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Security Folks out there: Free alternative to BitLocker

July 10th, 2008 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Bitlocker was introduced when Vista was in the works, and Bitlocker became one of Microsoft’s key feature in pushing Windows Vista to the corporate customers.

For the people who doesn’t know what Bitlocker is: Bitlocker is a drive encryption technology by Microsoft. Unlike EFS (Encrypted File System) which is a file level encryption technology, Bitlocker will encrypt the entire disk or volume or partition. OS and data files would be encrypted.

The bad news is, Bitlocker comes only in Windows Vista Business/Enterprise/Ultimate editions…

If you need a full disk encryption but do not have the $$$ to purchase any of the above Windows Vista license, introducing – TrueCrypt 6.

TrueCrypt 6 is a full disk encryption just like Bitlocker, but it can do more than Bitlocker (sorry Microsoft!). Depending on the password that you input during the bootup, TrueCrypt will load the respective operating system the password corresponds to. So if you are being “knife-pointed” and was asked for your OS password, you can provide the thelf/attacker the password to load a not-so-important-operating system. Savvy?

TrueCrypt 6 Creating a volume in TrueCrypt

So how is it better/worse than Bitlocker? Here is my breakdown:

Pros of TrueCrypt:

– Much more flexible/More options VS Bitlocker: Simple straightforward wizard
– Different password to load different OS VS Bitlocker: Can only protect one OS/Not so straightforward if 2 or more OSes need to be protected.
– Type of encryption can be specified VS Bitlocker: Microsoft sets the Encryption for you.
– Protect/Hide different volumes VS Bitlocker: Not supported…

Cons of TrueCrypt:

– Too many options – Normal users tend to stay away VS Bitlocker: Straightforward process.
– Not easy/Not hard to setup VS Bitlocker: Easy to setup if using Bitlocker Drive Preparation Tool.

So which one do you prefer? Which is better? Why? Have your say!

Posted in Security | 2 Comments »

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 10th, 2008 at 6:03 pm and is filed under Security. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses

  1. tnetech Says:

    I find it very hard to understand the logic of Microsoft sometimes. Why put this type of protection only into the most expensive version of the worst OS they have developed (well except for ME) Why would they not want everyone to benefit.
    I hate to get on the Linux bandwagon (especially at MSBlog) but it comes with what you need, it is tailored for what the users requires – they just need to know what that is.
    Anyway this sounds like a brilliant program. One certain worth a look!

  2. Jabez Gan [MVP] Says:

    Well, if Microsoft includes BitLocker into the cheapest Windows Vista, MS won’t able to push Business/Ultimate to users. BitLocker is one of the key features of Business/Ultimate and it’s more to an Enterprise feature.

    Furthermore I don’t think normal home users would enable BitLocker on their laptop – only savvy users will.

    For savvy people like you and me, TrueCrypt is a good program. But I don’t think normal users would even install TrueCrypt.