Updated by Tim to BitLocker Recovery Tips on October 28th, 2020

Table of Content

To make your BitLocker encryption even stronger, never save recovery information locally. Windows saves BitLocker recovery key in a simple text file when you choose to save the recovery key as a file. Also, be careful when you choose to print the recovery key on a paper as anyone can have access to that piece of paper. If you are unable to login and you do not have the Bitlocker recovery key, there is no way to access the system. The bitlocker protection is working as designed. Bitlocker can only be suspended from within Windows.The only way to gain access to the system is by reinstalling the operating system, wiping out any data currently on the drive.

What is BitLocker recovery key?

A BitLocker recovery key, aka Microsoft recovery key or Windows recovery key, it is a special key that was automatically generated when encrypting the specific drive with BitLocker drive encryption.

Use BitLocker recovery key: the BitLocker recovery key is actually a file generated during encryption; it must work with TPM chip or PIN code, can’t be used alone. ( Or you can use the key to unlock BitLocker drive from command prompt – run cmd.exe as administrator to unlock ). OS drive: Recovery key is the only way to decrypt data from Bitlocker encrypted OS drive due to TPM (Trusted Platform Modules). When the Bitlocker encrypted computer and Surface failed or OS crashed, M3 Data Recovery WinPE bootable media can rescue your data easily.

BitLocker recovery key is stored in a .BEK file named like BitLocker Recovery Key 444C8E16-45E7-4F23-96CE-3B3FA04D2189.BEK as below:

BitLocker recovery key format: 419595-387156-44334-315590-197472-399399-320562-361383

BitLocker recovery key is used to unlock your BitLocker encrypted drive when you forget the password or the BitLocker password is not working.

Where/How to find BitLocker recovery key in Windows 10/8/7?

There are six methods to find BitLocker recovery key on Microsoft site: http://windows.microsoft.com/recoverykeyfaq (the previous page is aka.ms/recoverykeyfaq), this article will tell you seven methods to find BitLocker recovery key:

Option 1: In your Microsoft account

To retrieve the recovery key that was stored to onedrive, visit the site:https://account.microsoft.com/devices/recoverykey (The previous page is http://windows.microsoft.com/recoverykey), sign in with your Microsoft account and then you will see the recovery key.

Windows Bitlocker Recovery Key Generator

Option 2: Find BitLocker recovery key on a USB flash drive

To find the recovery key, insert that USB flash drive into your computer and view it.

Option 3: Find the BitLocker recovery key in a txt file

Recovery key may be saved as a txt file in your computer. If you have not deleted it, search BitLocker Recovery Key.txt in your computer.

Option 4: Find the BitLocker recovery key in a document

If you printed BitLocker recovery key to a 'Microsoft Print to PDF', search for pdf file on your computer.

Option 5: In Active Directory

If you are a domain user, the recovery key may be saved to Active Directory (AD), contact your administrator to get it.

BitLocker Recovery Password Viewer can locate and view BitLocker recovery key that is stored in Active Directory (AD).

In Active Directory Users and Computers, locate and then click the container in which the computer is located. For example, click the Computers container.

Right-click the computer object, and then click Properties.

In the ComputerName Properties dialog box, click the BitLocker Recovery tab to view the BitLocker recovery keys that are associated with the particular computer.

Option 6: In your Azure Active Directory account

For work PCs where you sign in with an Azure Active Directory account, see the device info for your Microsoft Azure account and get recovery key.

How to bypass BitLocker recovery key?

Key

If you cannot get BitLocker recovery key with key ID, there are several BitLocker brute-force cracking tools you can have a try, read our article: How to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive without password and recovery key.

Learn where BitLocker recovery key is stored

Recovery key may be saved in a number of locations depending on the version of Windows OS you installed:

For Windows 7, where is BitLocker recovery key stored?

  • Recovery key may be stored as a txt file
  • Recovery key may be stored to a USB flash drive
  • Recovery key may be physically printed

For Windows 8, where is BitLocker recovery key stored?

  • Recovery key may be stored as a txt file
  • Recovery key may be stored to a USB flash drive
  • Recovery key may be physically printed
  • Recovery key may be stored to your Microsoft account
  • For Windows 10, where is BitLocker recovery key stored?

