How to unlock BitLocker drive without password and recovery key?

Updated by Tim to BitLocker Recovery on April 29th, 2021

After forgetting BitLocker password and losing BitLocker recovery key, many users want to know: How to recover data from BitLocker encrypted drive without password and recovery key?

On this article, you will learn three methods to open BitLocker encrypted drive:

Three questions many users ask after forgetting the password and recovery key

1. Can data recovery software recover data from BitLocker encrypted drive without password and recovery key?

The answer is No. As we know, BitLocker is a disk-level encryption solution. So if you forgot BitLocker password and lost BitLocker recovery key, data recovery software (Including M3 BitLocker Recovery) doesn't and won't break into your BitLocker-encrypted drive. This is as much of a policy issue as it is a technological limitation.

If data recovery software can recover BitLocker-encrypted drive data without password and recovery key, is your data still safe? Of course not.

2. Is there a BitLocker recovery key generator?

The answer is No. Every BitLocker-encrypted drive has its unique 48-digit BitLocker recovery key which was automatically generated when setting up the BitLocker drive encryption.

3. I cannot find the BitLocker password and recovery key, can I recover data after formatting the BitLocker drive?

The answer is No. BitLocker is a disk-level encryption solution. So BitLocker data recovery still requires the password or recovery key to decrypt data from the BitLocker-encrypted drive.

How to open BitLocker drive without password and recovery key?

If your BitLocker-encrypted drive already has stored important data, recovering the forgotten BitLocker password or recovery key is the only thing to unlock this drive. This is as much of a policy issue as it is a technological limitation.

If your BitLocker-encrypted drive doesn't store any important data, formatting can easily remove the BitLocker encryption from the drive without requiring the password and recovery key.

How to recover the forgotten BitLocker password

There are two methods which can help you recover the forgotten BitLocker password:

Method 1: Attempt access with your usual passwords

Despite the warning to create a strong password, many users still use the usual words or phrases as their passwords. So the usual passwords are your first choice.

Try to relax and remember the passwords that you may have used in the past. With some luck, you may get the correct password to unlock your BitLocker-encrypted drive.

If you are sure BitLocker password is correct, but BitLocker doesn't accept the correct password, download our BitLocker recovery software: M3 BitLocker Recovery and have a try.

If you are still not luck with these usual passwords, try other methods listed as below.

Method 2: Using BitLocker password recovery tool

BitCracker - It is the first open source password cracking tool for memory units encrypted with BitLocker. By means of a dictionary attack, BitCracker tries to find the password or recovery key to decrypt BitLocker encrypted drive.

Thegrideon BitLocker Password - It is an advanced password recovery tool for encrypted BitLocker and BitLocker to Go volumes protected with a password. Several attacks can be queued: dictionary based, brute-force, mixed for precise search range setup and fastest recovery.

Elcomsoft Distributed Password Recovery - It can break the complex passwords by running the common attacks.

Passware Kit - It can run the common attacks to recover the forgotten password.

How to recover the lost BitLocker recovery key

Microsoft's BitLocker drive encryption always forces you to save a recovery key when you set it up. If you cannot recover the forgotten BitLocker password, retreiving the BitLocker recovery key is the only option to unlock your encrypted drive.

Method 1: Find BitLocker recovery key from onedrive, etc.

You may have stored the recovery key online onedrive with a Microsoft account, saved it to a file, or printed that recovery key, etc.

If BitLocker doesn't accept the correct recovery key, download our BitLocker recovery software: M3 BitLocker Recovery and have a try.

Method 2: Search key file in your computer

BitLocker recovery key is stored in a .BEK file named like BitLocker Recovery Key 444C8E16-45E7-4F23-96CE-3B3FA04D2189.BEK as below:

BitLocker recovery key

So you can search BitLocker recovery key file in your computer by typing *.bek in the search bar of Windows Taskbar.

If you find some files are lost after unlocking this drive, try M3 BitLocker Recovery to recover lost data. See below tutorials:

Method 3: Scan the deleted key file in your computer

If you cannot find BitLocker recovery key file by Windows search, try to scan your computer and find the deleted BitLocker recovery key file.

Download free data recovery software: M3 Data Recovery to scan your computer now.

Method 4: Using BitLocker cracking tool

There are three BitLocker cracking tools: Passware Kit, Elcomsoft Forensic Disk Decryptor and BitCracker. They can extract BitLocker recovery key by analyzing the memory of your computer.

Passware Kit - It can extract recovery key using live memory analysis.

While BitLocker encrypted drive was mounted, Passware Kit scans the physical memory image file and extracts all the encryption keys.

While BitLocker encrypted drive was not mounted, Passware Kit scans the system hibernation file (hiberfil.sys) and extracts all the encryption keys.

Youtube video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPt4UcvvgG8

Elcomsoft Forensic Disk Decryptor - It can utilize the binary encryption key contained in the computer's RAM. It could find and extract that key by analyzing the memory dump or hibernation file.

Youtube video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0npTlOq6q_0

BitCracker - It is the first open source password cracking tool for memory units encrypted with BitLocker. By means of a dictionary attack, BitCracker tries to find the password or recovery key to decrypt BitLocker encrypted drive.

Method 5: Using a new hacking method

This new attack method requires physical access to the BitLocker-encrypted drive. It could extract BitLocker recovery key from the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip of the target computer by hard wiring the motherboard through a field programming gate array.

