ComTech: IT Support Stirling

Why Windows 8.1 drive encryption is not necessarily a good thing

ComTech: IT Support Stirling

I had a client last week who was interested in encrypting a Windows 8 laptop.  His personal choice was Truecrypt but he had read online that TrueCrypt does not support Windows 8. As it was not something I had been asked to do yet I told him I would do some research and get back to him.  This is when I came across drive encryption on Windows 8.1.

Basically it seems that Windows 8.1 comes with drive encryption turned on by default. The only thing you need to do is sign in with a Microsoft account (email address) and the feature will run automatically and store your encryption key on Microsofts servers .  On the face of it this sounds like a good idea.  There is one big downside to this new feature though and that is data recovery.

If you have a failing hard drive that is encrypted it is very difficult to get the data off as you have to decrypt it first.  If your hard drive is failing you may not have the time to decrypt it before you can get the data off.  This is where your backups come in and that is the big problem.  Most home users and too many small businesses don’t do them!!

I know way too many home users and small businesses who don’t bother with backups so a hard drive failure with Windows 8.1 could be costly indeed.  Who would get the blame for this? Microsoft of course.  Microsoft would get the blame for turning the feature on by default which of course would be ludicrous.  People need to start taking responsibility for their own actions and back up their data.

I agree that encrypted hard drives are a massive bonus when implemented alongside a sound backup strategy but I don’t agree it should be turned on by default.

You can of course turn it off (but most people don’t know its on in the first place) and if you update from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 you would have to turn it own.

So over to you guys. Backup your data or risk losing it.

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

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