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What Is Device Encryption in Windows 11 & 10, and How Does It Protect You?

As the name suggests, Device encryption in Windows 11 & 10 devices secures your hard drive data from unwarranted and unauthorized access.

Technically, according to Microsoft, when you sign in routinely into your Windows device, your data still has protections, except it’s safeguarded by the ones that come along with the operating system. This works behind the scenes, so it’s not a feature we can visually see.

But, what happens when someone removes your hard drive, for instance, and tries to get access to the data inside it — by attaching it to their computer?

Enter Device Encryption in Windows

The removal of a hard drive and trying to see what’s inside — by connecting to another computer is more of a common occurrence than you’d think. Of course, in the majority of the cases, this is to share information while being aware of what’s going on. Say, for example, two friends are involved in such an activity.

Having that stated, computer thefts are real too. So anyone with malicious intent can steal your laptop, remove your hard drive, and get a looksie.

How Windows Device Encryption Shields Your Data

Microsoft anticipated such a scenario and installed a security measure called “Device encryption” in systems running Windows 11 or 10.

The way device encryption works is that it encrypts your hard drive. As a result, if anyone with unsanctioned permission & access levels attempts to gain access to it, they would need a decryption key to unlock the data — which they wouldn’t have, as it’s not their hard drive.

How To Check if I Have Device Encryption in My Windows 11

To see if your system meets the prerequisites to have Device Encryption enabled, you’d have to open the “System Information” tool as an administrator.

To do so, search for ‘system information’ in the start menu.

opening system information in Windows 11
As shown, search for system information first.

Next, right-click on the app name and select Run as administrator.

opening system information in Windows 11 as an administrator
Then, run it as an administrator.

Finally, scroll all the way down to a row named “Device Encryption Support.” If the value/answer for it is Meets prerequisites, then that’s proof that your Windows 11 device has that security safeguard available.

proof that device encryption is available in Windows 11
Proof that Device encryption is available in Windows 11.

How To Turn On Device Encryption in Windows 11

Device encryption in Windows 11 is located at: Main Settings > Privacy & security > Device Encryption.

Once you’re on that page, there would be a toggle switch to either turn it on or off. (See image screenshot below for reference).

turning on device encryption in Windows 11
Turning on Device encryption in Windows 11.

You May Also Want to Check Out:

BitLocker Is Different Than Device Encryption

Folks running home editions of Windows 11 or 10 will not have BitLocker protection. As per Microsoft, it is only supported on those running Pro, Enterprise, or Education OS versions.

However; fret not, as device encryption is an inherent part of other Windows 11 or 10 editions — dependent on the build/version. If you aren’t sure, then check if you have it, as discussed in this post via the System Information.

(While what’s shown here demonstrates how to check in Windows 11, the process should be very similar for Windows 10).

In all likelihood, the chances of having device encryption are high, especially if you recently purchased a Windows device with Windows 11.

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