I use a Dell Lattitude with a TPM. There are so many options in the BIOS though for passwords. I can set a System Password, Admin Password and even HDD-0 Password.

I can also use Bitlocker in Windows to encrypt an entire disk.

Which of these methods is the safest?

  • Given that you have a TPM, I'd recommend the use of BitLocker. Combine the TPM with a PIN or USB flash drive containing the key, and the drive's contents will not be accessible outside the computer or without the PIN or USB drive.
    – bwDraco
    Feb 17, 2016 at 16:58

1 Answer 1


The BIOS passwords have nothing to do with disk encryption.

  • System Password: This password is required of the user when the computer boots prior to loading the operating system. It prevents the computer from continuing to boot unless the password is entered.
  • Admin Password: This password is required when the user attempts to enter the BIOS configuration screen. It prevents the user from making changes to the BIOS settings without the password.
  • HDD-0 Password: This password is required of the user to allow the hard drive to function. The hard drive can be 'locked' to prevent it from being read from or written to without this password. This does not always encrypt the data on the drive!

None of these passwords do anything for Full Disk Encryption. You have to use something like Bitlocker Veracrypt for that.

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