BitLocker Drive Encryption and Recovery. Plan ahead!

Some things to know about BitLocker:

If what is going on your encrypted drive is important or valuable to you, take the time to save your BitLocker recovery key when it asks you. You can either print it out (to a PDF would be a good choice if you go the print route) or you can save it to a file in a safe place.  Saving it to a file makes it much easier to unlock the drive if you forget the password.

The file or printout both look similar and they provide two pieces of information.  The

  • Identifier:  This is a string of numbers and letters that uniquely identify your drive (in case you have more than one)
  • Recovery Key:  This is the key to unlock the specific drive that matches the identifier.

It looks like this:


Then if for some reason you have forgotten your password, you can follow these steps to unlock your drive:

  • When you plug in the drive and it asks for your password,
  • choose More Options
  • Then choose Enter Recovery Key
  • Your recovery key goes in the box that appears.  (Not the one with letters.)

Without either the password or a recovery key, you will not unlock the drive so please plan ahead.