Recently I added a new thin laptop to the fleet of Windows 7 laptop and workstations that I have in active use. The other devices run Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit with Bitlocker security encryption enabled. However I ran into a problem getting Bitlocker to work on the 64 bit version of Windows 7 Professional.
Yes I know I should not be using Windows and I also have plenty of iDevices and other Apple products lying around. Likewise to the security pros and security arm-chair quarterbacks I know I should not be using Bitlocker, instead using Truecrypt of which I have done some testing and may migrate too in the future along with self-encrypting device (SED). However lets stay on track here ;).
The problem that I ran into with my new Lenovo X1 was that it came with Windows 7 Professional 64 bit, which has a few surprises when trying to turn on Bitlocker drive encryption. Initializing and turning on the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) management was not a problem, however for those needing to figure out how to do that, check out this Microsoft TechNet piece.
The problem was as simple as not having a tab and easy way to enable Bitlocker Drive Encryption with Windows 7 Professional 64 bit. After spending some time searching around various Microsoft and other sites to figure out how to hack, patch, script and do other things that would take time (and time is money), it dawned on me. Could the solution to the problem be as simple as upgrading from the Professional version of Windows 7 bit to Windows 7 Ultimate?
Once the transaction was complete, the update was automatically and within minutes I had Bitlocker activated on the Lenovo X1 (TPM was previously initiated and turned on), a new key was protected and saved elsewhere, and the internal Samsung 830 256GB Solid State Device (SSD) initializing and encrypting. Oh, fwiw, yes the encryption of the 256GB SSD took much less time than on a comparable Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or even an HHDD (Hybrid HDD).
Could I have saved the $139.21 and spent some time on work around? Probably, however as I did not have the time or interest to go that route, however IMHO for my situation it was a bargain.
Sometimes spending a little money particular if you are short on or value, your time can be a bargain as opposed to if you are short on money however long on time.
I found the same to be true when I replaced the internal HDD that came with the Lenovo X1 with a Samsung 256GB SSD in that it improved my productivity for writing and saving data. For example in the first month of use I estimate easily 2 to three minutes of time saved per day waiting on things to be written to HDDs. In other words 2 to three minutes times five days (10 to 15 minutes) times four weeks (40 to 60 minutes) starts to add up (e.g. small amounts or percentages spread over a large interval add up), more on using and justifying SSD in a different post.
If your time is not of value or you have a lot of it, then the savings may not be as valuable. On the other hand, if you are short on time or have a value on your time, you can figure out what the benefits are quite quickly (e.g. return on investment or traditional ROI).
The reason I bring the topic of time and money into this discussion about Bitlocker is to make a point that there are situations where spending some time has value such as for learning, the experience, fun or simple entertainment aspect, not to mention a shortage of money. On the other hand, sometimes it is actually cheaper to spend some money to get to the solution or result as part of being productive or effective. For example, other than spending some time browsing various sites to figure out that there was an issue with Windows 7 Professional and Bitlocker, time that was educational and interesting, the money spent on the simple upgrade was worth it in my situations.
Ok, nuff said for now