Format Bitlocker Locked Drive

When your OS partition is formatted, what happens to a BitLocker encrypted partition?

Users of BitLocker frequently have a variety of questions about the utility, including how it works and how the encryption operates and behaves. What happens to a BitLocker-encrypted partition when the user’s primary partition (the one that houses their operating system) is formatted is one of the questions that are asked about BitLocker the most frequently. One example of this would be when a user performs a clean installation of Windows.

If you do not decrypt all BitLocker encrypted partitions before formatting your Operating System partition and continue with the formatting of your OS partition, once you boot into your computer’s newly clean installed Operating System, all other BitLocker encrypted partitions will be locked. This is true even though it is always recommended that you decrypt all BitLocker encrypted partitions before formatting your Operating System partition.

When you encrypt a partition of your hard drive, BitLocker works on both the encrypted drive and your primary operating system drive; this is most likely the reason why all other BitLocker encrypted drives become locked if your primary operating system drive is formatted.

Instructions for putting BitLocker on a Windows computer

After you have formatted your operating system drive, performed a clean installation of Windows on it, and then restarted your computer, Windows will be able to recognize other BitLocker encrypted drives but will be unable to access them.

If you try to access a BitLocker encrypted partition after formatting the drive that serves as your primary operating system, you will see that the partition is locked and that you will need to enter your recovery key in order to unlock it.

Install BitLocker on a partition of your computer’s hard drive, and then create a pass for it. BitLocker will then provide you with a 48-character recovery key that you can use to unlock your drive in the event that you forget or lose your pass, or if the structure of the partition on which BitLocker is installed (or the structure of your operating system partition) changes. You have the option of printing (or writing down) this recovery key, as well as saving it to another drive, such as an external hard drive or USB flash drive.

Take, for instance, the scenario in which you format your operating system partition while one or more of your other partitions continue to be protected by BitLocker. In that case, the partitions that were previously locked will remain locked, but you will be able to unlock them using the BitLocker recovery keys that correspond to the partitions that were previously locked.


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User Questions:

Is it true that removing BitLocker from a hard drive requires formatting the drive?

It is not possible to format Bitlocker-protected hard drives using the My Computer interface. You will now see a message informing you that none of your data will be preserved in the event that you continue. If you select “Yes,” a message that reads “This drive is Bitlocker enabled; formatting it will remove Bitlocker” will appear on your screen.

After installing a new operating system, how do I go about re-enabling BitLocker?

Transfer the encrypted drive from one computer to another using BitLocker.
Double-click the encrypted drive protected by BitLocker in the “My Computer” or “This PC” menu.
From the menu that drops down, select the option that says “More options.”
Choose “Enter recovery key” from the list of available options in the drop-down menu.
In order to decrypt a BitLocker-protected drive, you will need to enter the 48-digit recovery key.
Does BitLocker have the ability to encrypt a whole hard drive or just a partition?
BitLocker does not encrypt or decrypt the entire drive whenever you are reading or writing data to or from it. The encrypted sectors of a drive that is protected by BitLocker are not decrypted until the system reads operation specifically requests them to be decrypted. The system encrypts the data in the blocks that are going to be written to the disc before it writes them to the disc physically.

What exactly is going on with my BitLocker password where it won’t work?

If the BitLocker password is entered incorrectly, the encrypted drive that is protected by BitLocker will not be decrypted. In this scenario, you will need to scour the internet for the appropriate password and give it another shot. If you are certain that the BitLocker password that you are using is correct, then it indicates that the BitLocker encrypted drive has become corrupted because BitLocker will no longer accept the correct password.

How long does it take for a hard drive to be encrypted using BitLocker?

When it comes to encrypting the data, how long will it take? The amount of time required will be based on the capacity of your computer’s hard drive as well as its read/write speed. During our tests, the procedure took anywhere from twenty minutes to three hours to complete.

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