Bitlocker - Unlock a partition (I have the key)


  • Good afternoon, I would like a solution to a problem I face, I've searched in several places and could not get an adequate response.

    Summary: I need to recover a BitLocker partition, but when I double click the drive, windows asks to format the partition.

    Explanation: Windows 7 Ultimate had the OS partition and data partition, just the latest encrypted with BitLocker. I installed Ubuntu and it wiped the whole hd.

    At installation, Ubuntu erased all data on HD and after that, I realized that all my important data were missing. My surprise, Bitlocker protected the partition and I have hope of recovering. When I installed Windows 7 again, "D:" partition appeared in windows explorer without size information (as it appeared when he was locked in BitLocker) but when I try to access it windows asks for formatting. Is there a way to make windows see this partition as the BitLocker partition?

    I tried the command "repair-bde C: Z: 062612-026103-175593-225830-027357-086526-362263-513414-rp" (fictitious number) but there was an error stating that the drive could be damaged permanently.

    What can I do? Thanks in advance.

    Saturday, January 07, 2012 8:41 PM

All replies

  • Bitlocker does not protect the drive from being over written, it will only protect drive "info" from being opened without proper authentication.

    You over wrote the drive with Ubuntu, sorry but the drive is wiped, bit locker no longer exist.

    A good backup system solves these types of dilema's, either personal external hard drive or use "cloud" storage, and you would always have your info for retreval.

    Saturday, January 07, 2012 9:41 PM
  • Even if i can see the partition and size (in linux)?
    Saturday, January 07, 2012 11:20 PM
  • If the drive was bit locked, and you then partitioned it with linux, the bit lock will fail as the drive is not recognized any longer, you can try to check disk repair, but I doubt it will recognize because the drive map is corrupt.
    • Edited by larsel Sunday, January 08, 2012 12:07 AM
    Sunday, January 08, 2012 12:03 AM
  • Hi, I have the same problem. I accidently cleared my partition table. Now the whole disk is shown unallocated. I tried to recreate the partition table all NTFS partitions are detected by software but the Bitlocker Encrypted partition is still shown unallocated. Can't we recreate the partition table of Bitlocker Encrypted Partition. I know my data are still there. I haven't formatted the disk. Please somebody help me how do I recreate the partition table that would show my Bitlocker Encrypted partition. I have the password and key. I'm asking you for help, please...... Hoping getting reply soon..... Your valuable help and suggestions are appreciated.
    Thursday, January 12, 2012 4:16 AM
  • Ashad73,


    After messing up an installation of Ubuntu, I found myself in a similar situation. I’m sure there is an easier way to fix the boot partition table to properly boot from the BitLocker partition, but I haven’t been able to find it. Rather, the only way I was able to fix my hard drive situation was a complicated process (listed below) which involved a manual decryption of my Windows 7 partition. The big question, then, is whether you have a CD drive and either a Windows 7 recovery or installation disk. If so, then go ahead and boot from the CD and make your way to the recovery options—stop at the operating system selection after entering in your BitLocker key (if you are using the recovery disk, it will automatically bring you there once you select the language/keyboard options).


    I would also recommend that, should you be working with a laptop, you plug it in and do not close the lid (perhaps it is just a hardware compatibility issue, but my experience has been that, once the screen turns off, it does not come back on).


    Furthermore, if you have not backed up you most important files, find an external drive (hard drive or pendrive, SD cards generally do not work), click on the “Load Drivers” button (followed by OK), and use the following screen to navigate to whichever files you wish. If you click on Computer, find your primary windows installation drive, open up the Users folder, and open up your account files, you will probably have a good place to start. In order to copy a file/folder, you’ll have to use the traditional right-click menu to copy and paste between drives. For later use, make note of the drive letter corresponding with your encrypted partition—it is not necessarily C:. While these precautionary steps are not exactly necessary, I would strongly encourage it so that if something goes terribly wrong (you lose power, despite my checking, I gave you the steps in the wrong order, etc.), you still have your files. I suppose if you have a spare external hard drive with enough space, you could copy and paste the entire contents of your drive.


    Now for the actual recovery process.

    What you have already gone through to encrypt your hard drive has likely been done from the user interface within Windows. However, the same may be done from within the command prompt. Having finished backing up your files, go ahead and exit out of the current window in order to get back to the initial System Recovery Options operating system selection. If you just have Windows 7 installed, click the Next button, otherwise select your primary Windows installation and then proceed.


    From here, you have a couple of options. You can either attempt to automatically repair the startup settings for Windows with the Startup Repair tool, but I have found this to have little effect with this particular issue—you may have a different experience depending on other factors, I suppose. I should mention that this option is far simpler than the following, but will not decrypt your drive.


    What I found necessary to fix my drive was to, again, open up the command prompt (the last option on the provided list) and run the “manage-bde.exe” command (short for Manage BitLocker Drive Encryption).

    Making use of the drive letter for your encrypted installation, type the following sequence (where “x:” is the latter drive): “manage-bde -off x:”. This will start the decryption process which will take quite a while to complete (a matter of hours)—remember to not close the lid of your computer if it is a laptop (unless, through experimentation, you have found otherwise).


    Unfortunately, there is no real-time status indicator, but you can run the following command to view that decryption status at any particular time: “manage-bde -status”. Once the “Percentage Encrypted” value reaches 0, you are ready to continue.


    With the decrypted partition, two steps remain before you are ready to boot. First of all, you will have to reassign the active/boot partition. To do this, use the “diskpart” utility. After typing the command once, the command prompt will open up the utility so you don’t have to refer to it with each of the following commands (consequently, you also have to exit out of the utility once finished). Next, type the command “list volume” in order to produce the list of usable drives. “select volume [n]” should be used to place the application focus on your main Windows partition ([n] being the number associated with it in the previous list). Finally, type the command “active” to mark the partition in the volume as the one from which the computer should boot. “exit” will get you back to the basic command prompt.


    Almost there! One last step. “bootsect.exe” is the utility used for managing the boot information for the hard drive partitions. Typing “bootsect.exe /nt60 x:” (x: being your Windows installation dive letter) should produce the response that such the operation succeeded with volume X:. Bravo!! You’re now ready to restart the computer.


    If you want to re-encrypt the hard drive, I would recommend deleting the previous BitLocker volume before going through the encryption process again. I’m not sure if this is necessary, but it is what I felt most comfortable doing. Should you need help with this, I would be happy to walk you through the process (note: it is much easier).


    Let me know if you have any questions or get stuck anywhere and I apologize for the insanely long response.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012 12:39 AM