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How should I encrypt my laptop?

If you have confidential data on a laptop, you should ensure it's encrypted so that other people can't get hold of it if the laptop is stolen. It's possible to encrypt the entire contents of the laptop, or you can choose to protect particular folders.

University laptops supplied by IT Services come with encryption as standard but if you have your own laptop, the best option is to use the encryption tools which are supplied as part of the operating system.

Microsoft Windows includes an encryption tool called BitLocker which can be used to encrypt all or part of your hard drive. However, the software is not included in all versions of Windows so you may need to upgrade in order to use it (BitLocker is included in Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise and Windows 8 Pro editions).

Mac OS X, has included the FileVault encryption tool since 10.3 (Panther).

Linux systems usually include encryption software as standard. For example, Ubuntu uses eCryptfs to encrypt a user's home directory and the option to enable encryption is offered as a checkbox during the standard installation process.

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This is question number 2696, which appears in the following categories:

Created by David Guest on 27 November 2014 and last updated by Neale Type on 17 July 2015