How to boot BitLocker encrypted Windows 7 with password instead of using startup key USB drive or BitLocker recovery key?

Updated on August 15, 2023 by Admin to BitLocker for Windows 7

I have a Windows 7 ultimate laptop computer, recently I intend to use BitLocker to encrypt the Windows 7 partition. The depressing part is that I can't encrypt this partition directly with a password, Windows requires me to use a USB drive as the startup key, and this situation does not exist when encrypting a data partition. I hate having to carry a USB drive with me and I want to be able to start BitLocker encrypted Windows 7 directly with a password. Can someone tell me if this is possible?

By default, Windows 7 can only be started with the BitLocker recovery key or a BEK file (The BEK file is a key you would save on a USB drive to start Windows 7 computer without having to enter a bitlocker recovery.), only Windows 11/10/8 can be started by entering a password, because using the password to start Windows is not implemented in Windows 7. Is there any way to boot BitLocker encrypted Windows 7 with password instead of using startup key USB drive or BitLocker recovery key? The answer is to use Hasleo BitLocker Anywhere, you can find the complete steps below.

Download BitLocker For Windows Download BitLocker For Mac Download BitLocker For Linux

Tutorial to boot BitLocker encrypted Windows 7 with password instead of using startup key USB drive or BitLocker recovery key.

Step 1. Download and install Hasleo BitLocker Anywhere.

Step 2. Launch Hasleo BitLocker Anywhere, right-click the Windows drive letter (usually C:), then click "Turn On BitLocker".

select windows 7 drive to encrypt


Step 3. In this step, you are asked to choose how to unlock the Windows drive at startup. Please select Enter a password to start the computer.

select how to unlock drive at startup


Step 4. Now you are required to specify a password for encrypting the drive, enter the password and click "Next". You should choose a password having a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, spaces, and special symbols.

enter encrypt password

  • Encrypt used disk space only: Allows you to encrypt only the disk space that is currently used by the drive file system, unused space will remain unencrypted, this option can help you save time spent on encryption. After you encrypt a drive with this option, all files that you added to the drive are automatically encrypted.
  • Compatible mode: This option cannot be changed in Windows operating systems prior to Windows 10 Version 1511.
  • Use 256-bit encryption: Bitlocker supports 128-bit and 256-bit encryption strength. The 256-bit encryption is more secure but will take up more CPU resources, so you should choose different encryption strengths according to your needs. Please tick this checkbox if you want to use 256 encryption strength.


Step 5. After clicking "Next", you are asked how you want to backup the BitLocker recovery key. You can save the recovery key to a file or print a copy of it, then click "Next" to move on. Please note that anyone can use the recovery key to gain access to the drive, even if they do not have the password created in the previous step, so please do not disclose it to others.

back up bitlocker recovery key


Step 6. Now a pop-up will appear asking you if you want to reboot into Pre-OS to encrypt the Windows partition. Click "Yes" to continue.

need reboot into Pre-OS


Step 7. Another pop-up will appear asking you if you want to build a WinPE image to continue. Click "Yes".

need build winpe


Step 8. Hasleo BitLocker Anywhere starts building WinPE. This may take several minutes, so please be patient to wait.

building winpe


Step 9. After successfully builded the WinPE image, Hasleo BitLocker Anywhere will prompt you to reboot the computer, click "Yes" button to allow Hasleo BitLocker Anywhere to reboot your computer.

need reboot computer


Step 10. Hasleo BitLocker Anywhere will now reboot and enter Pre-OS to encrypt the contents of the selected drive using BitLocker drive encryption. The encryption process could take a long time to finish depending on the size of the drive, so please be patient to wait. If you don't want to wait until the encryption operation is finished, "Shut down the computer when the operation is completed" option is a good idea. Just check it.

encrypting drive with bitlocker


Step 11. After the encryption is complete, click the "Finish" button to close the window.

encryption is complete


Step 12. Now you have to enter the BitLocker password before you can start the Windows 7.

Enter BitLocker password to boot Windows 7


To sum it all up, by default, Windows 7 doesn't allow us to type BitLocker password prior to receiving the login screen even if we are using Windows 7 Ultimate/Enterprise Edition. Fortunately, with the help of Hasleo BitLocker Anywhere, you can boot BitLocker encrypted Windows 7 with password instead of using startup key USB drive or BitLocker recovery key. If you want to use the startup key USB drive to encrypt and start Windows 7, please refer to the User guide: How to Encrypt Windows 7 Partition and Start the BitLocker Encrypted Windows 7 with a BitLocker Startup Key USB Drive?