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This question is related to my attempts of getting Bitlocker to work with a Crucial M500 SSD's hardware encryption (i.e. Windows iDrive) - on Windows 8.1 on a Lenovo T440p. I have 2 SSDs in the laptop. The boot disk is the one that Lenovo shipped. It does not have hardware encryption, and it is protected with Bitlocker.

The 2nd (data) disk is a 940GB M500. To make the long story short (and there is plenty of chatter about this on the Crucial and Lenovo forums), it is not possible to turn on Bitlocker on this disk with an installation of Windows 8 that uses a certain Intel driver.

I know that it is possible to get this working if I wipe both disks, reinstall Windows from scratch, and turn on Bitlocker on the D: drive before allowing Windows to install any drivers. But I don't want to install Windows from scratch. Not yet.

My plan for a workaround was to swap the boot SSD for a spare one, install Windows from scratch, and to turn on Bitlocker on the D: drive with hardware encryption. This is instantaneous, because the data on the disk does not have to be encrypted again. This worked after I wiped the M500 with PartEd Magic.

Then, so I thought, I should be able to put the original boot disk back into the laptop, and I should be able to access the D: drive by providing the password and key file. This did not work, unfortunately. As a matter of fact, I was not able to access the M500 with any tool, not the Disk Editor, nor Bitlocker. Any attempt the access the drive would lock up the machine.

So my concern and question - what do you do with a Bitlocker-protected drive if there is a hardware problem and it can no longer be read by the host computer? Does it make a difference if it uses hardware encryption of software encryption? Is the data inaccessible for good? What is the purpose of saving the key file, if the disk cannot be accessed at all?

I am aware of and understand the importance of backups. I don't have 1TB backed up in real time at all times, though.

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