How to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive with/without password and recovery key?

Updated by Tim to BitLocker Recovery Tips on October 28th, 2020

Summary: This post will show you how to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive with/without password and recovery key.

Table of the article contents

How to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive without password and recovery key?

Now I forgot the password and recovery key, so is there any chance to open BitLocker encrypted pen drive again?

Option 1: Find the recovery key from your Microsoft account

To retrieve the recovery key that was stored to onedrive, 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: 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 not luck with the usual passwords, these are five tools which may recover your forgotten BitLocker password or lost recovery key.

Tutorial to unlock BitLocker drive with the usual password:

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 usual password on the unlock window.

Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive

Step 4: Click Unlock to unlock your BitLocker encrypted drive.

If the password is not correct, repeat the above steps to try next password.

Option 3: Using BitLocker cracking tool - BitCracker

BitCracker 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.

Option 4: BitLocker cracking tool - Passware Kit

Passware Kit Business and Forensic edition can extract recovery key using live memory analysis and recover BitLocker password using common attacks.

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.

If both of them don't contain the recovery key, Passware Kit can run the common attacks to recover the forgotten password.

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

Option 5: BitLocker cracking tool - Elcomsoft Forensic Disk Decryptor

Elcomsoft Forensic Disk Decryptor 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

Option 6: BitLocker password cracking tool - Elcomsoft Distributed Password Recovery

Elcomsoft Distributed Password Recovery can break the complex passwords and recover the strong encryption key by running the common attacks.

Youtube video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtGeeS9mMvo

Option 7: BitLocker password recovery tool - Thegrideon BitLocker Password

Thegrideon BitLocker Password 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.

How to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive after BitLocker doesn't accept the password and recovery key?

If you have the correct password or 48-digit recovery key, try M3 BitLocker Recovery to recover data from BitLocker encrypted drive.

M3 BitLocker Recovery is a professional BitLocker data recovery software. It can recover deleted or lost files from BitLocker encrypted drive after providing the password or 48-digit recovery key.

Tutorial to recover data from BitLocker encrypted drive:

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

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

M3 BitLocker Recovery

Step 3: Enter the password or 48-digit recovery key and click Ok to decrypt data.

Enter the password or recovery key in M3 BitLocker Recovery

Step 4: M3 BitLocker Recovery is scanning and decrypting the files from BitLocker encrypted drive.

Recover lost data from corrupted BitLocker encrypted drive

Step 5: After the scan completes, you can preview the documents, photos and play the videos, audios in preview mode. With this preview function, you can see if your lost files are recoverable.

File preview of M3 BitLocker Recovery

Step 6: Select the needed files and click "Recover" to start BitLocker data recovery process.

If you find some recovered files cannot be opened, please check "Revert decryption" option and recover them again.

After ensuring all recovered files can be opened, use the following method to format the corrupted BitLocker encrypted drive.

How to format a BitLocker encrypted drive without password and recovery key?

If there is no important data, you can directly format the BitLocker encrypted drive without password and recovery key:

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

Step 2: Select "Format...".

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

Step 4: Set volume label.

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

If there is important data, unlocking BitLocker encrypted drive is the first thing before formatting. Refer to above solutions: How to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive without password and recovery key?

How to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive with 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. See below tutorials:

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.

How to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive with recovery key?

If you forgot the 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. See below tutorials:

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 lost data.

If you lost or forgot 48-digit recovery key, unlocking BitLocker encrypted drive from command prompt is impossible. (Refer to How/Where to find the lost BitLocker recovery key?)

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

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 the BitLocker encrypted drive

Following are several FAQs about unlocking the BitLocker encrypted drive:

Q: How to unlock the BitLocker encrypted drive?

A: The password and recovery key are two ways to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive. If you don't have them, refer to how to unlock BitLocker encrypted drive without password and recovery key.

Q: How to unlock the BitLocker encrypted drive from command prompt with password?

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

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

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

Q: How to unlock the BitLocker encrypted drive from command prompt with recovery key?

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

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

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

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

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

Q: How to break into BitLocker encrypted drive using cmd without recovery key?

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 get 48-digit recovery key.

Q: BitLocker recovery key is not working when unlocking BitLocker encrypted drive.

A: If the password is not working either, try M3 BitLocker Recovery to recover lost data.

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

A: No.

Q: I forget the password and recovery key, is there a way to recover lost data after formatting BitLocker encrypted drive?

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

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

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