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Windows 7: BitLocker Drive Encryption - Unlock a Locked OS Drive

23 Jun 2013   #10
hoseinz

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

sad thing is i dont! so there is no way?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
23 Jun 2013   #11
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Usually not after formatting a locked BitLocker encrypted drive.

If the data is critical, you could try taking it to a professional data recovery business, but it would be extremely expensive and unlikely to recovery much.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Aug 2013   #12
carsondfw

Windows 7 Ultimate/Professional (I can't recall 100%)
 
 
help (similar situation feeling uneasy but hopeful)

Recently had a malware issue and used an application in an attempt to repair called "combofix" that seemed to do something to the OS files and other applications in the background. In any event, it did more damage than good and Windows 7 would not boot back up..got a blue screen and could not load Safe Mode as well.

I proceeded to pull out original disc to see about repairing the OS but got prompted for recovery key.

Background: I don't ever recall using BitLocker to encrypt my C drive (it's possible but I really can't recall. I did however use BitLocker to encrypt all my other drives. Perhaps it's a requirement to encrypt system drive (C) in order to get this functionality on the others?)

Facts:

1) I always have to manually unlock each fixed drive everytime I boot up in Windows 7 if I want access

2) I know the password to each fixed bitlocker drive (they are the same password)

3) I'm unaware of where I put my recovery key (16 digit pin?)...I believe it's in a text file somewhere on my system drive or potentially on one of the fixed drives.


Questions:

1) If I know the password (not recovery pin) to my fixed drives, should I be able to recover it if I do a new OS on a new SSD HD? I would think I would just see the drives listed again and I just right click and unlock and type in my password? I hope so...

2) I have data on my supposedly bitlocked former C drive...can I still access it by hooking it up as a secondary drive on the new rig by right clicking on the drive and using the same password as my other fixed drives?

3) Hypothetically I have my bitlocker key on my other drives, how would I find it? Does the key have a file extension?


Rant: LESSON LEARNED. I'm going overkill on this next time..I'm going to email my recovery key to all my email addresses, save on a thumb drive, never store any more data on my C drive.

I'm so depressed right now. I hope you experts reply back with some decent news. I have some confidence that I can access the majority of my data but I'm a bit worried about my system drive about never seeing that data ever again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Aug 2013   #13
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Hello Carson, and welcome to Seven Forums.

Yeah, it would be a good idea to always have the BitLocker recovery keys backed up or printed out, then save them in a safe place for occasions such as this.

Since these are only data drives that were encrypted and not the OS drive, then you may get lucky. When you install Windows on the new SSD, it should recognize the encrypted data drives to where all you would have to do is enter the BitLocker password to unlock them as usual. Just do not format the old corrupted OS drive yet just in case you may need it to attempt to recover anything from if able.

Fingers crossed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

15 Aug 2013   #14
carsondfw

Windows 7 Ultimate/Professional (I can't recall 100%)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brink View Post
Hello Carson, and welcome to Seven Forums.

Yeah, it would be a good idea to always have the BitLocker recovery keys backed up or printed out, then save them in a safe place for occasions such as this.

Since these are only data drives that were encrypted and not the OS drive, then you may get lucky. When you install Windows on the new SSD, it should recognize the encrypted data drives to where all you would have to do is enter the BitLocker password to unlock them as usual. Just do not format the old corrupted OS drive yet just in case you may need it to attempt to recover anything from if able.

Fingers crossed.

Thanks for the fast response and warm welcome Brink! Am I to assume that BitLocker was indeed activated on my system drive( C drive ) since it prompted me for the recovery pin upon going into safe mood/windows os repair utility? Or is there a chance I never actually activated it?

I'm still a little unclear in accessing the former system drive with the new setup...


Thanks,
Carson
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Aug 2013   #15
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Sorry Carson. I thought you were referring to your fixed data drives instead.

If it's asking for a recovery key to unlock your OS drive, then yes you did encrypt it with BitLocker. Without the recovery key for the OS drive, you'll pretty much be out of luck to unlock it.

However, you may still be able to unlock your data drives using the password as usual with the new installation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Aug 2013   #16
carsondfw

Windows 7 Ultimate/Professional (I can't recall 100%)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brink View Post
Sorry Carson. I thought you were referring to your fixed data drives instead.

If it's asking for a recovery key to unlock your OS drive, then yes you did encrypt it with BitLocker. Without the recovery key for the OS drive, you'll pretty much be out of luck to unlock it.

However, you may still be able to unlock your data drives using the password as usual with the new installation.

Brink, yes, I was asking about both my fixed drives and system drive...

Does windows/bitlocker treat encryption of "system" drive versus "fixed" drives differently? As in security behavior? I would wonder why it wouldn't be the same if you attached it as a secondary drive to a new machine...to be able to right click and do an "unlock" with the password....

What are your thoughts?

Thanks,
Carson
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Aug 2013   #17
carsondfw

Windows 7 Ultimate/Professional (I can't recall 100%)
 
 

If I may ask another stupid question... I know (or I hope) that I would have at least created a RECOVERY USB. The problem is perhaps it's in a subdirectory or maybe the USB was overwritten... I'm not sure. But I would like to know how to identify if I have the file(s) on the USB or directory. Can you advise me on how I would know? My next step would be to look inside the thumb drives and to also use NTFS Undelete or similar. I'm getting desperate here....

Thanks,
Carson
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Aug 2013   #18
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

It's the same encryption level for the OS vs data drives. It's just that to unlock the OS drive using this method, you will need to have the recovery or startup key. The data drives may let you unlock them as usual with just the password.

You could look on the USB for files that look like the screenshots under step 7 to see if you may have it. If the USB flash has been overwritten and not just deleted, then there's a good change that they be gone for good. Hopefully you'll be able to recover them off the USB (if there) using NTFS Undelete or Recuva.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Aug 2013   #19
carsondfw

Windows 7 Ultimate/Professional (I can't recall 100%)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brink View Post
It's the same encryption level for the OS vs data drives. It's just that to unlock the OS drive using this method, you will need to have the recovery or startup key. The data drives may let you unlock them as usual with just the password.

You could look on the USB for files that look like the screenshots under step 7 to see if you may have it. If the USB flash has been overwritten and not just deleted, then there's a good change that they be gone for good. Hopefully you'll be able to recover them off the USB (if there) using NTFS Undelete or Recuva.

Looks like I have my work cut out for me....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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