I currently have a PC with three SSDs in it: one NVME, and two normal SSDs. The NVMe has Windows 10 on it, one SSD also has Windows 10, and another SSD has Ubuntu. As you can imagine, when I first boot my PC, I am greeted with a grub screen asking if I wish to boot into Windows Boot Manager or into Ubuntu.

When selecting Windows Boot Manager, I am then greeted by the actual Windows Boot Manager screen where I can select one of two partitions: my "Workstation" and my "Gaming" partition. The Workstation partition is my NVMe, and the "Gaming" is the normal SSD.

Both drives are encrypted with Bitlocker. When selecting either partition, a bitlocker screen shows up asking me to enter my password (a password I generated).

I can boot just fine into the Gaming partition. I enter the password, and everything works - I can go to my normal user login screen. However, very recently, the Workstation does not work. I enter the password in the first screen, and it is accepted; but Windows fails to boot, and my computer essentially restarts.

If this happens enough, Windows will attempt to do a startup repair. It fails, then I am met with the startup repair menu, if you know what I'm talking about. Any of the advanced startup repair options (repair drive, use command prompt, etc) ask me to enter my bitlocker recovery key.

My issue is that this recovery key is not accepted at this screen at all. I know I have the correct one. It won't accept it. What is even more frustrating is that, during the initial login screen, where I am asked to enter the bitlocker password, I can choose to enter the recovery key. It works there, but doesn't work at the startup repair menu, no matter how many times I double check I entered it correctly. The identifier matches the one on file perfectly as well, so I know I'm entering the correct key. So, to recap:

  1. I boot up my PC.
  2. I am select Windows Boot Manager from the grub menu.
  3. I select "Workstation" from the Windows Boot Menu.
  4. I enter my password OR recovery key, and they are accepted, and Windows attempts to boot.
  5. It fails to boot and the computer restarts.
  6. After enough attempts (steps 1-4), Windows no longer attempts to boot into Windows OS, but will boot into the startup repair menu.
  7. Any of the sub-menu options in the advanced options that could potentially help me require me to enter the bitlocker recovery key.

The bitlocker recovery key at stage 7 does not work. It works at stage 4. The identifier it presents in both steps 7 and 4 are the same identifier. Just to be safe, I entered the recovery key for the "Gaming" drive, but that did not work either.

I am at a loss. Why is bitlocker failing to decrypt the drive? I don't understand what is happening. I can surmise that, after entering the password, bitlocker does not fully decrypt the drive and therefore cannot login. I have no clue. Am I just SOL?

1 Answer 1


I am a network admin with 16 years of Bitlocker experience (whole network). This is very odd, never seen a key not getting accepted in the recovery environment. What I would do: boot the gaming installation and from there, try to mount and unlock the drive. If it unlocks, backup your data, afterwards, do a checkdisk with error correction on that drive.

  • Yeah, I literally of that doing a backup like that right after I made this post. Did not think of trying to repair the boot sector that way though, should be completely viable. Thanks, hopefully that works. And, yes, very odd. It is mind-boggling how you can be in an area of expertise for so long and see other people experience weird errors that make no sense at all. I would love to know why it isn't working in step 7. Especially since it works in step 4
    – John Lexus
    Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 8:47
  • Wow, okay, that's not working. I can't unlock the drive using my password or recovery key in my Gaming drive. I don't understand why bitlocker is suddenly acting up. Could it be because there are two drives encrypted on the same computer? I literally don't understand.
    – John Lexus
    Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 8:51
  • Parallel installations are no problem. Last try: boot win10 setup from usb, when at the language selection prompt, press shift and F10 together so that a command line will open. There, use manage-bde -unlock c: -rp 123456-123455...(your recovery key) - please note that setup might mount the drive as something else (not c:), so try one by one: d:, e;,... Commented Aug 4, 2022 at 8:08

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