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What are the pros and cons of a Bitlocker encrypted VHD vs encrypted partition? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have vainly been searching for an answer on the above question. Most tutorials and/or forum threads are about 'How to...' but hardly about the 1st step : the decision what type to use, VHD or partition.

    One might claim that a VHD can be copied, which could be handy in case of a setting up a new pc.
    OTOH I am not sure whether copying a 200-300GB VHD to an external USB drive will be success. Maybe, after some hours of copying it will run into some cryptic error?

    A valid argument in favour of VHD may be that a VHD could be smaller than the partition it is residing on: there is still some free space left for other uses. An encrypted partition means the entire partition is 'gone' , i.e. there is no free space left for matters that not necessarily need to be 'protected'.

    Are there any other pros and cons of a Bitlocker encrypted VHD over a Bitlocker encrypted partition / drive?

    Thanks!


    Saturday, August 17, 2019 7:35 AM

Answers

  • Hi,

    A VHD is a file you can create that acts like a physical hard drive, and the encryption process renders the data unreadable to anyone attempting to access it without the proper key.  This provides an additional layer of security by allowing you to encrypt and store sensitive files in a virtual partition. Windows 10 also has a newer VHDX file format which has additional features like an increased size limit (up to 64 TB) and helping to protect against data corruption due to power failures.

    The VHD file itself can be stored on the computer, saved to disk, or copied to an external drive

    Also, we can refer to the link below to know the advantages/disadvantages between VHD and partition:

    VHD vs partition

    https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/eb97f0c4-c3c5-48c4-8049-a666639ae9c5/vhd-vs-partition?forum=w7itproperf

    Hope it could be helpful.


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    • Marked as answer by Mike884 Tuesday, August 20, 2019 1:22 PM
    Tuesday, August 20, 2019 6:14 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • You don't normally use VHD files with bitlocker, there's not much of a reason for it.

    You can extend a bitlocked partition any time without decrypting it, so space problems shouldn't be the issue.

    When you build a new machine, you can clone the partition to the new drive, even in encrypted form, using the right tools.

    I would use a VHD only if I wanted to transfer it somewhere, say upload it to a cloud storage or burn it to a blueray disk.

    Saturday, August 17, 2019 4:43 PM
  • Hi,

    A VHD is a file you can create that acts like a physical hard drive, and the encryption process renders the data unreadable to anyone attempting to access it without the proper key.  This provides an additional layer of security by allowing you to encrypt and store sensitive files in a virtual partition. Windows 10 also has a newer VHDX file format which has additional features like an increased size limit (up to 64 TB) and helping to protect against data corruption due to power failures.

    The VHD file itself can be stored on the computer, saved to disk, or copied to an external drive

    Also, we can refer to the link below to know the advantages/disadvantages between VHD and partition:

    VHD vs partition

    https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/eb97f0c4-c3c5-48c4-8049-a666639ae9c5/vhd-vs-partition?forum=w7itproperf

    Hope it could be helpful.


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    • Marked as answer by Mike884 Tuesday, August 20, 2019 1:22 PM
    Tuesday, August 20, 2019 6:14 AM
    Moderator
  • Thank you so much! Yes, it is helpful indeed.

    Regretfully hardly any words are spent on the differences between the two types. I believe even Microsoft did not highlight the differences, they rather leave it to the user to sort out. Wouldn't be surprised if the thread in above link is about the only one highlighting the differences.

    Anyway, thanks again!

    Tuesday, August 20, 2019 1:22 PM