BitLocker drive encryption and third-party drive encryption software both have their cons and pros. You can choose the one right for your situation. BitLocker is free but is not available on all editions of Windows. Third-party drive encryption software may be compatible with more Windows editions but costs a lot.
BitLocker is a built-in feature on the Windows platform. It can encrypt the entire volume to protect your data from unauthorized access using the password, PIN, or USB flash drive that contains a startup key, combined with the automatically generated BitLocker drive encryption recovery key.
BitLocker is free to use on supported Windows editions, including:
- Ultimate and Enterprise editions of Windows Vista and Windows 7
- Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows 8 and 8.1
- Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows 10
- Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows 11
- Windows Server 2008 and later
Therefore, if your computer is running on the Home edition of Windows 8.1/10/11, you can't use BitLocker drive encryption. That's where third-party drive encryption software comes in such as the M3 BitLocker Loader for Windows.
The third-party drive encryption software could be a supplement to the BitLocker drive encryption that comes with Windows. It enables you to use BitLocker on Windows 10 Home edition. However, you may need to pay for such drive encryption software.