In some Windows 11 Pro installation instances, which I won’t cover here to keep this article short, Windows 11 Pro will automatically enable BitLocker software based encryption on your solid state drive (SSD). Not sure if this auto-enabling occurs on traditional mechanical hard drives, let me know in the comments section.
The particular Windows 11 Pro installation on my Intel NUC 12 fell within the Microsoft threshold of auto-enabling the BitLocker software encryption. This was without my knowledge nor was I allowed to configure the encryption password or separately store the encryption key. My initial inspection leads me to believe that Microsoft simply uses your Microsoft Account password as the BitLocker encryption key but I have not confirmed this. Let me know in the comments section.
Also, when I originally setup my Windows 11 Pro installation, I used a local account instead of a Microsoft Account. I assume that when I accessed my Microsoft Account to connect my Microsoft 365 software (such as Word and OneDrive) Windows configured BitLocker at that time. I could be completely wrong, but the fact that BitLocker was enabled without my knowledge is a fact in my particular case.
It wasn’t until I discovered an article on Tom’s Hardware regarding “Windows Software BitLocker Slows Performance” that I became aware of a potential performance implication. In that article is covers how the BitLocker software encryption feature can slow an SSD by up to 45%.
This article will cover what I did in order to disable BitLocker software encryption on my SSD since I prefer daily maximum performance over the (in my opinion, false) sense of security provided by encrypting the data on my drive. Encrypting my data may also make data recovery more difficult should the need arise, but I may be incorrect there as well.