Windows 10: Asking for Bitlocker recovery key on login Solved

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  1.    03 Mar 2018 #1

    Asking for Bitlocker recovery key on login


    So I was playing with BIOS settings for reformatting my laptop and reinstalling Windows using bootable USB drive. I didn't succeed and I probably did something stupid. Now I'm not able to login into my laptop. It's asking me for bitlocker recovery key on both disabled and enabled settings of secure boot.

    On "Enabled" setting, it says "Bitlocker needs your recovery key to unlock your drive because Secure Boot policy has unexpectedly changed."
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    On "Disabled" setting, it says "Bitlocker needs your recovery key to unlock your drive because Secure Boot has been disabled. Either Secure Boot must be re-enabled, or Bitlocker must be suspended for Windows to start normally."
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    I don't have a recovery key. I don't remember setting one. I even searched for it in my Microsoft account. My device (ASUS X205TA) is listed but the recovery key is not.

    Note that I don't have any useful data in the laptop, so I'd be fine with reinstalling windows even if I loose all the data. I just want to be able to use my laptop again.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    03 Mar 2018 #2

    What do you mean by "didn't succeed?" What settings did you change?

    If you can remember what you did and restore the previous settings then you may be able to get back into your system.

    Otherwise you're out of luck if you don't have the recovery key. Bitlocker won't enable itself unless the recovery key was backed up (either to an MS account or to a file on a different drive). Is it possible that that you or a previous owner enabled it?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    03 Mar 2018 #3

    Thank you PolarNettles for your reply.

    No, I have never encrypted this laptop using Bitlocker. In fact, I had never heard of Bitlocker before I faced this issue (Yes, I'm that dumb). Hence, I don't have a recovery key backed-up anywhere. Does this mean my laptop is dead forever?

    I did't succeed in reinstalling windows because:
    1. In Secure boot disabled mode, it was asking me for bitlocker recovery key, which I didn't have.
    2. In Secure boot enabled mode, it was NOT letting me boot using the bootable USB drive. But I was able to login into my existing Windows without recovery key.

    This problem started occurring when once the screen froze in bios settings and I forced shutdown my laptop by long-pressing power button.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    03 Mar 2018 #4

    How did you create the bootable USB drive? If it was created correctly for UEFI boot then it should boot fine with secure boot enabled.

    Bitlocker is enabled by default when you install Win10 Pro. But it doesn't get activated until someone either manually saves the recovery key, you join a corporate domain, or you sign on with a MS account. If you were using a MS account to login and it doesn't show up there - https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/...r-recovery-key - then you're out of luck.

    Since you plan on wiping the drive it doesn't really matter anyway. But you can back up the recovery key by right-clicking on your drive in Explorer and selecting Manage BitLocker.

    Edit: By "out of luck" I mean in situations where you couldn't go back to a working state (like you cleared the TPM or updated the BIOS in a way where you couldn't restore the old settings/version). In those cases there's nothing you can do.
    Last edited by PolarNettles; 03 Mar 2018 at 22:52.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    03 Mar 2018 #5

    Thanks again!

    I followed these steps to create the bootable USB drive: Install Windows from a USB Flash Drive | Microsoft Docs

    Sorry, I am little confused by your answer. What do I do now, given that I don't have a recovery key and I can't reach explorer now to back up recovery key? What did you mean by "it doesn't really matter"? Yes, I'm fine with wiping the drive clean. I'm fine with anything to make my laptop work again. Even installing Ubuntu is fine with me too.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    04 Mar 2018 #6

    Just to clarify, there are 2 issues here:
    1. You can't boot to the USB to format your drive and install Windows.
    2. You can't log back in to your current Windows installation due to the Bitlocker issue.

    #2 doesn't matter because you're going to wipe the drive in #1. If you format your drive then Bitlocker goes away also.

    pj04 said: View Post
    I followed these steps to create the bootable USB drive: Install Windows from a USB Flash Drive | Microsoft Docs
    That should work. Do you have an \efi\boot\bootx64.efi file on your USB? What error do you get when you tell your BIOS to boot to the USB?

    Sorry, I am little confused by your answer. What do I do now, given that I don't have a recovery key and I can't reach explorer now to back up recovery key? What did you mean by "it doesn't really matter"? Yes, I'm fine with wiping the drive clean. I'm fine with anything to make my laptop work again. Even installing Ubuntu is fine with me too.
    I meant for the future you should manually save the recovery key even if you log in with a MS account. As I mentioned above, if you wipe your drive then Bitlocker gets wiped also and you are free to use your drive however you want.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    04 Mar 2018 #7

    That's good to know. Thank you for taking time to explain this to me so nicely. I was under the impression that I need to solve #2 first, before I could solve #1.

    Yes, I do have the file \efi\boot\bootx64.efi on my bootable windows USB. Two friends of mine have used the same USB drive to install windows on their PCs. I have now created a bootable USB drive for Ubuntu as well. But even that is not working with my laptop.

    When I try to boot using USB, it doesn't do anything or gives me the same Bitlocker recovery screens I showed in the first post in this thread depending on secure boot settings.

    [EDIT: Please ignore the following as I was able to remove the password from Bios.]

    Also, I would like to mention that every time my laptop starts, it asks for a password even before I press 'ESC' to go into Bios menu. It is strange because I have never seen any other PC do that. Don't know if this is useful but here is a snapshot:
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      My ComputerSystem Spec

  •    04 Mar 2018 #8

    The BIOS password can be disabled inside BIOS setup->Security->Administrator/User Password.

    When you have your USB drive plugged in, what shows up under Bios setup->Boot Options?

    Also, it looks like the X205TA only supports 32-bit OSes, so make sure you're using the right version of Windows/Ubuntu. You would have bootia32.efi instead of bootx64.efi.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  •    05 Mar 2018 #9

    Thank you so much PolarNettles. YOU ARE A GENIUS. I have been using 64 bit versions and wasted more than a week of my life struggling with it.

    With 32 bit Windows installer, I was able to get past BIOS. Yayy!. However, when the windows setup screen appears, my laptop keyboard and the touchpad stop working. I am not able to click Next to continue with the setup. I googled and found that many other people face similar problem with USB keyboard and mouse. I have to dig deeper and find a fix for this issue now.

    Thanks again for helping me figure this out. I wouldn't have been able to do it on my own ever.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  •    05 Mar 2018 #10

    I was able to use USB mouse to continue with the Windows setup. But Bitlocker is still preventing me from installing Windows. Please see the following snapshot:
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