Users on Windows 10 Pro edition can use the built-in BitLocker tool to encrypt their data. In addition to internal drives and external USB drives, BitLocker can also encrypt SD cards.
As pointed out earlier, the BitLocker encryption feature exists in the Pro and above editions of Windows 10 only. If you are on Windows 10 Home, you can use third-party tools to encrypt your data.
NOTE: The SD card must be formatted by using NTFS, FA32, FAT16, or exFAT file system in order to encrypt using BitLocker.
Method 1 – encrypting the SD card
Method 2 – decrypting the SD card
Encrypt SD cards using BitLocker in Windows 10
Step 1: Open This PC. Right-click on the SD card that you want to encrypt using BitLocker and then click Turn on BitLocker option.
Step 2: You will get the following screen. Check the Use a password to unlock the drive box. If you have a smart card, you can use that by selecting Use my smart card to unlock the drive option. Most users don’t have smart cards. So, we are using the password to encrypt the SD card in this guide.
If you don’t know what’s smart card, please visit this page of Microsoft TechNet to know about the smart card in detail.
Enter a password and then retype the same. We recommend you set a strong password but also make sure that you remember that password unless you plan to store the recovery key (more on this in the next step) somewhere on your PC or any other location.
Click the Next button to proceed further.
Step 3: Here, you will get options to save the recovery key which you can use if you ever forget your password or lose the smart card. You can use the recovery key to access your SD card and data in it. Select one of these options and then follow the on-screen directions to save the key.
If you choose the Microsoft account, you will need to enter your Microsoft account email address and password.
Click Next button.
Step 4: Now, you will need to choose between the following two options:
# Encrypt used disk space only
# Encrypt entire drive
We recommend encrypting the entire drive.
Select an option and then click Next button.
Step 5: Finally, when you see the following screen, select the Compatible mode option and then click the Next button.
Step 6: Click the Start encrypting button to begin encrypting your SD card. Depending on the size of the drive and size of the data in it, it might take up to a few hours to complete the encryption.
To decrypt the SD card and remove the password
Step 1: Insert the SD card into its slot and open up This PC window. Right-click on the SD card and then click Manage BitLocker option.
Step 3: In the Removable data drives – BitLocker To Go section, your encrypted SD card will appear. Click Turn off BitLocker option next to it.
Step 4: When you get the confirmation dialog box, click Turn off BitLocker button to begin decrypting the SD card. Just like encryption, decrypting the card might also take hours.