BitLocker Won't Unlock with Correct Password, What To Do?

Published/Updated on Friday, June 14, 2024

M3 Software author Jessica Shee

Written by

Jessica Shee


Summary: This article analyzes the reasons behind the correct BitLocker password not working and tells you how to unlock a BitLocker-encrypted drive with iBoysoft BitLocker Recovery.

BitLocker wont unlock with correct password

"I have an external hard drive encrypted by BitLocker and works fine until I reinstalled the OS one day. I am pretty sure the password is correct, but always gives me the error: The password you entered is incorrect. How should I unlock this BitLocker encrypted external hard drive?"

When initially configuring BitLocker encryption, users are prompted to establish a personalized password. This password is subsequently employed to unlock the drive, enabling access to decrypted data. 

However, if your BitLocker password fails to unlock the drive and returns the 'The password entered is incorrect' message, it raises concerns about accessing the stored data. Fear not. By following the troubleshooting steps below, you can successfully unlock your BitLocker drive and keep your files intact. 

Why Bitlocker won't unlock with the correct password?

The BitLocker password entered is incorrect

The primary reason for the rejection of the correct BitLocker password often stems from changes to the operating system. This could occur if you reinstall the Windows operating system and perform updates. 

The BitLocker password appears to be incorrect if you attempt to unlock the BitLocker drive on a different computer running a Windows version different from the one used when enabling BitLocker encryption. For example, if you encrypt a drive with New Encryption Mode built-in Windows 10, the BitLocker encrypted drive cannot be unlocked with the correct password or BitLocker recovery key on a Windows 7/8 computer.

An additional factor leading to BitLocker not accepting the correct password is potential physical or logical errors within the BitLocker drive. These errors can render the drive incapable of being unlocked using the designated password.

Basic troubleshooting steps for BitLocker password not working

Before taking drastic methods to fix the issue, verify you are entering the accurate BitLocker password.

  1. Double-check the password you are entering to ensure there are no typos. 
  2. Pay attention to uppercase and lowercase characters, as BitLocker passwords are case-sensitive.
  3. Ensure that the keyboard layout is the same as when you initially set up the BitLocker password. 
  4. Try a different keyboard as a malfunctioning keyboard could be the reason for the incorrect password error.
  5. Verify that the CAPS LOCK and Num Lock keys on your keyboard are in the correct state. 

4 methods to fix BitLocker not accepting the correct password

You may be wondering how to unlock your BitLocker-encrypted hard drive if the password is not working. In the article, we put together 4 methods to help you unlock your BitLocker-encrypted drive.

Method 1. Use BitLocker recovery key

The BitLocker recovery key is a special key generated during the initial BitLocker setup. It serves as a backup key to unlock the encrypted drive in case you forget the password or the password can't unlock the drive. 

Step 1. Double-click on the BitLocker-encrypted drive to open it.

Step 2. When prompted to enter the password, click "More options".

More option to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive

Step 3. Click "Enter recovery key". 

Unlock BitLocker drive with recovery key

Microsoft BitLocker provides 3 methods to back up your recovery key - print it, save it to your Microsoft account, or save it as a file. Use the recovery key that matches the Key ID.

If you can't locate the BitLocker recovery key, run the following command to find the recovery key:

  1. In the Windows Start menu, search for CMD.
  2. Right-click on cmd.exe and choose Run as administrator.
  3. Run "manage-bde -protectors F: - get" (without quotes) in the Command Prompt window. Change the drive letter to your BitLocker-encrypted drive.
  4. You will see the BitLocker recovery password. Make sure the password ID matches the Key ID of your drive. 

Step 4. Enter the CORRET BitLocker recovery key and click Unlock. 

enter BitLocker recovery key to unlock drive

Method 2. Unlock BitLocker using the Command Prompt

Another way to unlock your BitLocker drive is to use the "manage-bde" command in Command Prompt. The process is very simple. 

Step 1. In the Windows Start menu, search for CMD.

Step 2. Right-click on cmd.exe and choose Run as administrator.

Step 3. Input the command below and hit Enter. F: is the drive letter and replace it with your BitLocker drive letter.

manage-bde -unlock F: -password

Step 4. Enter the BitLocker password to unlock the drive. 

 Tips: Alternatively, you can run the "manage-bde F: -rp [BitLocker Recovery Key]" command to unlock your BitLocker drive with the BitLocker recovery key through Command Prompt.

Method 3. Install BitLocker recovery software

Unlike typical data recovery processes, BitLocker data recovery necessitates specialized algorithms within the recovery software to effectively recognize and scan BitLocker-encrypted partitions.

iBoysoft BitLocker Recovery stands out as professional software designed for BitLocker data recovery. It can retrieve lost data from formatted, corrupted, failed, inaccessible, unknown, deleted, or lost BitLocker encrypted partitions. This software enables you to install and unlock BitLocker for a free data scan. Give it a try to determine if your BitLocker password or recovery key can be successfully accepted.

Step 1. Download, install, and launch iBoysoft BitLocker Recovery on your computer.

Step 2. Select the BitLocker encrypted drive, and click Next to continue.

iBoysoft BitLocker Recovery

Step 3. Enter the BitLocker password or 48-digit BitLocker recovery key.

Enter BitLocker password or recovery key

Note: If iBoysoft BitLocker Recovery doesn't accept the correct password or 48-digit BitLocker recovery key, it means BitLocker metadata is not intact and your data can't be decrypted. In other words, it is impossible to access or recover your data on this drive.

Step 4. If the BitLocker password or recovery key is accepted, this software will start scanning for files. Wait until the scan is complete.

Step 5. After all your files are found, preview the documents and photos and play the videos and audio to see if your lost files are recoverable.

Preview found files for recovery

Step 6. Select the needed files and click "Recover" to start the recovery.

Method 4. Try another computer

Given that various Windows versions may employ different encryption algorithms, a different Windows operating system might not recognize your original BitLocker password. 

If you have access to the computer where you initially set up BitLocker for your external hard drive, attempt to unlock the drive using that specific computer. Alternatively, if you remember the version or build of the Windows operating system and can locate a computer running the same system, utilize that computer to unlock the drive using the known password.


When BitLocker won't unlock with the correct password, consider using the BitLocker recovery key as the initial troubleshooting step. Ensure that the recovery key aligns with the key ID of the BitLocker partition. If this proves unsuccessful, it is strongly advised to employ iBoysoft BitLocker Recovery to unlock your disk. If the drive can be unlocked with the password or recovery key, use the software to save your files to another storage device for added security.



No, you can't. BitLocker employs strong encryption to protect your data, and the force unlock without the correct password or recovery key is impossible. In addition, forcing BitLocker to unlock could lead to data loss or other complications. 


The numerical password for BitLocker is the BitLocker recovery key. It is a 48-digit numerical password that's generated when you turn on BitLocker Drive Encryption for the first time and is unique to each encrypted drive.


BitLocker generally allows the use of both letters and numbers for password input, whereas the BitLocker recovery key consists exclusively of numerical digits. If you find yourself unable to enter letters to unlock BitLocker, you should likely be inputting the recovery key.


If you have multiple recovery keys (perhaps stored in different locations), try each one to see if any of them work.