Surface 3 drive encryption in Win 8.1

Discussion in 'Surface 3 (Atom)' started by jace88, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. jace88

    jace88 Member

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    I was just thinking my other devices (eg iPhone, Macbook, work PC) all have full drive encryption available/enabled but I could not figure out if it's possible to enable this on my Surface 3 which is running the non pro version of Windows 8.1.

    Is this possible without me having to buy anything else? I remember I used to have access to BitLocker on my other PC but I don't think this feature is available in the non pro versions of Windows 8. Seems a bit odd that MS doesn't include it when every other major OS seems to include encryption for storage locations out of the box.
     
  2. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The Surface 3 C: drive is encrypted by default as was the Surface 2 and the RT as well.
     
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  3. jace88

    jace88 Member

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    Is there any way for me to prove or check this on Surface 3? I note the icon in My Computer shows an unlocked padlock.
     
  4. jace88

    jace88 Member

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    Hmm after playing around in Control Panel I did notice the option for "Device encryption" which appears to be on as it mentioned my recovery key could be printed or saved to a file.

    Also appears to be confirmed that Device Encryption is enabled in the PC Info section of PC and devices under PC settings. Interestingly the help file references Windows RT though!
     
  5. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Look at the drive in the Disk Management tool. should see bitlocker encrypted.

    Also the unlocked Padlock in explorer indicates encryption also. if it was locked you wouldn't be able to access it or even boot.
     
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  6. netuser

    netuser Member

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    I don't think the drive is encrypted "by default."
    You need to first log into the Surface using a Microsoft account with administrator access and then save the recovery key to One Drive.
     
  7. malberttoo

    malberttoo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Correct. If you initially sign in with a Microsoft account, bitlocker is enabled automatically. If you sign in with a local account, then you have to enable bitlocker manually, and of course you'd want to manually back up the recovery key somewhere.
     
  8. jace88

    jace88 Member

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    Thanks guys. Turns out I was able to use my Windows 8 Pro key to add new features to my Surface 3 so now I have BitLocker enabled on my memory card too.
     
  9. netuser

    netuser Member

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    There is no bitlocker to enable on 8.1 Core. There is only a different version of drive encryption that requires a Microsoft account. You must log in with a Microsoft account with administrator privileges to activate device encryption on 8.1 Core.
    You need 8.1 Pro to enable bitlocker encryption and that works with or without a Microsoft account.
     
  10. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    You may be technically correct but even your statement is self contradictory. if you encrypt the drive with RT and it calls it bitlocker whatever it is in implementation is just a marketing bastardization of the same code.
     
  11. netuser

    netuser Member

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    The main thing is that there is no option to enable this other type of encryption without a Microsoft account with admin privileges on the Surface and you are forced to save the recovery data to OneDrive.
    With Bitlocker, you can enable it even if you never use a Microsoft account and you can save the recovery to a USB stick or anywhere else you want without giving it to Microsoft, but it requires 8.1 Pro.
     
  12. jace88

    jace88 Member

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    My Device:
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    Isn't "Device Encryption" under Win 8.1 the same thing as bitlocker but without any flexibility and limited to the OS drive?

    And yes when I installed 8.1 Pro, it changed from being Device Encryption to BitLocker.
     

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