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Using the Free Windows Encryption Tool in Windows 10

Today we are talking about Bitlocker the free built-in Windows encryption tool. How it works and how to enable it on your system.

Windows encryption tool
Windows encryption tool

Starting with Windows Vista, Microsoft included Bitlocker for the Pro and Enterprise versions of its operating system. Bitlocker is Microsoft’s solution to drive encryption that is easy to use and just as easy to manage. As the vast majority of users have a Home version of Microsoft Windows 10, access to Bitlocker is restricted by a paywall or OS version upgrade. There is still an alternative in the form of a Windows encryption tool for Home edition that is more rudimentary but more on that later.

How Does Bitlocker Work?

Bitlocker can be used on any computer using Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise. To use it to encrypt entire drives, a TPM chip needs to be present on the motherboard of the computer. The TPM chip or Trusted Platform Module allows for authentication checks on installed hardware, being capable of detecting unauthorized changes. Bitlocker requires access to TPM but it is possible to use Bitlocker without it by editing the Group Policy.

The way Bitlocker works are straight forward. It encrypts entire drives or partitions. It cannot encrypt just folders. Once encrypted, access to the files is only possible with a PIN code or the recovery key which is stored into a file during the setup.

Enabling Bitlocker onto a Drive or Partition

In Windows 10, encrypting an entire drive or partition is very simple.

  • Go to the search bar and type Bitlocker. The search results should list “Manage Bitlocker” as one of the options. Click “Manage Bitlocker”
  • A new window will appear in the form of a wizard. Click on “Turn on Bitlocker”.
  • Bitlocker will check your system configuration to determine if it is compatible. If you have TPM on your system and it is enabled, it will ask for access to it.
  • You will then be prompted to select the drive or partition that you wish to encrypt. Select the drive and click Next.
  • Bitlocker will ask you to set a password or PIN for the encrypted drive. If this is the drive you have Windows 10 installed on, you will be requested to enter the password every time you start your computer.
  • Once the password is set, Bitlocker will ask you to save a recovery key. The recovery key is saved in the form of a file and it is recommended to store it onto a secure flash drive. It can also be printed or written down by hand.
  • You will be asked to choose if you want to encrypt only the files on the drive, without the free space or the entire drive. Choose the appropriate option.
  • Bitlocker will start encrypting the drive. It will take a while. Once done, restart your computer to finish the process.

Bitlocker encryption tool

Bitlocker is just as secure as any other encryption tool. The Windows encryption tool is quite minimalistic in terms of management and configuration options which makes it a viable choice for the ones that may not be tech-savvy or do not wish to pay for a third-party encryption solution. Windows 10 Home edition does not have Bitlocker but it does have “device encryption” which does almost the same thing. However, the Windows encryption tool in Home edition is less secure since it does not require a password. It only protects your data in the sense that it prohibits access to your files if the hard drive or SSD is used on a different computer.

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Windows Host File

The Windows host file has several uses that include blocking, redirecting and creating shortcuts to websites keep on and continue reading more on Windows Host File For Beginners in here.

Domain names are a common way for people to access websites. Most times, people who surf the web can use a website’s domain name to gain access to it.

Internet applications, however, do not use domain names and instead connect to sites via their IP addresses. As a result, when you input a target domain name on your system, your it has to change to an IP address to connect successfully.

In the modern world, the resolving of hostnames or domain names to their IP address is done by the Domain Name Server (DNS). Before the invention of DNS however, hosts file were used to solve this problem. The significant difference between the two is the host file can be directly controlled or edited locally by the computer user, while the DNS cannot.

The host file was used on older computer models to achieve domain to IP mapping. It is however still present on several devices today including computers and androids. It is a text file that can easily be edited using Notepad and other text editing apps but it does not carry the txt file extension.

What is the Purpose of Host File?

The Windows host file has several uses that include blocking, redirecting and creating shortcuts to websites to mention a few. It ultimately serves as a means for converting human language (domain names) to numeric addresses (IP address) that can be understood by the computer network.

By editing the host file, you can connect a domain name to an IP address, and also modify a domain name to whatever version of the name you want. The host file is sometimes the target of viruses and redirects users to a website to increase its traffic without their consent.

What is the Content of the Host File?

The host file comprises of lines of IP addresses found in the first text field and accompanied by hostname(s). White spaces separate the fields and are created using the spacebar or Tab can also be used to separate fields. Comment lines can be added using a hash symbol (#) in the first position of such lines, and completely blank lines in the file are overlooked. Sometimes several host names can be linked to an IP address. In this case, the hostname is resolved to both IPv4 and IPv6 IP addresses.

For example, a hosts file may contain the following: localhost loopback

::1 localhost

Where is the Windows Host File Location?

The host file is located in windows\system32\drivers\etc\, for Windows Xp and Windows 7. If you cannot find it on your computer, you may need to enable the “view hidden files” feature to see it.

The host file can be a helpful tool if you gain a proper understanding of how to use it. You can customize Domain Name Resolution to suit your needs. You can also block off harmful programs from your computer.

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