BitLocker to Go is a new feature in Windows 7 that encrypts data on USB sticks or flash cards. So whenever you lose an USB stick with sensitive data on it, you can be sure that nobody can read the data. However, one downside of BitLocker to Go is that there is no version for other operating systems, like Windows XP. This somehow contradicts the function of BitLocker to Go, because many people use USB sticks to transfer data between different computers. However, those computers may run on different operating systems, e.g. Windows XP, and because of the limitation of BitLocker to Go in Windows 7, you are not able to transfer the data to these PCs.

However, if you just have to read the data from your USB stick on Windows XP or Vista, there is a simple solution for that limitation. It is called BitLocker to Go Reader and can be downloaded here. It is quite interesting that the tool does not need Windows XP Professional or Windows Vista Business to run since BitLocker to Go is only included in the Enterprise and Ultimate versions of Windows 7. Despite that, there is one other limitation: The tool only works with FAT file systems. So if you use NTFS on your USB sticks, you have to convert it to FAT before you can use them with BitLocker to Go Reader.

Once you have installed the application, it recognizes BitLocker-protected USB sticks and flash cards as soon as you plug them into the computer. You are automatically asked to enter the password for the device. After you have entered the correct password, you can access the encrypted data.

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  1. Jim 9 years ago

    Ehm, the Bitlocker-to-go reader is automatically included on Bitlocker-encrypted USB sticks (for XP/Vista). Not sure why you'd need to manually download it ...

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