  • Recovery key may be stored as a txt file
  • Recovery key may be stored to a USB flash drive
  • Recovery key may be physically printed
  • Recovery key may be stored to your Microsoft account
  • Recovery key may be stored to your Azure Active Directory account

So if you are a non-domain user, recovery key may be stored in your Microsoft account, USB flash drive, a txt file or printed paper.

If you are a domain user, BitLocker recovery key may be stored to Active Directory (AD), contact your administrator to get it.

BitLocker recovery key ID part

What is BitLocker recovery key ID?

BitLocker recovery key ID is BitLocker recovery key identifier. If recovery key ID matches the one displayed on your drive, you can unlock that drive. If recovery key ID doesn't match the one displayed on your drive, you need to find the correct recovery key. Otherwise, you cannot unlock that drive.

How to verify if the BitLocker recovery key is correct?

To verify if BitLocker recovery key is correct, compare the start of the full BitLocker recovery key identifier with recovery key ID value. See below example:

How to find BitLocker recovery key ID value?

For the BitLocker encrypted operating system volume, BitLocker recovery key ID is displayed on the BitLocker recovery screen.

For BitLocker encrypted data drive, BitLocker recovery key ID is displayed when users click on 'More options' and then on Enter recovery key in the wizard to unlock a BitLocker encrypted drive.

How to get BitLocker recovery key with key ID?

If you can find BitLocker recovery key txt file or saved the BitLocker recovery key in your Microsoft account, AD, Azure AD, you can find the correct BitLocker recovery key according to key ID. Otherwise, there is no way to get BitLocker recovery key.

To verify if it is the correct BitLocker recovery key, compare the start of the full BitLocker recovery key identifier with the recovery key ID value that is displayed on your BitLocker encrypted drive, see below example:

What is BitLocker recovery?

BitLocker recovery is the process by which you can restore access to a BitLocker encrypted drive in the event that you cannot unlock BitLocker encrypted drive normally.

If it is a BitLocker encrypted operating system drive, connect it to another computer or find a BitLocker recovery boot disk to recover your data.

How to do BitLocker recovery?

Unlike common data recovery, BitLocker recovery requires intact BitLocker metadata and password or BitLocker recovery key to decrypt data.

BitLocker recovery software

Sometimes, the password and recovery key won't unlock BitLocker encrypted drive. In this situation, a professional BitLocker recovery software is needed.

M3 BitLocker Recovery is a professional BitLocker data recovery software. It can recover data from failed, corrupted, lost or deleted BitLocker encrypted partition, etc. after supplying the password or recovery key.

Tutorial to recover lost data from BitLocker encrypted drive

Step 1: Download, install and launch M3 BitLocker Recovery on your Windows computer.

Step 2: Select BitLocker encrypted drive and click Next to continue.

Step 3: Enter the password or 48-digit BitLocker recovery key to decrypt data from BitLocker encrypted drive.

Step 4: M3 BitLocker Recovery is scanning and decrypting the data from the specific BitLocker encrypted drive.

Step 5: After all your files are found, preview the documents, photos and play the videos, audios to see if your lost files are recoverable.

Step 6: Select the needed files and click 'Recover' to start the recovery.

If you find some recovered files cannot be opened, please check 'Revert decryption' option and recover them again.

BitLocker recovery scenarios

1. If your BitLocker encrypted drive is in good condition, just enter the password or recovery key to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive.

2. If you forget the password or recovery key, unlocking drive is still possible. Refer to: How to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive without password and recovery?

3. If your BitLocker encrypted computer is experiencing BitLocker recovery screen issue, enter recovery key to pass BitLocker recovery screen.

4. If your BitLocker encrypted drive keeps asking for recovery key, enter the recovery key or use M3 BitLocker Recovery to rescue your data.

5. If your BitLocker encrypted drive doesn't accept the correct password or recovery key, use M3 BitLocker Recovery to recover your data.

