What is the BitLocker To Go Reader?

BitLocker To Go Reader (bitlockertogo.exe) is a program that works on computers running Windows Vista or Windows XP, allowing you to open and view the content of removable drives that have been protected (or encrypted) with BitLocker Drive Encryption in Windows 7. BitLocker To Go Reader allows people running Windows 7 to share their BitLocker-protected data on removable drives, such as USB flash drives or external hard drives, with anyone running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP.

To open files on an encrypted drive, you need to unlock the drive using BitLocker To Go Reader and then copy the files to your computer. Once you copy the files from the encrypted drive, they will no longer be protected by BitLocker in the new location, even though they’ll still be protected on the encrypted drive.

For more information about BitLocker, see Help protect your files using BitLocker Drive Encryption. To download Bitlocker To Go Reader, go to the BitLocker To Go Reader webpage on the Microsoft website.


  • BitLocker To Go Reader doesn’t allow you to encrypt drives using BitLocker or add files to an encrypted drive. It just lets you read files on an encrypted drive plugged in to a computer running Windows Vista or Windows XP.

Picture of BitLocker To Go Reader
BitLocker To Go Reader requires a password to unlock an encrypted drive.

Using BitLocker To Go Reader on a computer running Windows Vista or Windows XP

When you plug a drive encrypted with BitLocker in to a computer running Windows XP or Windows Vista, AutoPlay might open and give you the option to install or run BitLocker To Go Reader. If you click this option, you’ll be prompted to unlock the drive. If you don’t have the information required to unlock the drive, ask the person who encrypted the drive for the information.

If AutoPlay doesn’t open when you plug an encrypted drive into your computer, do the following:

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button , click Computer, and then look for the drive you plugged in.
  2. Right-click the drive, and then click BitLocker To Go Reader (or open the drive and double-click the file named "bitlockertogo.exe").

  3. Type the appropriate password to unlock the drive.

Once the drive is unlocked, you’ll have read-only access to the files. To open the files on the drive, you'll need to copy them to your computer. You can copy the files by dragging them to the desktop or to a folder.


Finding BitLocker To Go Reader

When someone encrypts a USB flash drive or external hard drive using BitLocker, the BitLocker To Go Reader program is added to the drive by default (stored on the drive as a file named "bitlockertogo.exe").

BitLocker To Go Reader can also be installed on your computer by a network administrator. To see if BitLocker To Go Reader is installed on your computer, Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click All Programs, and then look for it in the list of programs.


  • If you’re running Windows 7 and want to encrypt drives in BitLocker, you must have the Windows 7 Enterprise edition or Windows 7 Ultimate edition. However, you can open and modify encrypted drives in any edition of Windows 7.