How to get BitLocker recovery key?

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What is BitLocker recovery key?

The BitLocker recovery key is a 48-digit number created when you turn on BitLocker Drive Encryption for the first time on each drive. It is used to help you regain access to a BitLocker-protected drive in the event that you cannot unlock the drive with the password normally, for example, if you forget the password or if the PC with TPM dies and you have to access the drive from another system. It can also be used to unlock a removable drive, such as an external hard drive or USB flash drive, which is encrypted with BitLocker To Go.

It looks like this:

Recover lost data from BitLocker encrypted drive

Where is BitLocker recovery key stored?

When you are setting up BitLocker Drive Encryption, you will be provided with different options to store or back up the recovery key. Whether you're encrypting a system drive or a non-system drive, these options are the same.

In Windows 10, you can:

  • Save to your Microsoft account
  • Save to a USB flash drive
  • Save to a file
  • Print the recovery key

Save BitLocker Recovery Key

How to retrieve BitLocker recovery key?

As you know where will BitLocker recovery key be stored, it should be quite easy to find out your BitLocker recovery key.

1. Find BitLocker recovery key in your Microsoft account

You can go to to retrieve your recovery key.

NOTE: This option is only allowed when BitLocker is used on a PC that is not associated with a domain, such as a work or school domain.

2. Find BitLocker recovery key on a USB flash drive.

If you have saved the recovery key on a USB flash drive, just plug the USB flash drive in to your computer and follow the instructions to unlock the drive.

NOTE: If the recovery key is saved as a text file on the flash drive, you need to plug it in to a different computer to read the text file, and then input the recovery key when unlocking the encrypted drive.

3. Find BitLocker recovery key on a printout you saved.

Look for the paper that you printed the recovery key on, and then input the key on the locked PC.

4. Find BitLocker recovery key file on your computer.

It's possible that you saved the recovery key file (.txt) on your computer. So you can try to find it out by searching "BitLocker Recovery Key".

5. More tips

What's more, you can also ask someone for help in the situations as below:

  1. If your PC is connected to a domain, you can ask the administrator for your recovery key.
  2. If you are a guest user of the computer, you can ask the one who has the administrative authority on this computer to unlock it with the recovery key.

Have more BitLocker recovery key related questions? Or want to recover lost data from BitLocker encrypted drives? Please refer to tutorial to BitLocker data recovery.

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