How/Where to find lost Bitlocker recovery key on Windows 10/8/7?

Updated by Admin to Bitlocker Recovery on June 11th, 2019

Summary: This article will show you what is Bitlocker recovery key, how/where to find lost Bitlocker recovery key, what is Bitlocker recovery and how to do Bitlocker recovery on Windows 10/8/7.

Table of contents

What is Bitlocker recovery key?

A BitLocker recovery key is a special key that was automatically generated when encrypting the specific drive with Bitlocker drive encryption.

Bitlocker recovery key is same as the key (it stores in a .BEK file named like BitLocker Recovery Key 444C8E16-45E7-4F23-96CE-3B3FA04D2189.BEK) on the following screen:

Bitlocker recovery key

Bitlocker recovery key format: 419595-387156-44334-315590-197472-399399-320562-361383

You can use the recovery key to gain access to your Bitlocker encrypted drive. A recovery key can also be used to gain access to your files and folders on a removable storage device (such as an external hard drive, USB drive, flash drive) that is encrypted using BitLocker To Go.

If for some reason you forget the password, you can access the Bitlocker encrypted drive with recovery key.

Where is Bitlocker recovery key stored?

Recovery key may be saved in a number of ways depending on the version of Windows OS you installed:

For Windows 7, where is Bitlocker recovery key stored?

  • The recovery key may be stored as a txt file
  • The recovery key may be stored to a USB flash drive
  • The recovery key may be physically printed

For Windows 8, where is Bitlocker recovery key stored?

  • The recovery key may be stored as a txt file
  • The recovery key may be stored to a USB flash drive
  • The recovery key may be physically printed
  • The Bitlocker recovery key may be stored to your Microsoft account
  • Four options to save the recovery key

    For Windows 10, where is Bitlocker recovery key stored?

  • The recovery key may be stored as a txt file
  • The recovery key may be stored to a USB flash drive
  • The recovery key may be physically printed
  • The recovery key may be stored to your Microsoft account
  • The recovery key may be stored to your Azure Active Directory account

So if you are a non-domain user, the Bitlocker recovery key may be stored to your Microsoft account, a USB flash drive, a file or a printed paper.

If you are a domain user, the Bitlocker recovery key may be stored to Active Directory (AD), please contact your administrator to get Bitlocker recovery key.

Option 1: In your Microsoft account

To retrieve the recovery key that was stored to onedrive, please visit the site:https://account.microsoft.com/devices/recoverykey, sign in with your Microsoft account and then you will see the recovery key.

Option 2: Find the Bitlocker recovery key on a USB flash drive

To find the recovery key that may be saved to a USB flash drive, please insert the USB flash drive into your computer and view it.

Bitlocker recovery key on a USB drive

Option 3: Find the Bitlocker recovery key in a txt file

The recovery key may be saved as a txt file in your computer. If you have not deleted it, please search Bitlocker Recovery Key.txt in your computer.

Bitlocker recovery key

Option 4: Find the Bitlocker recovery key in a document

If you printed the Bitlocker recovery key to a "Microsoft Print to PDF", please search for pdf file on your computer.

Print Bitlocker recovery key

Option 5: In Active Directory

If you are a domain user, the recovery key may be saved to Active Directory (AD), please contact your administrator to get Bitlocker recovery key.

Bitlocker Recovery Password Viewer can locate and view BitLocker recovery key that is stored in Active Directory (AD).

In Active Directory Users and Computers, locate and then click the container in which the computer is located. For example, click the Computers container.

Right-click the computer object, and then click Properties.

In the ComputerName Properties dialog box, click the BitLocker Recovery tab to view the BitLocker recovery passwords that are associated with the particular computer.

Option 6: In your Azure Active Directory account

For work PCs where you sign in with an Azure Active Directory account, to get your recovery key, see the device info for your Microsoft Azure account.

How to verify if the Bitlocker recovery key is correct?

To verify if this is the correct Bitlocker recovery key, please compare the start of the full Bitlocker recovery key identifier with the recovery key ID value that is displayed on your Bitlocker encrypted drive, see below example:

Bitlocker recovery key ID

How to find Bitlocker recovery key ID value displayed on your Bitlocker encrypted drive: Double click Bitlocker encrypted drive in My Computer or This PC, click "More Options" and click "Enter recovery key", then you will see the recovery key ID displayed on your Bitlocker encrypted drive.

What is Bitlocker recovery?

BitLocker recovery is the process by which you can restore access to a Bitlocker encrypted drive in the event that you cannot unlock the Bitlocker encrypted drive normally. If it is a Bitlocker encrypted operating system drive, the drive can be mounted as a data drive on another computer to rescue data or a Bitlocker recovery boot disk is needed for data recovery.

How to do Bitlocker recovery?

Unlike common data recovery, Bitlocker recovery requires intact Bitlocker metadata and password or Bitlocker recovery key to decrypt data from Bitlocker encrypted drive, so in order to do Bitlocker recovery, a professional Bitlocker recovery software is required.

M3 Bitlocker Recovery is a professional Bitlocker data recovery software which can recover data from failed Bitlocker encrypted drive, recover data from corrupted Bitlocker encrypted drive, recover data from inaccessible Bitlocker encrypted drive, recover data from lost/deleted Bitlocker encrypted partition, etc. after supplying the password or recovery key on Windows 10/8/7/XP and Windows Server 2016/2012/2008/2003.

Tutorial to recover data from Bitlocker encrypted drive:

Step 1: Download, install and launch M3 Bitlocker Recovery on your Windows computer.

Bitlocker data recovery software

Step 2: Select the Bitlocker encrypted hard drive and click Next to continue.

Step 3: Enter the password or 48-digit Bitlocker recovery key to decrypt data from the Bitlocker encrypted hard drive.

M3 Bitlocker Recovery - Enter the password or 48-digit Bitlocker recovery key

Step 4: M3 Bitlocker Recovery is scanning and decrypting the data from the specific Bitlocker encrypted drive.

Scan data from Bitlocker encrypted drive

Step 5: After all your files are found, please select them and click "Recover" to start data recovery.

Recover data from Bitlocker encrypted drive

If there are some recovered files which cannot be opened, please check "Enable brute decryption" option and recover them again.

Recovery key FAQ

Q: I cannot find recovery key, how to unlock Bitlocker encrypted drive?

A: If you don't have the password either, there is no way to unlock Bitlocker encrypted drive without the password and recovery key except for using Bitlocker password brute-force cracking tool.

Q: How to get Bitlocke recovery key with the recovery key ID?

A: If you are a domain user, contact your administrator to get Bitlocker recovery key according to the recovery key ID.

Q: Bitlocker encrypted drive doesn't accept the password and recovery key, how to unlock it?

A: In this situation, Bitlocker encrypted drive has been corrupted, please try M3 Bitlocker Recovery to recover data from Bitlocker encrypted drive firstly.

Q: Why does Bitlocker recovery screen prompt for recovery key every boot Windows 10/8/7?

A: You may encounter an issue so that BitLocker asks for a recovery key every boot, for example, BitLocker sees a new device in the boot list or an attached external storage device, it will prompt for the reccovery key for the security reasons.

Q: What causes Bitlocker to ask for recovery key?

A: The boot order is changed, the hardware has been changed or the password information has been completely erased from the Bitlocker metadata due to accidental unplugging, virus attack, etc.

Q: Is there a Bitlocker recovery key generator ?

A: No, every Bitlocker encrypted drive has its own unique Bitlocker recovery key.