Encrypting Information

Windows 7 provides the following encryption tools for preventing the loss of confidential data:

• Encrypting File System (EFS) encodes your files so that even if someone is able to obtain the files, he or she won't be able to read them . The files are readable only when you log on to the computer using your user account (which, presumably, you have protected with a strong password). In fact, even someone else logging on to your computer won't have access to your encrypted files, a feature that provides protection on systems that are shared by more than one user.

• BitLocker Drive Encryption, introduced with Windows Vista, provides another layer of protection by encrypting entire hard-disk volumes . By linking this encryption to a key stored in a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) or USB flash drive, BitLocker reduces the risk of data being lost when a computer is stolen, or when a hard drive is stolen and placed in another computer A thief's standard approach in these situations is to boot into an alternate operating system and then try to retrieve data from the stolen computer or drive With BitLocker Drive Encryption, that type of offline attack is effectively neutered

• BitLocker To Go, new in Windows 7, extends BitLocker encryption to removable media, such as USB flash drives

EFS is available on systems running Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate/Enterprise. Encrypting a drive using BitLocker or BitLocker To Go requires Ultimate/Enterprise edition . You can use a flash drive encrypted with BitLocker To Go in any edition of Windows 7 .

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