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BitLocker reaches its full potential on computers equipped with TPM. BitLocker can use either transparent operation mode (where the TPM automates key entry) or a user authentication mode (where the user must manually input a password). The TPM hardware detects any unauthorized changes to the pre-boot environment, including to the BIOS and master boot record (MBR). If any unauthorised changes are detected, BitLocker requests a recovery key on a USB device or a recovery password entered by hand. Either of these cryptographic secrets will decrypt the Volume Master Key (VMK) and allow the bootup process to continue.
BitLocker offers additional protection in the form of BitLocker To Go, an encryption option that can be used with removable media.
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