Windows 11 Pro’s on-by-default encryption slows SSDs up to 45%

There are few things more frustrating than paying for high-speed PC components and then leaving performance on the table because software slows your system down. Unfortunately, a default setting in Windows 11 Pro, having its software BitLocker encryption enabled, could rob as much as 45 percent of the speed from your SSD as it forces your processor to encrypt and decrypt everything. According to our tests, random writes and reads — which affect the overall performance of your PC — get hurt the most, but even large sequential transfers are affected.

While many SSDs come with hardware-based encryption, which does all the processing directly on the drive, Windows 11 Pro force-enables the software version of BitLocker during installation, without providing a clear way to opt out. (You can circumvent this with tools like Rufus, if you want, though that’s obviously not an official solution as it allows users to bypass the Microsoft’s intent.) If you bought a prebuilt PC with Windows 11 Pro, there’s a good chance software BitLocker is enabled on it right now. Windows 11 Home doesn’t support BitLocker so you won’t have encryption enabled there.

Nothing like buying a brand new PC and realising you’re losing a ton of performance for something you might not even need on a home PC.


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