We have talked about various types of encryption on this website, but still, some people got confused about the Difference Between BitLocker and Encryption File System?
BitLocker disc encryption is included in Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and 7, but it is not the only encryption method available. Windows also comes with an encryption technique known as the “encrypting file system,” or EFS. Here are some key differences between it and BitLocker.
What’s the Difference Between BitLocker and Encryption File System?
BitLocker is Full Disk Encryption
BitLocker is full-disk encryption software that encrypts the whole volume. When you install BitLocker, you will encrypt an entire disk, such as your Windows system partition, another partition on an internal drive, or even a partition on a USB flash drive or other external media.
Establishing an encrypted container file makes it possible to encrypt just a few files using BitLocker. On the other hand, this container file is effectively a virtual disk image, and BitLocker operates by treating it as a drive and encrypting the whole thing.
BitLocker is the way to go if you want to encrypt your hard drive to prevent critical data from getting into the wrong hands, particularly if your laptop is stolen. It will encrypt the whole disk, and you will no longer have to worry about which files are encrypted and which are not. The entire system will be encrypted.
This is independent of user accounts. When an administrator activates BitLocker, all user accounts on the PC have their data encrypted. BitLocker takes advantage of the computer’s trusted platform module, or TPM.
While “drive encryption” is more restricted in Windows 10 and 8.1, it functions identically on PCs that have it. It encrypts the whole disk as opposed to individual files.
EFS Encrypts Individual Files
EFS, or “encrypting file system,” operates differently. Instead of encrypting the whole disk, EFS encrypts individual files and folders one at a time. Whereas BitLocker is a “set it and forget it” solution, EFS needs you to manually pick and adjust the encryption settings for the files you wish to secure.
This is done using the File Explorer window. Open the Properties box, choose a folder or individual files, click the “Advanced” button under Attributes, and enable the “Encrypt contents to secure data” option.
This encryption is done per user. Files that have been encrypted can only be viewed by the user account that encrypted them.
How to select the right encryption for your organization? Click here to read more
The encryption is entirely apparent. If the user account that encrypted the files is logged in, they will view the files without needing to provide any extra credentials. The files will be inaccessible if another user’s account is logged in.
The encryption key is kept in the operating system rather than in the computer’s TPM hardware, and an attacker may be able to extract it.
Unless you additionally activate BitLocker, there is no full-drive encryption safeguarding those specific system data.
It is also conceivable that encrypted data may “leak” into unencrypted locations.
For example, if an application generates a temporary cache file after accessing an EFS-encrypted document containing sensitive financial information, the cache file, and associated sensitive data will be kept in an unencrypted folder.
Why You Should Use BitLocker and Not EFS
Because there are independent levels of encryption, it is possible to utilize both BitLocker and EFS simultaneously.
Even after encrypting your whole disk, Windows users will be able to activate the “Encrypt” property for files and folders. However, there isn’t much motivation to do so.
If you want encryption, BitLocker’s full-disk encryption is the way to go. This is not just a “set it and forget it” approach that you can activate once and then forget about, but it is also more secure.
When writing about encryption on Windows, we’ve tended to pass over EFS and instead focus on BitLocker as Microsoft’s answer. This is for a purpose. BitLocker’s full-disk encryption is much better than EFS, and if you want encryption, you should use BitLocker.
So, what is the point of EFS? One explanation is that it is an older Windows feature. BitLocker debuted with Windows Vista. EFS was first introduced in Windows 2000.
BitLocker may have hampered overall operating system speed at one time, while EFS would have been more lightweight. However, with relatively recent gear, this should not be the case.
Use BitLocker and disregard Windows’ EFS support. It is less of a headache to use and more secure.