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On a Windows 7 laptop with Bitlocker enabled, is it possible to access the data on the hard drive in another way if the installation becomes corrupted? Normally, I just enter the PIN when I start the laptop, but when connected to another machine, it wants a recovery key, which I don't have.

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migrated from serverfault.com Oct 3 '12 at 23:56

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2 Answers

You're probably out of luck. Without that key, there's no way to get the data. If there were, that would render Bitlocker pretty useless.

When you set up Bitlocker, you were prompted to write down/keep safe your recovery key for a reason.

Group Policy can be configured to store recovery keys in the AD object for the computer. If this is the case, you should follow Microsoft's documented procedure for recovering the key from AD and unlocking the drive. If this policy is not enforced in your organization, GOTO line1.

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Assuming that your system hasn't failed yet, you should be able to make a copy of your bitlocker recovery key. Here is a link to a Microsoft page that describes what a recovery key can do for you and how to copy it off of the system so that it will be available after a failure. Basically, it should be "Start button"->"Control Panel"->"Security"->"Bitlocker Drive Encryption", then "Manage BitLocker", and then follow the instructions.

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