Vital information about Windows 10 encryption.

This page has been created to draw your attention to the implications and liabilities which have arisen due to recent EU laws regarding the encryption of data on computer hard drives

This law requires anyone working within the financial services industry who hold personal details of clients on their computer(s) / laptop(s) to have their hard drives encrypted. This will apply particularly to independent financial advisers.

Failure to comply with this law may result in both a fine and being struck off the FSA register, effectively causing the loss of employment. Worse, if the computer/laptop is stolen or hacked into the adviser will have to pay each client £40.00 (as of this date 25th April 2016) to enable checks to made to see if their personal details have been compromised.

In actual fact it is fairly straightforward (to me at least) to correct this. On Microsoft Windows versions 7 and 8 the encryption software is already in place so protection is easy to enable. However if someone is running Windows 10 Home Edition the situation is different. On Windows 10 the only version with the encryption already embedded is Windows 10 Professional.

If the Windows 10 version being run is from a free Microsoft upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 it will only be upgraded to Windows 10 Home Edition.

So there may be a major issue to anyone running Windows 10 Home Edition who of course will have considerable data on their hard drive plus settings for all kinds of online activity.

In theory and the recommended solution is to wipe the hard drives and purchase and install Windows 10 Professional - easy peasy as the saying goes.

Er .... not quite.

While for me this isn't a particularly difficult task the saving of data, wiping hard drives, reinstalling the new operating system, copying the data back and setting up online activity links and apps is time consuming and may result in the loss of valuable client contact.

This may fill you with mounting horror as you continue to read - but I can offer some hope:-

I have recently researched if it is possible to upgrade a Windows 10 Home Edition to Windows 10 Professional without first wiping a clients hard drive and after some considerable effort now know how this can be done. This arose because a client sought my help and I was able to make the upgrade for him, so my solution has been tried and tested.

Most IT companies will say it can't be done but non the less it can be done and I know how.

I won't pretend that it is a cheap solution. The purchase of a Windows 10 Professional system will still have to be budgeted for plus my charges for the installation. You will need to budget round about at least £200 + for this but that is better than having to pay out £40.00 each to (say) 1,000 clients plus fines and job security.

For anyone running a Linux operating system encryption is built in as standard and only needs to be enabled.

While I understand this law currently only applies to workers in the financial services industry I am wondering if it might eventually get extended to anyone holding personal details of people on their personal computer/laptop.