Windows 11 provides users with a robust set of security features to safeguard their data. While the operating system doesn’t offer a native option to password-protect individual folders, you can leverage Windows’ built-in encryption tools to achieve a similar level of security. In this guide, you will learn how to Create a Password-Protected VHD Using BitLocker on Windows 11. Please see how to Integrate Jira Software with GitHub Cloud, How to convert VHDX file to VHD, and BitLocker System Partition: Detailed steps to troubleshoot and fix System Partition not available or large enough [Part 2].
By combining a virtual hard disk with BitLocker encryption, you can effectively protect your valuable files, important documents, and personal data from unauthorized access. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of setting up password protection for your folders on Windows 11. Please see the Complete Guide on TestRail as a Test Management Tool.
Steps to Password Protect a Folder with BitLocker in Windows 11
Please follow the steps below to create a Password-Protected VHD Using BitLocker on Windows 11.
Other related guides to read: How and where to find your BitLocker recovery key on Windows, How to Disable BitLocker on Windows 10, Reasons for BitLocker Recovery Mode Prompt, Unable to find my BitLocker Recovery Key, and How to Solve the error “Group Policy Settings for BitLocker Startup Options are in Conflict and cannot be Applied”
Step 1: Creating a Virtual Hard Disk
Type “diskmgmt.msc” in the Start menu and select Disk Management app from the search results.
In the Disk Management window, click on the “Action” menu, and then select “Create VHD” (Virtual Hard Disk).
Click the Browse button to choose a suitable location to store the virtual disk folder and give it a name (e.g., “Private_vault”).
Specify the amount of storage space you want to reserve for the virtual disk. The size will depend on the content you wish to protect (e.g., 2GB or more).
Optionally, select the VHDX format for the virtual hard disk, which provides better performance and reliability. Also, choose the “Dynamically expanding” option to allow the storage to grow as you add files. Click “OK” to create the virtual hard disk.
Please see how to Embed Microsoft Forms into Your Website Page, Master Your Sound Experience: How to Manage Audio Settings on Windows 11, and 3 Ways to Convert VMware VMs to Hyper-V.
Right-click on the newly created virtual disk and select “Initialize Disk.”
Choose the “MBR (Master Boot Record)” option and click “OK.”
Next, right-click on the “Unallocated space” and select “New Simple Volume.”
On the Welcome screen, click Next. On the Specify Volume Size, use the default settings for the volume size.
Assign a drive letter to the virtual space or leave the default settings.
In the Format Partition table, change the Volume label to the virtual disk name (e.g. Private_vault). Leave the other settings and click Next.
On the “Completing the New Simple Volume Wizard“, click Finish.
Please see “How to create and add a new virtual disk to a VM on VMware Workstation_oldPost“, and Initialize and format a virtual disk: How to add and remove a new virtual disk from a VM on VMware Workstation.
Step 2: Enabling BitLocker Encryption
Type “Manage BitLocker” in the Start menu and BitLocker from the search result.
Under the “Fixed data drives” section, locate and select the virtual hard disk named “Private_vault.” Click on the “Turn on BitLocker” option to enable encryption for the virtual disk.
Choose the “Use a password to unlock the drive” option and create a strong password. Ensure you save the recovery key to a secure location or link it to your Microsoft account for recovery options.
Select the “Encrypt used disk space only” option for faster encryption.
Click “Start encryption” to initiate the BitLocker encryption process.
Step 3: Locking and Unlocking Protected Folders
To unlock folders protected with a password, open File Explorer and navigate to the location containing the “Private_vault.vhd” file.
Double-click the “Private_vault.vhd” file to mount it as a virtual drive. You will be prompted to enter the password you set during the BitLocker setup.
Upon entering the correct password, the virtual drive will be unlocked, allowing you to access your important files and folders.
To lock the folder again, simply eject the virtual drive (BitLocker encrypted drive) from File Explorer.
If you want to disable BitLocker, read How to Disable BitLocker on Windows 10.
By following step-by-step guide, you can effectively protect your sensitive data with password encryption on Windows 11. The combination of a virtual hard disk and BitLocker encryption offers a secure and built-in solution to keep your valuable files safe from unauthorized access.
Remember to keep the password and recovery key secure, as losing them may result in permanent data loss. With this powerful encryption method, you can confidently protect your folders and maintain control over who can access your private data.
I hope you found this blog post helpful on how to Create a Password-Protected VHD Using BitLocker on Windows 11. Please let me know in the comment section if you have any questions.