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Unlock Fixed or Removable BitLocker Drive in Windows 10

How to Unlock Fixed or Removable BitLocker Drive in Windows 10

Windows 10 allows enabling BitLocker for removable and fixed drives (drive partitions and internal storage devices). It supports protection with a smart card or password. You can also make the drive to automatically unlock when you sign in to your user account.

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BitLocker was first introduced in Windows Vista and still exists in Windows 10. It was implemented exclusively for Windows and has no official support in alternative operating systems. BitLocker can utilize your PC's Trusted Platform Module (TPM) to store its encryption key secrets. In modern versions of Windows such as Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, BitLocker supports hardware-accelerated encryption if certain requirements are met (the drive has to support it, Secure Boot must be on and many other requirements). Without hardware encryption, BitLocker switches to software-based encryption so there is a dip in your drive's performance. BitLocker in Windows 10 supports a number of encryption methods, and supports changing a cipher strength.

Butlocker Drive Encryption

Note: In Windows 10, BitLocker Drive Encryption is only available in the Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions. BitLocker can encrypt the system drive (the drive Windows is installed on), and internal hard drives. The BitLocker To Go feature allows protecting files stored on a removable drives, such as a USB flash drive.

Note: In Windows 10, BitLocker Drive Encryption is only available in the Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions. BitLocker can encrypt the system drive (the drive Windows is installed on), and internal hard drives. The BitLocker To Go feature allows protecting files stored on a removable drives, such as a USB flash drive. The user can configure the encryption method for BitLocker.

In Windows 10, there are a number of ways you can use to unlock a drive. While some are obvious, the other methods can be useful for task automation.

To Unlock Fixed or Removable BitLocker Drive in Windows 10,

  1. Open File Explorer to the This PC folder.
  2. Double-click on the drive you want to unlock.Windows 10 Locked Drive Bitlocker
  3. Enter the password to unlock this drive, and click on Unlock.Windows 10 Unlock Bitlocker Drive
  4. The drive is now unlocked.
  5. If you have a recovery key, then to unlock the drive with a BitLocker Recovery key, click on More options in the password dialog.
  6. Click on the Enter recovery key link.Windows 10 Recovery Key Link Bitlocker Drive
  7. Enter the 48-digit recovery key for this drive.Windows 10 Enter Recovery Key Bitlocker Drive

The drive is now unlocked. You can now check the BitLocker encryption status for the drive.

Unlock Fixed or Removable BitLocker Drive in Control Panel

  1. Open Control Panel\System and Security\BitLocker Drive Encryption.
  2. On the right side of the Drive Encryption Dialog, find your fixed drive.
  3. Click on the Unlock drive link.Windows 10 Unlock Bitlocker Drive In Control Panel
  4. Enter the password to unlock this drive, and click on Unlock.

You are done. BitLocker will unlock the the drive.

You can now check the BitLocker encryption status for the drive.

Also, you can unlock a locked drive from Command Prompt or PowerShell.

Unlock Fixed or Removable BitLocker Drive in Command Prompt

  1. Open a new command prompt as Administrator.
  2. Type and run the following command: manage-bde -unlock <drive letter>: -password.
  3. Substitute <drive letter> with the actual drive letter of the drive you want to decrypt. For example: manage-bde -unlock E: -password.Windows 10 Unlock Bitlocker Drive In Command Prompt
  4. Enter your password to unlock the drive.
  5. To specify a recovery password, use the following command: manage-bde -unlock <drive letter>: -recoverypassword <recovery password>.
  6. Substitute the <recovery password> portion in the command above with the 48-digit recovery key you have for the drive.
  7. To specify a recovery file, use the following command: manage-bde -unlock <drive letter>: -recoverykey <PathToExternalKeyFile>.
  8. Substitute the <PathToExternalKeyFile> portion to the full path to your recovery key backup file you have saved earlier.

The drive is now unlocked. You can now check the BitLocker encryption status for the drive.

Alternatively, you can use PowerShell for the same task.

Unlock Fixed or Removable BitLocker Drive in PowerShell

  1. Open PowerShell as Administrator.
  2. Type and run the following command: Unlock-BitLocker -MountPoint "<drive letter>:" -Password (Read-Host "Enter Password" -AsSecureString).
  3. Substitute <drive letter> with the actual drive letter of the drive you want to decrypt. For example, Unlock-BitLocker -MountPoint "E:" -Password (Read-Host "Enter Password" -AsSecureString). Windows 10 Unlock Bitlocker Drive In PowerShell
  4. Hit the Enter key to unlock the drive.
  5. To specify a recovery password, use the following command: Unlock-BitLocker -MountPoint "<drive letter>:" -RecoveryPassword <recovery password>.
  6. Substitute the <recovery password> portion in the command above with the 48-digit recovery password you have for the drive.

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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