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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    In Windows 7, is Bitlocker Disk Encryption compatible with Disk Imaging programs?

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    From everything I could find, first the Win 7 Bitlocker is in an early stage of development and should get better as time goes on. Second bitlocker does make imaging more difficult. Several articles similar to this show some of the problems. A Google search does list many articles to explore.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Du View Post
    In Windows 7, is Bitlocker Disk Encryption compatible with Disk Imaging programs?
    Even though this article talks about Vista it should still be applicable to WIndows 7 - The Storage Team at Microsoft - File Cabinet Blog : Complete PC Backup (Vista and Vista SP1) / Windows Server Backup (Longhorn Server) and BitLocker FAQ.

    Also, see the bitlocker links at Windows Security - 7, Vista, XP | Group Policy, UAC, IE | TechNet.

    Joe
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    I guess I am still confused after reading those articles (what I could only understand partially anyhow). They mention that Disk Imaging is difficult when using Bitlocker. So, does this mean it is not doable for a home user that takes his computer on the road? What I want to do is have my computer secure if it gets lost, but still be able to back it up by imaging, and, if something goes wrong after an install, just reapply the image. Is this possible? I guess I have some questions if it is.
    1) If image an encrypted drive, is the data in the image encrypted or unencrypted (since the drive is unencrypted when you are using it)?
    2) If I image an encrypted drive, then change my password, then restore the image. Would I use my old password, or new one?

    Is this even possible or is there a better solution (I.e. Can I just encrypt a folder and all subfolders but not the entire partition or disk with bitlocker)? If so, would this solve the imaging problem?

    Sorry for all the questions.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    It appears that a bitlocked drive will have to be imaged sector by sector. (See this article about Symantec Ghost on bitlocked drives.) In a normal image, only the used space is imaged, not the unused space. This will make the image on a bitlocked drive the same size as the whole drive, which is much larger than a normal drive image. What this means is that before imaging if you disable bitlocker, run your image, then re-enable bitlocker, then the image will be much smaller. If your disk becomes so corupted that you have to use your image to reload the OS, then it will not be bitlocked until you re-enable bitlocker since your best avenue would be to format and start the OS from scratch using your image, which is an image of the non-bitlocked drive.

    This article has some links to using bitlocker in Win 7.

    So I guess in summation, disable bitlocker, image drive, re-enable bitlocker for the cleanest, smallest image.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Du View Post
    I guess I am still confused after reading those articles (what I could only understand partially anyhow). They mention that Disk Imaging is difficult when using Bitlocker.

    Is this even possible or is there a better solution (I.e. Can I just encrypt a folder and all subfolders but not the entire partition or disk with bitlocker)? If so, would this solve the imaging problem?
    It does not mean it can't be done. It just means you have to be careful. BitLocker Drive Encryption has links to quite a few articles. The "Getting Started" and "Design and Deployment" sections would probably be of the most interest.

    Also, you might be able to find some answers at Windows 7 Security Forum.

    Joe
    Joe

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