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Oct 24 2022 07:00 AM - Oct 27 2022 12:00 PM (PDT)

How do you enable hardware bitlocker?

New Contributor

I am aware that Microsoft doesn't trust SED manufacturers with their implementation of hardware crypto so changed the default in build 1903 onwards to software. Ever since 1903, I have had zero luck enabling hardware bitlocker, even when forcing encryption in GPO.

 

It has gotten worse over the years, hardware manfucatures are disabling CSM altogether in BIOS, so using their erase tools don't work anymore. Samsung SecureErase for instance. Though I found an alternative, Lenovo Secure Wipe which is in the BIOS. Even using the Shift+F10 during install to do a diskpart clean. And Microsoft besides defaulting to software for bitlocker, now does auto Device Encryption at first install which blows any chance of updating GPO and enabling hardware bitlocker because hardware bitlocker is a onetime enablement, if it fails, there is no retry, if software gets used, there is no decrypt and then encrypt with hardware, which is leaving me going through a workarounds, unattend.xml file though what I found easiest is simply doing shift+f10 and doing a reg add PreventDeviceEncryption which seems to do the trick to stop Windows auto enabling Device Encryption during install.

 

However, with last two generations of hardware, all my workarounds have come to an end and I'm at a loss on how to enable hardware bitlocker in Windows 11. Prior to X1 Carbon Gen 9 and P1 Gen 4, I was able to get hardware bitlocker working by installing 1803 first, enabling hardware encryption and then upgrading to latest. However on more modern hardware, this is just impossible.

 

I have two laptops, P1 Gen 3 and P1 Gen 4. The P1 Gen 3 I can enable hardware bitlocker just fine, using a Samsung 980 Pro. I have the exact same NVME in the P1 Gen 4 and no matter what, it won't work.

 

Here are my steps so far...

 

  1. Install Windows 11

  2. Download Samsung Magician

  3. Flip the switch to Enable Device Encryption

  4. Shut down

  5. Power on, F12 and select Lenovo Secure Wipe, I have tried NVME Crypto Key reset, ATA Crypto Key reset, basically all options through various attempts

  6. F12 again, selected Windows 11 USB install

  7. After initial boot, before selecting the disk I tried Shift+F10 for command prompt and did a diskpart clean to be super sure

  8. After the inititial, installing Windows 11, reboots and brings up the first of two installations processes. The first is selecting country and naming device, at this time I do a Shift+F10 and Reg Add PreventDeviceEncryption to prevent auto encryption

  9. I do a manage-bde -status and double check there is no encryption

  10. After adding the device name, Windows reboots, at this point F1 to enter the BIOS and I go to Security and Disable "Block SID Authentication". This is something that I found exists on the X1 Carbon Gen 9 and P1 Gen 4 but not on the X1 Carbon Gen 8 nor P1 Gen 3 and some reading suggests that to use hardware OPAL you need to Disable this, it's per boot disabled, rearms

  11. I complete windows installation, I have tried both online account and offline account, so neither option makes a difference

  12. After first login, I check manage-bde again to make sure status is decrypted

  13. If that still shows decrypted I move on to GPO and change bitlocker for both fixed disks and OS drive to enable hardware bitlocker and disable software fallback. This way I get immediate feedback if hardware isn't being used

  14. I then open Bitlocker UI and enable it for Drive C and I immediately get, Bitlocker failed and unable to revert to software. So this tells me there is a problem.

  15. I have used the CMD as well, manage-bde -on C and I have tried the -fet hardware which is I beleive deprecated

  16. I then install Samsung Magician and check the status of the 980 Pro is still set to Device Encryption On and waiting for activation.

 

Note, I have even toggled Power Management option in BIOS from Windows to Linux to break modern standby which is a requirement for Device Encryption however the I'm back to, the minute I turn it on and log in I get auto enabled.

 

Summary, I have TPM, I have flipped the bit to enable drive encryption, I have set the drive to unitialized state, I have disabled auto drive encryption using reg key, I have setup GPO.

 

I have tried 1803 on the P1 Gen 4 I have tried lastest version for Win 10 and I have tried latest version of Win 11.

 

Again, I understand there are flaws in some SSD/NVME drives with their hardware crypto implementation, but there are vendors who don't pose a risk. I find that because of a few bad actors the entire hardware crypto for bitlocker has been nuked from existence and it's frustrating. All documentation says it's supported yet in reality it's not. Source: Encrypted Hard Drive (Windows) - Windows security | Microsoft Docs

 

I feel like the choice is being taken aware and I just have to accept software bitlocker. From a performance standpoint, software bitlocker isn't the same as hardware, for both Seq and Random. The P1 Gen 3 with PCIe 3 hardware bitlocker runs perf wise faster then P1 Gen 4 PCIe 4 software bitlocker.

 

Love to hear from the community and ideally from MS, most talk about enabling hardware for second drive or the info is stale. My question is, how do you enable hardware bitlocker in Windows 11 on primary OS drive using supported hardware? Laptop that meets requirements, NVME that meets requirements and OS that meets requirements.

 

Also, can we please get better debugging for bitlocker, event logs show nothing, error messages show nothing, it's literally a blackbo interaction with bitlocker.

4 Replies
Hi. I'm in a similar situation. I have a P14s Gen 2 and am also trying to get hardware encryption working on my 980 Pro. Did you make any progress in getting to a solution?

@beneath I'm yet to get anything insightful from Microsoft Support. After spending more time debugging this on my own, I have come up with a solution which is working for me right now.

 

Using a windows 2 go setup, I was able try out different options and what I found works is disabling the "Block SID Authentication" BIOS option before each boot. 

 

Maybe it's an overkill but I didn't want to spend more time trying to find out the exact right time to do it so I simply entered the BIOS on each reboot and disabled the "Block SID Authentication". 

 

Same steps as above, however, I added a GPEdit, enable hardware encryption and disabled software fallback, step right after the reg add HKEY step. 

 

I was able to enable hardware based encryption for bitlocker. I didn't do any further checks to see if just setting up GPO for hardware encryption would cause Device Encryption to use hardware encryption. 

 

At this point, I have hardware bitlocker working and will call it a day. Maybe someone else wants to spend some more time seeing what other permutations will work.

@Ergii1984Thnks. At the moment I've fallen back to using drive encryption at the bios level using a hard drive password. If i ever find myself having enough time to kill I'll try your method.

please help
how get bitlocker key , with APM, device name , etc
thanks