6. If your BitLocker encrypted drive failed, the only way is to recover data with M3 BitLocker Recovery.

7. If your BitLocker encrypted drive is corrupted or damaged, M3 BitLocker Recovery can rescue your data.

8. If your BitLocker partition is deleted or lost, M3 BitLocker Recovery can find the previous BitLocker partition and recover data.

9. If BitLocker encrypted drive is formatted by Windows 7/8/10 built-in format tool, formatting has damaged BitLocker metadata so that lost data cannot be recovered. If you formatted BitLocker encrypted drive by other tool or other operating system, recovering data from formatted BitLocker encrypted drive is possible.

10. If your BitLocker encrypted drive is not recognized by Disk Management or Device Manager, send it to a local data recovery professional for help.

Common BitLocker recovery error

1. Recovery error. Error recovering disk, A recovery key was not found on this drive. The drive cannot be unlocked.

2. Recovery error. Error recovering disk, the recovery key you typed is not correct. Type it again.

3. Manage-bde failed to unlock volume with the correct password or BitLocker recovery key.

4. BitLocker encrypted drive doesn't accept correct password or BitLocker recovery key.

5. BitLocker encryption on this drive isn't compatible with your version of Windows, try opening the drive using a newer version of Windows.

6. BitLocker drive encryption failed to recover from an abruptly terminated conversion. This could be due to either all conversion logs being corrupted or the media being write-protected.

7. BitLocker encrypted drive is not accessible, parameter incorrect.

8. BitLocker recovery key or password is not working on Windows 10/8/7.

9. Disk Management shows BitLocker encrypted drive as unknown file system.

When encountering the above BitLocker recovery error, BitLocker encrypted drive cannot be unlocked so that you cannot access the data stored in BitLocker encrypted drive. In this situation, you have to find a BitLocker data recovery software to recover lost data from BitLocker encrypted drive.

Reoovery key FAQ

Q: How to get BitLocker recovery key with the recovery key ID?

A: If you are a domain user, contact your administrator to get BitLocker recovery key according to the recovery key ID.

Q: BitLocker encrypted drive doesn't accept the password and recovery key, how to unlock it?

A: In this situation, BitLocker encrypted drive has been corrupted, try M3 BitLocker Recovery to recover lost data.

Q: Why does BitLocker recovery screen prompt for recovery key every boot Windows 10/8/7?

A: You may encounter an issue so that BitLocker asks for a recovery key every boot, for example, BitLocker sees a new device in the boot list or an attached external storage device, it will prompt for the recovery key for the security reasons.

Windows Bitlocker Drive Encryption Recovery Key Generator Online

Q: What causes BitLocker to ask for recovery key?

A: Boot order is changed. The hardware has been changed. The password information has been completely erased from the BitLocker metadata due to accidental unplugging, virus attack, etc.

Q: Is there a BitLocker recovery key generator ?

A: No, every BitLocker encrypted drive has its own unique BitLocker recovery key.

It is always possible to forget the password you set while installing the BitLocker on your drive. In such a situation you should take out the Recovery Key file or the printed recovery key in front of you from where you have placed. With the Recovery Key you can easily unlock the encrypted drive and remove / change the BitLocker password. In this tutorial we’ll go through the steps of unlocking BitLocker encrypted drive using the recovery key.

How to Unlock BitLocker Encrypted Drive Using the Recovery Key?

Insert the BitLocker encrypted drive in the Windows system, you will immediately be prompted to enter the BitLocker password.

Bitlocker Encryption Recovery Key

If you forget your Windows BitLocker password, please click the “I forget my password” link just below the password input text area.

You will be asked for the BitLocker Recovery Key to unlock the drive.

The recovery key was created when BitLocker was first setup. The recovery key might have been saved or printed. Here is the recovery key I saved on my computer.

Copy your BitLocker Recovery Key and paste it into the input box below.

Once the Recovery Key has been accepted, you’ll be granted temporary access to your drive.

Click on Manage BitLocker link, this will provide you with a list of options that you can use to remove or change your BitLocker password.

A BitLocker recovery key is the only option to unlock your encrypted drive in case you forgot the BitLocker password. Without the recovery key you’ll permanently lost access to all the data on your encrypted drive.

Windows Bitlocker Drive Encryption Recovery Key

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