A lock icon on drives in the Windows 10 File Explorer indicates that the drive has been encrypted with BitLocker.
BitLocker, present in Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows 10, allows users to encrypt drives to secure the data. The built-in encryption program adds a lock icon on drives in the File Explorer so that users can easily identify the drives that are protected by BitLocker.
Depending on the state of the encrypted drive, you might see one of the following three icons on drives.
A padlock icon or lock icon on a drive indicates that the drive has been encrypted with BitLocker and in a locked state. That is, you will need to type the BitLocker password to open the drive and access the data in it. An unlocked padlock icon on drive signals that the BitLocker encrypted drive is now open, and you don’t have to enter the BitLocker password to open it.
And if an unlocked padlock icon with an exclamation mark is showing up on a drive, it indicates that the BitLocker is not active, or the protection is temporarily suspended on the drive. In this case, you can resume the BitLocker on the drive or disable the BitLocker for the drive to remove the icon.
To resume BitLocker protection for a drive
Windows 10 lets you suspend BitLocker protection for the drive where Windows 10 is installed. Users are allowed to suspend the BitLocker protection on the Windows 10 installed drive so that users can update the operating system, firmware, or hardware.
Step 1: Right-click on the drive and then click Resume BitLocker protection option. Alternatively, you can restart your computer once to automatically resume the BitLocker protection.
How to disable the BitLocker for a drive in Windows 10
If you don’t want to encrypt a drive, you can turn off or disable the BitLocker for the drive. Here is how to do that.
Step 1: Open This PC. Right-click on the drive for which you want to turn off the BitLocker and then click Manage BitLocker option. This action will open the BitLocker Drive Encryption window.
Step 2: Click on the Turn off BitLocker link.
Step 3: Finally, when you get the confirmation dialog, click Turn off the BitLocker button to turn off the BitLocker encryption for the drive.
Depending on the size of the data and drive, Windows 10 might take minutes to hours to decrypt the drive.