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Window 11 Pro’s encryption may gum up your SSD

October 19, 2023.

Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus NVMe.

Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus NVMe. © iStock.

Windows’ BitLocker technology protects your data from unauthorized access by encrypting your drive and requiring one or more authentication factors to unlock it. Unfortunately, various tests run by Tom’s Hardware reveal that these encryption and decryption operations reduce the performance of your SSD on Windows 11 Pro by up to 45%, which is frustrating when you’re looking to get the most out of your hardware’s power. This is because Windows 11 Pro automatically activates the software version of BitLocker during installation, without providing an easy way to deactivate it. This despite the fact that many SSDs are equipped with hardware encryption that does this directly on the drive, and much more efficiently besides. If you’re sitting on a recently purchased Windows 11 Pro PC, there’s a good chance that the BitLocker software is activated as you read this.

The link to the article below will show you how to check whether the software encryption is activated. And sorry to say, but if you want to deactivate the software encryption in favor of the one that’s built into your SSD, you’ll need to completely reinstall Windows and all your applications. Or you can abandon all thought of encrypting your SSD, but that’s probably neither wise nor safe. Sometimes security is better than performance.

Tom’s Hardware, Jarred Walton, “Tested: Windows 11 Pro’s On-By-Default Encryption Slows SSDs Up to 45%.”