If the drive that Windows is installed on (the operating system drive) is encrypted by BitLocker Drive Encryption, it can become locked by BitLocker and require the use of the recovery key in the following situations:
- The computer is working, but BitLocker has detected a possible security risk during startup.
- The computer is working, but you lost the BitLocker startup key (USB flash drive) or PIN, or the startup key is damaged.
- The computer isn't working (for example, a power supply problem), and you have transferred its hard disk to a different computer.
If your computer is part of a domain, some BitLocker features and settings can be controlled by your system administrator.
Assistive technology software that runs on Windows, such as screen reading software, cannot read BitLocker startup screens because they are displayed during BIOS startup and before Windows runs. This includes screens used when you type a PIN or recovery key, and any BitLocker error messages.