. I’m wondering how the file backup works if my computer gets stolen.

That is if my disk is encrypted and then backed up to a cloud, can I read these backed up files on a new computer (in case my old one gets stolen) or are these backed up files then lost because I don’t have the original disks they were encrypted on?

Or do I just need another computer with BitLocker and the original password I used to encrypt the first disk to read these backed up files?

Thanks.

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4 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Are you completely settled on Bit Locker? it was developed by Microsoft and is almost all proprietary (not open source) software. Microsoft has worked with NSA and other organizations in the past. Further, BitLocker is not impervious to hacking or decryption.

I have no specific recommendations to make to you – just that BitLocker is somewhat suspect from a security point of view.

jaytkay's avatar

Truecrypt is an extremely well-reviewed alternative to BitLocker in case you share @elbanditoroso‘s concerns.

Regarding the question: Are you backing up an image of the hard drive or backing up certain folders with something like Dropbox?

If you use something like Dropbox, the files stored in the cloud would be the same whether you use BitLocker or not. BitLocker decrypts everything on the fly for Dropbox (and every other program you use).

jerv's avatar

I’d go Truecrypt. It actually encrypts stuff, isn’t tied to a particular Windows install, and doesn’t have the backdoors.

orlando's avatar

@jaytkay, yes I’m using something like Dropbox (Backblaze real time online/cloud backup), so it’s not a backup image of the hard drive. If BitLocker decrypts everything on the fly then I think I’ll be fine. I didn’t know that.

@elbanditoroso and @jerv thanks, I’ll look into that.

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