I was about to do a fresh install of Windows 7 64bit on a laptop currently running Windows 7 32 bit with a Bitlocker encrypted 232GB hard-drive with 1.54GB free. I have already backed up all the data on the hard drive to another location.

On attempting the install I was informed I would need to disable Bitlocker. I suspended bitlocker and backed up the key to a USB stick, removed the stick and then decided to decrypt the drive as well as I want a complete fresh start with this computer.

I anticipated the decryption taking a long time but after an hour the decryption hasn't even started. Instead my computer is stuck on the same screen, with no progress bar, percentage or pause button. Apparently I need 10 reputation to post an image, which isn't terribly helpful. All I can see if the standard Control Panel bitlocker screen and under C: it simply says 'Decrypting'. I cannot see the additional floating window that shows progress.

The computer hasn't frozen, Bitlocker is shown as running in Task Manager and the CPU is at a steady 5%.

So what do I do? How long should I wait for the process to start. I don't want to corrupt the drive by having it semi decrypted but I can't even tell if it has started.

Many Thanks for any advice,


  • 1
    Its pretty safe to say the process has stalled. Furthermore if the data is backed up, you don't have to decrypt the data. You are already going to simply format the partition anyways. Best to format a partition of random noise then noise of decrypted data.
    – Ramhound
    Jul 12 '14 at 0:43
  • Hi Ramhound - thanks for your answer. So it sounds like I should stop the process. How would I do this safely though, as there aren't any pause / cancel buttons? Just kill the process in Task Manager?
    – Ad_S
    Jul 12 '14 at 0:46
  • You were going to wipe the data. You just stop the process. Its halted and even if you don't stop the process it won't finish.
    – Ramhound
    Jul 12 '14 at 2:47
  • Okay cool, I was more worried about the integrity of the drive compared to the data. I wasn't sure if a error during de/encryption could cause damage to the disk that wouldn't allow me to correctly format it or install the new OS on it. Thanks for your help, the process stopped fine and the system rebooted as if nothing happened, so I'll crack on with that fresh OS.
    – Ad_S
    Jul 12 '14 at 3:02

I had the same scenario as described by Ad_S. After 3 hours of that Decrypting... with no status bar screen I found this site. Before stopping the process from task manager, I decided to restart my machine and see if that cleared the apparent stall of decryption as another site informed me that even if power is lost during decryption that upon restart, Bitlocker will just resume the decryption where it left off.

Result: A popup in the taskbar upon restart that informed me my decryption was in process and to click the popup for status. Clicking the popup opened up the Bitlocker Drive Encryption progress small-window that then was already at 84.7 percent. Now the status bar progress window has stayed visible and decryption goes on....at 90.7percent now. So it WAS decrypting for the last 3 hours even though the status bar window never opened up.

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