Two drives are connected to a computer. One via a SATA-to-USB interface, the other directly via a SATA-to-eSATA cable.

The drive on USB appears as a removable drive, the drive on eSATA appears as a fixed drive. Both use NTFS.

The USB drive offers Bitlocker-To-Go, the eSATA drive only offers BitLocker.


It is my understanding that drives encrypted with BitLocker-To-Go include an app to allow Windows XP read-only access to the volume. Is this the only difference, and is there a way to use Bitlocker-To-Go on the eSATA drive?


Another difference is found here:

The recovery key is required when a BitLocker-protected fixed data drive configured for automatic unlocking is moved to another computer.[1]

Assuming that does not apply to removable drives.

  • From my understanding Windows XP does not support Bitlocker in any fashion.
    – Ramhound
    Oct 2, 2012 at 17:37
  • I presume that "Install Windows 8" is not an option? Oct 7, 2012 at 22:05

2 Answers 2


1) No, it is not the only difference. Fixed Bitlocker drives also have the option to automatically unlock if the OS drive is also encrypted. Removable drives must always be unlocked by using a password or smartcard.

2) I suspect if you apply this hotfix, windows will recognise the drive as a removable drive, and allow you to use Bitlocker to go. I don't think Windows will allow you to install Bitlocker to go on a drive it recognises as fixed. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/979344.

  • 1. Hmm, you're right. Perhaps the difference is that for fixed drives, there is no password needed if they are tied to the encryped OS drive, whereas for removable, you must at least type it once for each machine you connect it to. E.g. for a fixed drive tied to OS drive, if you move it, it will require the recovery key, not prompt for a password. 2. What does it recognise as removable? In your question you stated "the drive on eSATA appears as a fixed drive". Oct 3, 2012 at 7:53
  • Have you installed the hotfix and tried again?. Also can you not just set up up while connected via USB, if that is your objective? Oct 3, 2012 at 16:21
  • Why don't you try it and let us know? :-) You could make a small partition to experiment with, so it doesn't take hours to encrypt the drive. Oct 4, 2012 at 9:10

I encrypted one USB hard drive with bitlocker. Removed the HDD from the case and install it in a windows 7 bitlocker protected computer.

In the first boot, the windows OS doesn't allow any access to the drive, and a message indicating I need to restart the pc appears.

I restarted the pc, and now the OS is asking me for the password. So now I have access to the removable bitlocker to go drive as a fixed drive, with no issues.

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