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on my previous laptop I ran Windows 7 with TrueCrypt to encrypt my entire harddisk (There was only one in that laptop).

The reason I do this is because I create software for multiple clients and that is all on my laptop, and I don't want the clients' sources free-to-take when my laptop gets stolen.

Besides that I also don't want my Email and auto-logged-on sites al available when my laptop gets stolen.

So here I am with my bright new laptop, running Windows 8.1, and thinking about running Bitlocker (with the 'closing' of TrueCrypt taht sounded safe). I read that Bitlocker is only on the PRO edition of Windows, so I bought 8.1 PRO. When trying to run Bitlocker, It seemed my laptop didn't have a required 'TPM' chip, whatever it may be.

So I read about DiskCrypter, but that doesn't seem to work very well with Windows 8.1

So I decided to go back to the latest version of TrueCrypt, to have at least something. And now I run the disk-encryption, and I get the message 'Your system has a GUID partition table. We don't support that'. Don't have a clue what it means, but that's the third one not working.

Do I have any alternatives?

Am I the only one caring about encrypting my drive when I carry my laptop around or did I just buy the only laptop without a 'TPM' chip?

PS

I'm not concerned with the NSA sneeking in, just about 'normal' laptop thiefs looking at my laptops' harddisk

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  • Your alternative is Bitlocker. You could format your computer and not use GPT partitions then you could use Truecrypt.
    – Ramhound
    Jul 23, 2014 at 19:26
  • @Ramhound but Bitlocker needed a TPM chip?
    – Michel
    Jul 23, 2014 at 19:27
  • @Ramhound: what consequences does that have, 'not use GPT partitions'?
    – Michel
    Jul 23, 2014 at 19:27
  • I suggest you read about the limitations of MBR and GPT yourself so you have a better understanding of them yourself. You provided us no information about the hardware. Its possible it does support TPM but is simply disabled. Most hardware sold since Windows 7's release actually does have TPM hardware. Now the newer hardware support TPM 1.2 which stores the key in the hardware's firmware itself. There are also two kinds of encrypt in Windows 8. The first Bitlocker the second is "Device Encryption" which only really only applies to Windows 8 OEM products.
    – Ramhound
    Jul 23, 2014 at 19:31
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    @Michel The TPM usually comes with the motherboard. Check the OEM documentation for your laptop to see if it has one, but I highly doubt it does - it's still pretty rare in consumer-grade and even prosumer-grade models. It generally starts becoming an option when you look at models designed for business, enterprise, or government use.
    – Iszi
    Jul 24, 2014 at 18:28

1 Answer 1

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You can use BitLocker without TPM. How-To Geek wrote about this recently, and I'm sure there's probably a few questions around SuperUser about it as well.

You'll need to be doing this on a computer where you have Administrator access, and settings are not liable to be overwritten by a domain policy.

  1. Run gpedit.msc.
  2. Navage to Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\BitLocker Drive Encryption\Operating System Drives\
  3. Double-click "Require additional authentication at startup".
  4. Select "Enabled" and "Allow BitLocker without a compatible TPM".
  5. Click "OK".

From here, you go back to the normal BitLocker setup process. During the process you will be given options for how you want to unlock the drive. Standard options are to configure a USB drive as a key, or to set a password - you probably want the latter. Then, you'll be given a recovery key. Make sure to copy the recovery key to external media (USB drive that's not your primary key, paper, etc.) and keep it well protected. This will be necessary in case your primary unlocking method becomes unusable (e.g.: forgotten password or broken USB key) but, if it is compromised, it could allow an attacker to have access to your data.

After this, BitLocker setup proceeds normally.

A side-note about TPM chips: These are generally rare in consumer-grade computers. They are available in business-class models, which consumers can generally still purchase if they're willing to seek them out, but those are usually more expensive.

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    Original Microsoft documentatation at technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831507.aspx#BKMK_NoTPM. With Windows 8.1 you can save the recovery key to your Microsoft Account. This removes the lost recovery key problem. Jul 23, 2014 at 20:52
  • THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I realy realy needed my encryption, and was realy inconvenienced without my TrueCrypt, so I am REALY happy with your answer. As you might have guessed by now, it worked :-)
    – Michel
    Jul 26, 2014 at 16:34

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