I'm looking at using Bitlocker on a new laptop. I have been using Acronis for full image backups; it would take me way too much time to reinstall and configure from scratch in the event of a stolen laptop. I would like to do periodic full system backups with daily incremental backups.

Acronis True Image treats Bitlocker images as black boxes; a backup is equal in size to the entire hard drive volume. An incremental backup of a Bitlocker image results again in a backup equal to the size of the entire hard drive.

Vista's "Complete PC Backup and Restore" is a bit clumsy in that it is difficult to restore the system to new hardware for the case of a lost / stolen laptop.

Does Windows 7 support Bitlocker using Complete PC Backup and Restore, and restore to replacement hardware?

How can incremental backups be performed with Bitlocker?

3 Answers 3


Remember that BitLocker provides full-volume encryption. You can easily use an online-based backup tool like Mozy or Carbonite, which will read the files from disk (decrypting them in the process) and then back them up to a separate cloud-based repository. These solutions typically provide their own encryption implementation. While you lose a bit of the bare-metal-restore capability of the Acronis solution, this may still be a viable alternative that's less expensive than deploying WHS.


I cannot speak for Windows 7, but I am sure some Googling would off you some answers about that.

As for how to backup your current situation, you have a couple of options - Use Acronis as you have been, but do sector-by-sector image backups, which will work in the event of a restore, but as you mentioned will be large. You can deal with the built-in Vista features, or, buy/build a Windows Home Server, which supports backing up Bitlocker encrypted drives.

Short answer, I think for your purposes (no access to enterprise class backup solutions), unless you are willing to set up a server at home, or deal with the large size of the acrnois images, you are pretty much limited to the built in tools Vista has.


It seems that, the default "system image" function in Windows 7, does support bitlocker transparently. The backed up image will be unencrypted automatically.


Alternatively, using third-party software, it's generally recommended to decrypt first before imaging even though it might take some time. This is because imaging a bitlockered drive is usually not supported.

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