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I have a HD protected by Bitlocker. Login, password and restorekey are unknown and all I want to do is wipe the whole drive. When I try to boot from a windows installation cd I have no access to the drive since it asks for the restore key I don't have.

Is there a way to format the whole drive to make it usable again?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Start a Linux Live CD like the one from GParted and delete all (Bitlocker enabled) partitions.

If that doesn't help there is still the possibility to wipe the complete disk - after overwriting the first few megabytes the HDD will be recognized as fresh new HDD by Windows. You can do that for example using DBAN but don't forget to disconnect all the other HDDs before using it - otherwise you may delete the wrong HDD and loose all your data.

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Deleting the partition didn't work for me - I just wasn't able to select the partition ('No partition was selected.')

However, once you select the USB drive (double check that you have the right drive selected!), the whole disk can also be wiped out like this:

clean
[DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk.]

create partition primary
[DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition.]

select partition 1
[Partition 1 is now the selected partition.]

active
[DiskPart marked the current partition as active.]

format fs=FAT32 quick
[100 percent completed
DiskPart successfully formatted the volume.]

assign
[DiskPart successfully assigned the drive letter or mount point.]

exit
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I figured it out - You do this:

  1. Hit Win+R to open the run dialogue box and type diskpart and hit “OK” to open a black command prompt window.
  2. Type list disk to display all the disks of your computer.
  3. Type select disk n. Here n stands for the disk you want to work well.
  4. Type list partition to display all the volumes on the hard drive.
  5. Type select partition n. Here n stands for the volume you want to delete.
  6. Type delete partition override to get rid of the volume.
  7. Type exit to close the window. This will wipe all the data on the USB/Partition.
  8. Take your USB out and put it back in again.
  9. You then need to go into Computer Management > Disk Management
  10. Right click the USB/partition > Make new volume.
  11. Then follow the prompts.. Next > next > next - then your done!
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I just install Windows and when it comes to the time where setup asks you where you want to install Windows, I use "advanced options" to delete all partitions. Then let setup create a new partition for you and presto, you're done.

Did this numerous times on a bunch of notebooks we aquired for recycling (I work at a thrift store of some sort), which were all encrypted with Bitlocker. It must have been at least 100 notebooks from a office centre that went belly-up, no problems what-so-ever.

Hope this helps! Grtz, TDM

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I booted from a Windows 7 install Thumb drive though, not a cd..... –  TDM Mar 9 '13 at 14:03

Press SHIFT-F10 or hit 'repair' in from the Windows installation to open up the command line, then execute the diskpart command and delete the partition, e.g.: list disk, select disk 0 or any other identifying the correct disk, list partition, select partition 1, or the encrypted one , in case there are multiple partitions, then delete partition override.

You can then resume the install procedure normally to repartition and format the drive.

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