Bitlocker Versus True Crypt Performance

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 26, 2009
Updated • Mar 13, 2017
Encryption, Security

Alexander over at 4Sysops ran a benchmark comparison test of the encryption software programs Bitlocker and True Crypt on netbooks.

Bitlocker is the encryption software that ships with Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows Vista Ultimate, and newer versions of Windows, while True Crypt is a freely available Open Source alternative.

Both have features that the other software does not offer. Bitlocker for instance comes with a very handy Bitlocker To Go option (only on Windows 7 or newer). The feature can be used to encrypt a removable device, and put a program to decode the data on the same device. This allow you to decrypt the data on the device even if Bitlocker is not installed on the computer system the removable device is connected to. Note that this makes it possible to decrypt Bitlocker volumes on PCs running Windows XP or Windows Vista.

True Crypt on the other hand is open source and a cross-platform application which gives it the advantage if a user works with Windows, Linux and Mac systems. Also, TrueCrypt runs on all editions of XP, Vista, Windows 7 and newer versions of Windows.

The performance impact of both encryption software programs is neglectful on modern desktop computer systems. Netbooks, which are usually powered by Atom or Celeron cpus on the other hand, are not as powerful as desktop PCs.

I ran some benchmarks on an Atom N260 Netbook. For BitLocker, I chose three different encryption algorithms. For TrueCrypt, I chose only the fastest algorithm according to its built-in benchmark.

The results on a tested Atom 260 netbook are that Bitlocker performs better than True Crypt. The first chart shows the transfer rate in Megabytes on a system without encryption and on a computer system with either Bitlocker or True Crypt encryption. Both have a noticeable impact on the computer system.

The second chart shows the performance loss compared to a system running no encryption.

True Crypt did perform not as good as Bitlocker in the test. The author did not fail to mention on the other hand that the difference in performance was not noticeable during tests. Alexander comes to the  conclusion:

As you can see, TrueCrypt performs worse. The default BitLocker algorithm (AES 128 bit with diffuser) is 12% faster. If you use the same algorithm in BitLocker and TrueCrypt, BitLocker is even faster by 14%. So switching to TrueCrypt in order to increase performance is a bad idea. But in defense of TrueCrypt I have to say that the difference is hardly noticeable; running encryption on a netbook makes it slow whether BitLocker or TrueCrypt is used.

To sum it up. Both security programs slow down netbooks noticeably but the difference in performance between the two programs is not noticeable even though it is existing. (via 4Sysops)

Bitlocker Versus True Crypt Performance
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Bitlocker Versus True Crypt Performance
Alexander over at 4Sysops ran a benchmark comparison test of the encryption software programs Bitlocker and True Crypt on netbooks.
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  1. saucer said on May 10, 2011 at 6:02 am

    I use Truecrypt for my servers. I trust em with my company ;-)

  2. Anonymous said on April 30, 2011 at 4:01 am

    I would use TrueCrypt for really, really sensitive stuff and BitLocker for speedy and external drives you might take with you to separate backups of something.

  3. Fredda said on January 9, 2011 at 1:30 am

    Who trust MS and the bitlocker function ?

    Has it been done an code review for the bitlocker function
    by an organisation OUTSIDE USA ?

    How do I as a customer know that there is no backdoors ?

    FBI, RIAA ?

  4. Anonymous said on July 21, 2010 at 5:50 am

    You guys need to put dates on your articles. When was this from?

    1. Martin said on July 21, 2010 at 9:44 am

      Look at the url.

  5. jlm said on April 6, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    I have been using TrueCrypt for a few months. When my Win7 system HD died I was able to connect and access my two other encrypted data drives on a Linux laptop with no problems. While reinstalling Win7 I was tempted to start using bitlocker, but the portability is hard to beat. Besides, M$ has already been pushed for a back-door, altho they supposedly have resisted so far. At least the TrueCrypt code is available for public scrutiny, even if the license isnt the best for “open-source”

  6. Erik S said on January 5, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    This is an easy choice. Truecrypt!

    There is not a chance I would go with the bitlocker solution. It’s all about trust:

    Who do you trust more?

    Microsoft/bitlocker with the closed opaque proprietary code


    Opensource Truecrypt

    For me this is a no-brainer.

    I’ve been using PGP Desktop WDE quite a number of years (as there was no other better alternative), but as soon as Truecrypt offered whole disk encryption, I switched to Truecrypt.

    1. PT said on April 26, 2010 at 4:42 am

      Sure, OSS, with source code available for all the hackers/crackers in the world take a look…. so, if you are so confident with access to source code, have you opened it, checked every line to be sure it’s really secure? Can you guarantee that there’s no bugs, or backdoors or whatever in the (binary, pre-compiled) OSS you have downloaded from the internet…. c’mon! At least, M$ binary code (proprietary) comes from the same website, and you should disassemble it before a sucessful hack.

  7. Piskvor said on November 26, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Bitlocker is faster, but TC is cross-platform – it works on other systems besides 7: XP, Vista, even Linux and Mac. Not a very likely possibility with BitLocker.

  8. nero said on November 26, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Considering MS builds backdoors into their OS for national security and law enforcement purposes which encryption would you really prefer to have?

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