Ever saw this screen? Ever tried to tear out the HDD from this laptop and only find a 1.5GB partition oj junk and other partition totally worthless? This is what you had been paying for if you are using Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate and Enterprise. This is Bitlocker.
Encryption is nothing new. Bitlocker uses AES and AES is nothing new either. WPA2 uses AES (as one of the mode or THIP as the other). Its reasonably tested. Bitlocker uses a 2nd authentication other than your regular password. It can be TPM which some laptop comes with (for a high price) and almost nobody knows what its all about or a simple USB pen drive.
Now, using a USB token is nothing new either. PGP has already got USB token. The main differences is this. Bitlocker uses ANY USB pen drive or USB media. It can be a flash card or a USB HDD as long as your BIOS can regconize it at boot time. Now thats now hard to find nowadays. My desktop regconise all my USB devices including mouses, keyboards etc. Of course, Bitlocker is not suitable for desktop, at least not in the common sense.
Before I proceed, here are some good link as to what is Bitlocker about :
And apparently, the only know issue with Bitlocker (in theroey since it applied to Mac only) :
Now, I would say its relatively safe to use. Only issue is that you are not suppose to keep your pen drive with your laptop. Thats wil lalso makes the TPM (without password) looks silly since its together with the laptop. It might be a good idea to get one of those ultra thin and ultra fast pen drive which you may double as your Vista ReadyBoost drive. This you can keep seperate from your laptop.
Receovery may be an issue, but I seriously doubt it. There is a post saying that if you motherboard fries and you changed one, it automatically disvalidates your Vista. Firstly I disagree. you will be forced to activate your Vista. that's true, but unless the version inside is reinstalled as some other version, its is still Vista Ultimate but unvalidated. Welcome unless some really made that happens, I kinda believe this is urban legend.
By now you should be able to tell that its quite pointless to use this on a Desktop, althought nobody can stop you. Microsoft claims a 1-9% CPU load only, but its still a drag and for desktop, the chance of it getting stolen is much much reduced.
Whatever the situation is, as long as you safekeep and backup your key and recovery keys, I guess you are in good shape. the only thing this doesn't prevent is you losing your laptop. :)
In the next post, I will introduce some way to install Bitlocker. Trust me, its so much easier now than compared with trying it in RC2.