Full Disk Encryption Content

Full Disk Encryption

Encryption is essentially a "lockdown" of the data storage area of your computer and an encoding of that data. Information cannot be accessed without proper authentication, specifically your login/password sequence then it is decoded for use. Currently, encryption is only available for Windows-based, RIT-owned laptops and is being rolled out through the IT support for each college, division, and department. Mac laptops and other desktop machines will be addressed in future phases of the project.


McAfee Full Disk Encryption

In January 2015, RIT decided to use McAfee's full disk encryption products to protect PI (private information) on RIT-owned computers. McAfee's products are compatible with both Windows and Apple OS X computers.

There are some decisions regarding the policies and procedures surrounding full disk encryption that have been decided by your area's leadership. Please contact your system administrator for details on deployment plans.


McAfee Drive Encryption for Windows

The preboot login screen looks like the image below. You should enter your RIT account username in the box, then hit <Enter>, or click "Next":

You will then be presented with the password screen. Please enter your RIT password and hit <Enter> or click "Logon":


McAfee Management of Native Encryption for Apple OS X

Frequently Asked Questions

What about full disk encryption for Apple OS X computers?

Full disk encryption for Apple OS X computers is currently available.


Will this slow down my system?

Many users experience no noticeable effect on system performance, however, systems manufactured prior to 2010 may see varying results depending upon the CPU technologies available.

Can I restart and shutdown my computer as usual during the initial encryption phase?

Yes. The encryption software automatically continues wherever it last left off.


What happens when I change my RIT computer account password?

Whenever your password changes, Single Sign-On (SSO) will temporarily be disrupted. To synchronize the passwords, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. To avoid complications, we highly recommend being physically on RIT's campus before changing your password
  2. Change password using your normal method:
    • For MAIN Windows, and Apple OS X computers: at https://start.rit.edu
    • For FINANCE computers: using the CTRL+ALT+DEL screen
  3. Reboot computer when prompted
  4. At the preboot login screen, use your old password
  5. At the operating system login, use your new password

NOTE: For Windows computers only, it may take up to a couple hours for your new password to be updated for the McAfee preboot screen. You are welcome to restart your computer, but if your new password doesn't work, please try your old password.


Will my file stay encrypted if I move it off my computer or send it to someone?

No. The hard disk is encrypted, not the file, so if you move it off the encrypted disk, it will no longer be protected.


Do I have to login twice?

You may be required to login twice during the initial encryption process. Once encrypted, the encryption software features a Single Sign-On (SSO) mechanism that will forward your user credentials from the preboot screen to the operating system. This will only require you to login once.


Is there anything special I need to do to ensure my data is protected when using full disk encryption?

Yes. This software is most effective whenever your computer is actually powered off. Your laptop is powered off whenever it is in the 'shutdown' or 'hibernated' states. Sleep or standby is not enough. If you hibernate instead of shutdown, you will be required to login to the encryption software login screen.


What about personally owned computers?

RIT's software licensing for McAfee Full Disk Encryption covers only RIT-owned computers. Please contact ITS ResNet for all personal computing requests.


Known Issues



You will not be able to use a Bluetooth/wireless keyboard or mouse at the preboot login screen. You must use a keyboard that is directly connected to the laptop or dock. Once authenticated, the bluetooth/wireless devices will work.

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