Question Curious.... Hard Drive Security

oakmead

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Windows pc’s tend to be used via a sign in password, to access Windows, explore My Documents, read, write and edit files etc; thus, without the password, the pc Windows, My Documents and any files can’t be accessed.

Therefore, would it be possible to remove the Hard Drive from the above password protected pc (A) and install its Hard Drive as an external Hard Drive into a different pc (B) and access the files/My Documents etc without the need to enter the Windows sign in password for pc A ?


I know since Windows 10, BitLocker can encrypt and password protect portable storage but what stops the internal storage drives from being removed and installed into a different pc/laptop and accessed as an external drive ?

Unless BitLocker has been enabled for all drives, portable or otherwise, then the internal storage drives don’t appear to be secure, as the conventional Windows sign in password appears to only prevent unauthorised access to Windows and not the actual storage drives ?
 

oakmead

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It’s not trivial to me, otherwise I wouldn’t have asked.
I’m not attempting to bypass a password I’m attempting to understand how to protect storage devices.
 
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Math Geek

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he's right. the ONLY way to protect data is to encrypt it.

bitlocker is the only thing in windows that can protect your data from what you are asking. any other "protection" is not really going to stop anyone with any skill (or decent searching abilities) from getting to your data.
 

Math Geek

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for instance, i fix pc's and one of the things i do is exactly what you are asking. couple times a week i pull a hdd from a system, plug it into my test system and get the data off of it for the owner. no windows password has ever or will ever stop me. the only thing that can stop me is if it is an encrypted drive and the owner does not have the recovery key.

then and only then am i locked out. if you need it to be accessible from another pc, then bitlocker is not the best tool to use. if you want to make it a small bit harder for someone else, then bitlocker is a decent choice. it is not hard to access it with the key, but it is a couple steps longer than something like veracrypt suggested above.
 
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oakmead

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Thanks so much for the very informative and thorough replies and for confirming my understanding.

I’m not an avid user of computers and my knowledge and use is somewhat dated.

For years, I’ve happily used the Windows sign in password without giving hdd security a second thought.

It’s only since the use of smartphones, tablets, portable hard drives and attempted to prevent unauthorised access, did I realise the potential privacy risk of swapping an unencrypted internal hd into a different machine,
 

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