BitLocker is a powerful encryption feature available in Windows that enables you to protect your sensitive data by encrypting entire drives on your computer. In addition, BitLocker uses advanced encryption algorithms to prevent unauthorized access to your data, providing an additional layer of security that can help you safeguard your important files and documents.
However, like any other security feature, BitLocker has its limitations, and there are times when you may need help accessing your BitLocker encrypted drives. These issues could range from a lost or forgotten BitLocker password to corrupted or inaccessible drives, making it difficult to recover your data.
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If you have lost your BitLocker recovery key or the BitLocker Recovery Key Not Working, here is what you can do.
Method 1: Try the Correct BitLocker Password
Method 1 involves entering the correct BitLocker password to unlock the encrypted drive. If the password is incorrect, the drive will remain locked. In such cases, locating the valid password and retrying to unlock the drive is necessary.
However, if you are confident that the password you entered is correct. Still, the drive remains locked, and the BitLocker encrypted drive is likely corrupted, causing BitLocker to reject the valid password.
Method 2: Try the Correct BitLocker Recovery Key
When you encrypt a drive with BitLocker, you can use a password or a recovery key to unlock the drive. However, suppose you forget the password, or it is not working. In that case, you can use the recovery key as an alternative method to unlock the BitLocker encrypted drive.
However, suppose you have the correct BitLocker recovery key, which is not working. In that case, the encrypted drive may have been corrupted, causing BitLocker to reject the valid recovery key. In such cases, it is crucial to use a recovery method to retrieve data from the corrupted BitLocker encrypted drive.
Method 3: Try Manage-bde
Manage-bde is a command-line tool that allows you to script various BitLocker operations. For example, you can use it to unlock a BitLocker encrypted drive, turn off BitLocker, or change the password.
To use manage-bde to unlock a BitLocker encrypted drive, follow these steps:
- Open the Command Prompt as an administrator. This will give you the necessary privileges to run manage-bde.
- Type the command: “manage-bde -unlock X: -Password” or “manage-bde -unlock X: -RecoveryPassword” (where X is the drive letter of the BitLocker encrypted drive) and press Enter. This will prompt you to enter the encrypted drive’s password or BitLocker recovery key.
- Enter the right password or BitLocker recovery key to unlock the encrypted drive.
Suppose manage-bde fails to unlock the BitLocker volume with the password or recovery key. In that case, it may indicate that the encrypted drive is corrupted or damaged. In such cases, it is recommended that you try other data recovery methods, to recover the data from the corrupted BitLocker encrypted drive.
Method 4: Try Another Computer
Sometimes, unlocking a BitLocker encrypted drive with the correct password or BitLocker recovery key on another computer may be possible. However, this is only sometimes the case.
For instance, if you have used the New Encryption Mode feature built into Windows 10 to encrypt your drive, it may not be possible to unlock the encrypted drive on a Windows 7 or 8, even if you enter the correct BitLocker password or recovery key.
Why? The New Encryption Mode uses a newer, more advanced encryption algorithm unsupported by older Windows versions. Therefore, when you try to unlock the encrypted drive on an older computer, it may not recognize the encryption algorithm and thus cannot open the drive.
In general, using the same version of Windows or a newer version on the computer to which the BitLocker encrypted drive was initially attached is recommended. However, you need to access the drive on a different computer. In that case, ensure that the computer has the necessary BitLocker decryption capabilities and is running a compatible version of Windows that supports the encryption algorithm used to encrypt the drive.
Method 5: Reformatting
Reformatting can be a quick solution to the BitLocker password or recovery key not working issue, significantly if you have recovered the data with the above methods or no longer need the data stored on the BitLocker encrypted drive. Reformatting a drive erases all data on the drive. It creates a new file system, effectively resetting the BitLocker encryption process. Any corrupted or damaged metadata or encryption keys that may have caused the issue will be wiped out, allowing you to create a new BitLocker encryption with a new password or recovery key.
However, reformatting will permanently erase all data on the drive, so it should only be considered a last resort after trying all other methods to recover or repair the BitLocker encrypted drive. Additionally, you should ensure a backup of any critical data stored on the drive before reformatting it. There will be no way to recover the data once it has been erased. Therefore, it is always recommended to use BitLocker with caution and has backup plans to avoid any potential data loss.
In conclusion, BitLocker is a valuable security feature available in Windows that allows you to encrypt your drives and protect your data from unauthorized access. However, sometimes BitLocker encrypted drives can get corrupted or become inaccessible, making it difficult to recover the stored data.
Following the steps outlined in the recovery process, you can effectively recover lost data from a corrupted BitLocker encrypted drive and restore it to its original state.
If your BitLocker recovery key is not working, it may indicate that the encrypted drive has become corrupted or damaged. In such cases, you can try other data recovery methods, such as checking and repairing file system errors on the BitLocker encrypted drive or trying to unlock the drive on another computer. If all else fails, you can reformat the drive as a last resort, though this will permanently erase all data stored on the drive.
If you forget your BitLocker password, it may be possible to recover the data stored on the encrypted drive using the BitLocker recovery key associated with your account. If you are unable to locate or remember the correct recovery key, however, it will not be possible to gain access to the locked data. In such cases, reformatting is recommended as a last resort.
Peter is an Electrical Engineer whose primary interest is tinkering with his computer. He is passionate about Windows 10 Platform and enjoys writing tips and tutorials about it.