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I had a BitLocker-encrypted drive in my laptop that crashed last night. I have a new hard drive I am building in the laptop but there is some data on the old drive I want to try and recover. I have the recovery key so that is not an issue.

I have placed the old drive in a USB SATA enclosure and connected it to the new installation. The drive is visible as "Disk 1" in disk management but shows that the disk is Not Initialized. When I try to Initialize the disk I get a CDC error.

The drive is also not visible through the Bitlocker interface. How can I use the recovery key to access what readable contents may remain on this drive?

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Can you plug the drive in via SATA/eSATA? Perhaps then windows will recognize it as a BDE drive as opposed to an unreadable device. But, there's a very real possibility that the drive crashed in such a way that it will continue to register as uninitialized. –  Zac B Mar 13 '12 at 15:01

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I have a feeling Bitlocker's drives might not behave properly when connected by USB like this.

A friend's seemed to have failed today and connecting it by a USB adapter to another computer had it report as uninitialized unallocated space in Disk Management. I plugged it back in to the SATA interface of its host Laptop and surprisingly it worked again.

Maybe it had fallen out or something. Anyway, my point is: Even working Bitlocker drives may not be functional through USB-connections – try and connect it to a SATA port!

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It sounds like the disk might be damaged. Try the BitLocker Repair Tool to recover the drive.

From MS:

The BitLocker Repair Tool (Repair-bde) is a command-line tool included with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. This tool can be used to access encrypted data on a severely damaged hard disk if the drive was encrypted by using BitLocker Drive Encryption. Repair-bde can reconstruct critical parts of the drive and salvage recoverable data as long as a valid recovery password or recovery key is used to decrypt the data. The Repair-bde command-line tool is intended for use when the operating system does not start, or when you cannot start the BitLocker Recovery Console. If a drive has been physically damaged, it may not be recoverable.

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