BitLocker™ Drive Encryption is a data protection feature available in Windows Vista Enterprise and Ultimate for client computers and in Windows Server “Longhorn”. BitLocker is Microsoft’s response to one of our top customer requests: address the very real threats of data theft or exposure from lost, stolen or inappropriately decommissioned PC hardware with a tightly integrated solution in the Windows Operating System.

BitLocker prevents a thief who boots another operating system or runs a software hacking tool from breaking Windows Vista file and system protections or performing offline viewing of the files stored on the protected drive.

BitLocker Drive Encryption:

Protects data while the system is offline because it:

Encrypts the entire Windows volume, including both user data and system files, the hibernation file, the page file, and temporary files.
Provides umbrella protection for third-party applications. Third-party applications benefit automatically when installed on an encrypted volume.
Ensures boot process integrity because it:

Provides a method to check that early boot file integrity has been maintained, and there has been no adversarial modification of those files, such as with boot sector viruses or root kits.
Protects the system from offline software-based attacks: any alternative software which might boot the system will not have access to the root keys that protect this Windows volume.
Locks the system when tampered with: if any monitored files are tampered with, the system will not boot. This alerts the user to the tampering, since the system will fail to boot as usual.

More details here.

[tags]windows, software, protection, alternative, boot, system, alerts, files, vista, ultimate[/tags]