Windows 7 / Getting Started

How to Recover Data Protected by BitLocker

When you use BitLocker, the encrypted volumes will be locked if the encryption key is not available, causing BitLocker to enter recovery mode. Likely causes for the encryption key's unavailability include:

  • Modification of one of the boot files.
  • The BIOS is modified and the TPM is disabled.
  • The TPM is cleared.
  • An attempt is made to boot without the TPM, PIN, or USB key being available.
  • The BitLocker-encrypted disk is moved to a new computer.

After the drive is locked, you can boot only to recovery mode. In recovery mode, you enter the recovery password using the function keys on your keyboard (just as you do when entering the PIN), pressing F1 for the digit 1, F2 for the digit 2, and so forth, with F10 being the digit 0. You must use function keys because localized keyboard support is not yet available at this phase of startup.

If you have the recovery key on a USB flash drive, you can insert the recovery key and press Esc to restart the computer. The recovery key will be read automatically during startup.

If you cancel recovery, the Windows Boot Manager will provide instructions for using Startup Repair to fix a startup problem automatically. Do not follow these instructions because Startup Repair cannot access the encrypted volume. Instead, restart the computer and enter the recovery key.

More Info A dditionally, you can use the BitLocker Repair Tool, Repair-bde.exe, to help recover data from an encrypted volume. If a BitLocker failure prevents Windows 7 from starting, you can run repair-bde from the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) command prompt. For more information about repair-bde, run repair-bde /? at a command prompt.

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In this tutorial:

  1. Managing Disks and File Systems
  2. Overview of Partitioning Disks
  3. How to Choose Between MBR or GPT
  4. Converting from MBR to GPT Disks
  5. GPT Partitions
  6. Choosing Basic or Dynamic Disks
  7. Working with Volumes
  8. How to Create a Simple Volume
  9. How to Create a Spanned Volume
  10. How to Create a Striped Volume
  11. How to Resize a Volume
  12. How to Delete a Volume
  13. How to Create and Use a Virtual Hard Disk
  14. File System Fragmentation
  15. Backup And Restore
  16. How File Backups Work
  17. File and Folder Backup Structure
  18. How System Image Backups Work
  19. How to Start a System Image Backup from the Command Line
  20. How to Restore a System Image Backup
  21. System Image Backup Structure
  22. Best Practices for Computer Backups
  23. How to Manage Backup Using Group Policy Settings
  24. Previous Versions and Shadow Copies
  25. How to Manage Shadow Copies
  26. How to Restore a File with Previous Versions
  27. How to Configure Previous Versions with Group Policy Settings
  28. Windows ReadyBoost
  29. BitLocker Drive Encryption
  30. How BitLocker Encrypts Data
  31. How BitLocker Protects Data
  32. TPM with External Key (Require Startup USB Key At Every Startup)
  33. TPM with PIN (Require PIN At Every Startup)
  34. TPM with PIN and External Key
  35. BitLocker To Go
  36. BitLocker Phases
  37. Requirements for Protecting the System Volume with BitLocker
  38. How to Enable the Use of BitLocker on the System Volume on Computers Without TPM
  39. How to Enable BitLocker Encryption on System Volumes
  40. How to Enable BitLocker Encryption on Data Volumes
  41. How to Manage BitLocker Keys on a Local Computer
  42. How to Manage BitLocker from the Command Line
  43. How to Recover Data Protected by BitLocker
  44. How to Disable or Remove BitLocker Drive Encryption
  45. How to Decommission a BitLocker Drive Permanently
  46. How to Prepare AD DS for BitLocker
  47. How to Configure a Data Recovery Agent
  48. How to Manage BitLocker with Group Policy
  49. The Costs of BitLocker
  50. Windows 7 Encrypting File System
  51. How to Export Personal Certificates
  52. How to Import Personal Certificates
  53. How to Grant Users Access to an Encrypted File
  54. Symbolic Links
  55. How to Create Symbolic Links
  56. How to Create Relative or Absolute Symbolic Links
  57. How to Create Symbolic Links to Shared Folders
  58. How to Use Hard Links
  59. Disk Quotas
  60. How to Configure Disk Quotas on a Single Computer
  61. How to Configure Disk Quotas from a Command Prompt
  62. How to Configure Disk Quotas by Using Group Policy Settings
  63. Disk Tools
  64. EFSDump
  65. SDelete
  66. Streams
  67. Sync
  68. MoveFile and PendMoves