Why Is There a Lock Icon on Drives & How To Remove It

Wondering why there is a padlock icon on your drives in the File Explorer? Here is what it is and how to remove lock icon from drives in Windows 10.

If you bought a new laptop or desktop in recent years, you might have noticed that all your drives have a lock icon on them. This is true for both Windows 10 Home or Pro versions and whether or not you are actively using BitLocker or disabled it outright. Generally, a lock icon on the drive means that it is encrypted in some way. As you can guess, encryption makes it harder for others to access your data in unauthorized ways. For example, if you lost your laptop, the one who found it cannot access the data without proper authentication.

Though the feature is pretty useful, it can be confusing for some. After all, Windows 10 doesn’t do a good job of informing you of what the lock icon over the drives means, how it is enabled, and how to remove it if needed.

In this simple Windows 10 article, let me tell you why there is a lock icon on your drive and how the remove lock icon on drive in Windows 10.

Why is there a lock icon on drives in Windows 10?

Windows 10 has two built-in encryption features. The first one is BitLocker and it is only available for Pro and Enterprise users. The second one is called Device Encryption and available to all including Windows 10 Home users.

If you are seeing a lock icon on the drives and If you are using Windows 10 Home or if you are sure that you are not using BitLocker then it is due to the Device Encryption feature.

lock icon on drives in Windows 10

Though the Device Encryption feature is available to all Windows 10 users, it is automatically enabled only when the following requirements are met.

  • Your laptop or desktop should have a TPM version 2 (Trusted Platform Module) chip on the motherboard.
  • Supports the Modern Standby feature.
  • Has modern UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface).
  • The TPM functionality is enabled via UEFI.
  • You should log into Windows 10 with a Microsoft account.

If you are not using BitLocker and don’t want to use the Device Encryption feature, follow the steps given below to turn off Device Encryption and remove the lock icon from drives in Windows 10.

BitLocker vs Device Encryption

Both BitLocker and Device Encryption are similar. It’s just that, unlike BitLocker, Device Encryption is available to all but is only turned on automatically if the system has the built-in TPM module and signed in to Microsoft account. In addition to that, you will not get any of the management options to configure the Device Encryption feature.

You can think of Device Encryption as a stripped-down version of BitLocker with the same security standards but with no management options.

For more information, take a look at this technet support thread.

How to remove lock icon on drives in Windows 10

To remove the lock icon on drives in Windows 10, you have to disable the Device Encryption feature. Here is how to do it.

  1. Open the Settings app in Windows 10.
  2. Click on “Update & Security.”
  3. Select “Device Encryption” on the sidebar.
  4. Click “Turn off” on the right panel.
  5. Device encryption is now disabled and the lock icon is removed from drives.

First, open the Windows 10 Settings app with “Start key + I” keyboard shortcut. In the Settings app, go to the “Update & Security -> Device Encryption” page. On the right panel, click on the “Turn Off” button under the Device encryption section.

turn off device encryption

As soon as you click the button, Windows 10 turns off the Device Encryption feature and automatically decrypts all encrypted drives. The decryption process will take some time to complete. You can use the system normally while this is happening. From now on, you will no longer see the lock icon on the drives in Windows 10.

remove lock icon on drives in Windows 10

Note: If you are using BitLocker, you have to turn off BitLocker to remove the lock icon.

I hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.

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