How to remove BitLocker encryption without password and recovery key

If your BitLocker-encrypted drive doesn't store any important data, formatting can easily remove the BitLocker encryption without requiring the password and recovery key.

Steps to format the BitLocker-encrypted drive on Windows:

Step 1: Right click on the BitLocker-encrypted drive in My Computer (This PC) or Disk Management.

Step 2: Select "Format...".

Format the drive

Step 3: Select file system type and allocation unit size.

Step 4: Set the volume label.

Step 5: Click "Start" to format the BitLocker encrypted drive.

How to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive?

There arw two ways to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive: Password and recovery key.

Method 1: Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive with the password

The password is the fast way to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive. Following are two methods to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive with password:

Option 1: Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive in Windows explorer

Step 1: Open My Computer (or This PC) on the desktop.

Step 2: Double-click on BitLocker encrypted drive in Windows explorer.

Step 3: Enter the password on the unlock window.

Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive

Step 4: Click Unlock to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive.

If there are some files missing after unlocking this drive, try M3 BitLocker Recovery to recover lost data.

Option 2: Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive from command prompt

Manage-bde is a command-line tool. It can be used for scripting BitLocker operations, such as unlock BitLocker encrypted drive, turn off BitLocker, change the password.

Step 1: Type cmd in search bar of Windows Taskbar.

Step 2: Right click cmd.exe from the search results and then choose "Run as administrator" from the menu to allow Administrator privilege.

Command prompt

Step 3: Type the command: manage-bde -unlock X: -password and then press Enter.

Tips: X is the drive letter of your BitLocker encrypted drive.

Step 4: Enter the password and then press Enter to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive.

Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive with manage-bde

If manage-bde failed to unlock this BitLocker volume, try M3 BitLocker Recovery to recover lost data.

Method 2: Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive with recovery key

If you forgot the BitLocker password, but you saved 48-digit recovery key, BitLocker encrypted drive can be unlocked with 48-digit recovery key.

Option 1: Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive in Windows explorer

Step 1: Open My Computer (or This PC) on the desktop.

Step 2: Double-click on the BitLocker encrypted drive in Windows explorer.

Step 3: Click "More Options".

Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive

Step 4: Click "Enter recovery key".

Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive

Step 5: According to the BitLocker recovery key ID, enter the corresponding 48-digit recovery key and then click Unlock.

Enter recovery key to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive

If you find some files are lost after unlocking this drive, try M3 BitLocker Recovery to recover lost data.

Option 2: Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive from command prompt

Step 1: Type cmd in search bar of Windows Taskbar.

Step 2: Right click on cmd.exe from the search results and then choose "Run as administrator" from the menu.

Step 3: Type the command: manage-bde -unlock X: -RecoveryPassword and press Enter.

Tips: X is the drive letter of your BitLocker encrypted drive.

Step 4: Enter the recovery key and press Enter to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive.

If manage-bde failed to unlock this BitLocker volume, try M3 BitLocker Recovery to recover data.

If you find some files are lost after unlocking this drive, try M3 BitLocker Recovery to recover data.

How to reset the forgotten BitLocker password

After unlocking the BitLocker encrypted drive with recovery key, you can reset the forgotten BitLocker password.

FAQ about unlocking BitLocker encrypted drive

Following are several FAQs about unlocking the BitLocker encrypted drive:

Q: Is there a BitLocker recovery key generator free download?

A: Every BitLocker-encrypted drive has its unique BitLocker recovery key which was automatically generated when setting up the BitLocker drive encryption, so there is no BitLocker recovery key generator free download online.

Q: Is there a way to bypass BitLocker recovery key?

A: No, but you can recover the lost BitLocker recovery key through the above methods: Passware Kit, Elcomsoft Forensic Disk Decryptor, Elcomsoft Distributed Password Recovery.

Q: How to get BitLocker recovery key from cmd?

A: First, unlock BitLocker-encrypted drive with the password. Second, type the command: manage-bde -protectors driveletter: -get in cmd and then get 48-digit BitLocker recovery key.

Q: How to remove Bitlocker without password and recovery key?

A: If there is no important data, you can remove BitLocker encryption from the drive by reformatting. If there is important data stored in this drive, you need to unlock BitLocker-encrypted drive with the above methods and then remove BitLocker encryption.

Q: How to unlock BitLocker-encrypted drive from command prompt without recovery key?

A: Type the command: manage-bde -unlock driveletter: -password and then enter the password.

Q: How to unlock BitLocker-encrypted drive from command prompt without password?

A: Type the command: manage-bde -unlock driveletter: -RecoveryPassword and then enter recovery key.

Q: How to unlock BitLocker-encrypted drive from command prompt without password and recovery key?

A: In this situation, there is no way to unlock BitLocker-encrypted drive from command prompt.

Q: I mistakenly formatted the BitLocker encrypted drive without password and recovery key, is there a way to recover lost data?

A: No, BitLocker data recovery requires the password or recovery key to decrypt data.

Q: Can I use M3 Data Recovery or M3 BitLocker Recovery to recover data from BitLocker-encrypted drive without password or recovery key?

A: No, M3 BitLocker Recovery and M3 Data Recovery Software don't and won't break into your BitLocker-encrypted drive.

Q: How to break BitLocker password using CMD?

A: If you have 48-digit recovery key, you can unlock BitLocker-encrypted drive using command prompt, otherwise, there is no way to break BitLocker password using CMD.

Q: How to break BitLocker password using CMD without recovery key?

A: It is impossible to break BitLocker password using CMD without recovery key.