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BitLocker: How to deploy on Windows Server 2012


Applies To: Windows Server 2012

For all Windows Server editions, BitLocker must be installed using Server Manager. However, you can still provision BitLocker before the server operating system is installed as part of your deployment.

Installing BitLocker

BitLocker requires administrator privileges on the server to install. You can install BitLocker either by using Server Manager or Windows PowerShell cmdlets.

  • To install BitLocker using Server Manager

  • To install BitLocker using Windows PowerShell

To install BitLocker using Server Manager

  1. Open Server Manager by selecting the Server Manager icon or running servermanager.exe.

  2. Select Manage from the Server Manager Navigation bar and select Add Roles and Features to start the Add Roles and Features Wizard.

  3. With the Add Roles and Features Wizard open, select Next at the Before you begin pane (if shown).

  4. Select Role-based or feature-based installation on the Installation type pane of the Add Roles and Features Wizard pane and select Next to continue.

  5. Select the Select a server from the server pool option in the Server Selection pane and confirm the server for the BitLocker feature install.

  6. Server roles and features install using the same wizard in Server Manager. Select Next on the Server Roles pane of the Add Roles and Features wizard to proceed to the Features pane.

  7. Select the check box next to BitLocker Drive Encryption within the Features pane of the Add Roles and Features Wizard. The wizard will show the additional management features available for BitLocker. If you do not want to install these features, deselect the Include management tools option and select Add Features. Once optional features selection is complete, select Next to proceed in the wizard.


    The Enhanced Storage feature is a required feature for enabling BitLocker. This feature enables support for Encrypted Hard Drives on capable systems. For more information on Encrypted Hard Drive support, please see Encrypted Hard Drive.

  8. Select Install on the Confirmation pane of the Add Roles and Features Wizard to begin BitLocker feature installation. The BitLocker feature requires a restart to complete. Selecting the Restart the destination server automatically if required option in the Confirmation pane will force a restart of the computer after installation is complete.

  9. If the Restart the destination server automatically if required check box is not selected, the Results pane of the Add Roles and Features Wizard will display the success or failure of the BitLocker feature installation. If required, a notification of additional action necessary to complete the feature installation, such as the restart of the computer, will be displayed in the results text.

To install BitLocker using Windows PowerShell

Windows PowerShell offers administrators another option for BitLocker feature installation. Windows PowerShell installs features using the servermanager or dism module; however, the servermanager and dism modules do not always share feature name parity. Because of this, it is advisable to confirm the feature or role name prior to installation.


The BitLocker feature requires the server to be restarted after installation to fully install.

Using the servermanager module to install BitLocker

The servermanager Windows PowerShell module can use either the Install-WindowsFeature or Add-WindowsFeature to install the BitLocker feature. The Add-WindowsFeature cmdlet is merely a stub to the Install-WindowsFeature. This example uses the Install-WindowsFeature cmdlet. The feature name for BitLocker in the servermanager module is BitLocker. This can be determined using the Get-WindowsFeature cmdlet with a query such as:

Get-WindowsFeature Bit 

The results of this command displays a table of all of the feature names beginning with “Bit” as their prefix. This allows you to confirm that the feature name is BitLocker for the BitLocker feature.

By default, installation of features in Windows PowerShell does not include optional sub-features or management tools as part of the install process. This can be seen using the -WhatIf option in Windows PowerShell.

Install-WindowsFeature BitLocker -WhatIf

The results of this command show that only the BitLocker Drive Encryption feature installs using this command.

To see what would be installed with the BitLocker feature including all available management tools and sub-features, use the following command:

Install-WindowsFeature BitLocker -IncludeAllSubFeature -IncludeManagementTools -WhatIf | fl

The result of this command displays the following list of all the administration tools for BitLocker that would be installed along with the feature, including tools for use with Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) and Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS).

  • BitLocker Drive Encryption

  • BitLocker Drive Encryption Tools

  • BitLocker Drive Encryption Administration Utilities

  • BitLocker Recovery Password Viewer

  • AD DS Snap-Ins and Command-Line Tools

  • AD DS Tools

  • AD DS and AD LDS Tools

The command to complete a full installation of the BitLocker feature with all available features and then rebooting the server at completion is:

Install-WindowsFeature BitLocker -IncludeAllSubFeature -IncludeManagementTools -Restart


Installing the BitLocker feature using Windows PowerShell does not install the Enhanced Storage feature. Administrators wishing to support Encrypted Hard Drives in their environment will need to install the Enhanced Storage feature separately.

Using the dism module to install BitLocker

The dism Windows PowerShell module uses the Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature cmdlet to install features. The BitLocker feature name for BitLocker is BitLocker. The dism module does not support wildcards when searching for feature names. To list feature names for the dism module, use the Get-WindowsOptionalFeatures cmdlet. The following command will list all of the optional features in an online (running) operating system.

Get-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online | ft

From this output, we can see that there are three BitLocker related optional feature names: BitLocker, BitLocker-Utilities and BitLocker-NetworkUnlock. To install the BitLocker feature, the BitLocker and BitLocker-Utilities features are the only required items.

To install BitLocker using the dism module, use the following command:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName BitLocker -All

This command will prompt the user for a reboot. The Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature cmdlet does not offer support for forcing a reboot of the computer. This command does not include installation of the management tools for BitLocker. For a complete installation of BitLocker and all available management tools, use the following command:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName BitLocker, BitLocker-Utilities -All

More information

BitLocker Overview

Encrypted Hard Drive

BitLocker Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What's New in BitLocker for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 [redirected]

What's New in BitLocker

Prepare your organization for BitLocker: Planning and Policies

BitLocker: How to enable Network Unlock