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I turned on Bitlocker on drive F:\ which has alot of important content in it.

Now when I try to unlock it the PC hangs. Only restart fixes this. I know the password, but the recover key is lost.

Is there anything I can do to restore my files?

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migrated from serverfault.com Feb 17 '11 at 11:20

This question came from our site for professional system and network administrators.

5 Answers 5

at first sight http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee706522(WS.10).aspx looks good:

  • Manage-bde:
    This tool can be used to turn on or turn off BitLocker, specify unlock mechanisms, update recovery methods, and unlock BitLocker-protected data drives."

The site of Manage-bde gives:

-off 
Syntax manage-bde –off Volume [-ComputerName Name]

So, you can try to:

manage-bde -off F:
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Remove the drive, connect it to another computer capable of reading Bitlocker drives, then use the recovery key that you should have written down/backed up to disk somewhere safe to unlock it.

If you don't have the recovery key, and unlocking it normally is hosed then you're screwed. Since your data is important, I'm assuming you have a backup of it somewhere. Restore it from that.

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Try to restart computer without F: drive - unplug it if it's removable. Once computer is up and no longer hanging, plug F: back in and try to use "manage-bde -off F:" command that akira mentioned above.

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what if F: is my hard-drive's partition? How would I supposed to do? –  Mohammad Faisal Apr 22 '13 at 15:12

This sounds like a hardware problem. My suggestion would be to first try to unlock the drive using the manage-bde utility.

  1. Open an elevated cmd prompt
  2. Type manage-bde F: -status and look under "Key Protectors" to ensure that "Password" appears.
  3. Type manage-bde F: -unlock -pw and type your password to unlock the drive.

If this fails, I suggest trying to unlock the drive on another machine in case the hardware problem is on your first computer. The computer will need to have Win7 installed. Alternatively, you can create a bootable WinRE (not WinPE) DVD, which will also allow you to manage BitLocker and attempt to unlock the drive. Instructions for this are here here.

You said that the recovery key is lost but if you have the recovery password (the 48-digit number generated during BitLocker setup) you can recover the drive using the repair-bde command line tool included in Win7. If your computer was connected to a network with Active Directory, your recovery password was backed up to AD and can be recovered by contacting your AD admin.

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Another, albeit, desperate method might involve a system recovery tool like, NTFS Undelete. When you install BitLocker on your drives you are forced to back the key up to a removable drive.

If in your case this was onto an infrequently used USB stick and you simply deleted the key from that stick and haven't used the stick much since then, it might be possible to pull your recovery file off the stick by scanning it with a tool like NTFS Undelete.

It's an absolute long shot but desperate does as desperate is.

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