Access a Bitlocker encrypted system drive as external drive


  1. Posts : 107
    Windows 10
       #1

    Access a Bitlocker encrypted system drive as external drive


    I am getting rid of a desktop with a bitlocker encrypted C drive. I want to physically remove that drive and have access to it from another pc via external usb dock or enclosire

    Bitlocker question: Do I need to decrypt it first ? I was thinking with the key or the password I could access it no problem and decryption was not necessary but then I remembered TPM might prevent this since it was a system drive. Would that prevent access even with the BL key or password?

    General file access question: Normally when accessing files from a drive removed from another pc, I normally have to use "Take Ownership" or run a 3rd party file explorer as admin such as Q-Dir. Are there any steps to take prior to removing it from the original pc to make this process / file access easier?

    Original PC is running Win 10 Ed , new PC running Win 10 Pro
      My Computer

  2. Ztruker's Avatar
    Posts : 10,638
    Windows 10 Pro X64 2004 19041.331
       #2

    Decrypt it first. Removes all guesswork.
      My Computers

  3. Compumind's Avatar
    Posts : 2,533
    Windows 10 Pro x64, Various Linux Builds, Networking, Storage, Cybersecurity Specialty.
       #3

    @jmsnyc -

    If you can't Decrypt it...

    Do you still have the Encryption Key just in case?
    If not, you may have to boot from something like GParted and wipe the drive completely.

      My Computer


  4. Posts : 107
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #4

    Compumind said:
    @jmsnyc -

    If you can't Decrypt it...

    Do you still have the Encryption Key just in case?
    If not, you may have to boot from something like GParted and wipe the drive completely.

    I have everything. I just did not want to decrypt and reencrypt if not necessary. I believe I can just remove the TPM security or something like that and then access it from the new computer like I would access a non-system Bitlocker drive
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  5. Ztruker's Avatar
    Posts : 10,638
    Windows 10 Pro X64 2004 19041.331
       #5

    You can turn off TPM in UEFI setup, which should leave the drive encrypted.

    Try it. Move the drive to the new system and see if you can access it.

    If it was me, I would decrypt it first to be safe. How long it takes to do this is really not important. What is important is safely moving the drive to the new computer and accessing the data on the drive. If that's all good, then you can enable TPM in UEFI setup and encrypt the drive. That seems like the safest way to me.

    I'm not speaking from experience, just from what I've read about the problems people have run into. I've never used BitLocker or any other drive encryption software.
      My Computers


  6. Posts : 107
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #6

    Ztruker said:
    You can turn off TPM in UEFI setup, which should leave the drive encrypted.
    Try it. Move the drive to the new system and see if you can access it.
    If it was me, I would decrypt it first to be safe. How long it takes to do this is really not important. What is important is safely moving the drive to the new computer and accessing the data on the drive. If that's all good, then you can enable TPM in UEFI setup and encrypt the drive. That seems like the safest way to me.
    I'm not speaking from experience, just from what I've read about the problems people have run into. I've never used BitLocker or any other drive encryption software.
    Thanks. If I decrypt and reencrypt, I do not need to do anything with TPM. I am also using it as an external drive , not a system drive on the other pc.

    It is an SSD and I also feel like the decrypt/encrypt process affects the life of the drive. But in the long run, unless someone responds with a good method, I will likely do that

    Also any advice to the 2nd part of my original question about eliminating the need to use "Take Ownership" from other drive?
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  7. Ztruker's Avatar
    Posts : 10,638
    Windows 10 Pro X64 2004 19041.331
       #7

    Don't worry about affecting the life of the SSD. It's will outlive normal hard drives now days. They are not the fragile, short lived devices they started out being 10-15 years ago. They are hearty and robust now. Just use them and don't worry about wearing them out.

    If both computers are using the same account name, not sure if you will need to do a Take Ownership, but that's just a guess.

    Since the only thing on the drive you are interested in is data and not system files, you could actually delete all the system folders leaving just the folders you have your data in. Best way to do that is to boot a live Linux flash drive, Ubuntu would be a good choice. Just run it from the flash drive, clean up the drive then disconnect it.

    Then boot the new system normally. Connect the drive and see what you can access. If necessary then do the Take Ownership.
    I do it this way: How to Add Take Ownership to Context Menu in Windows 10
      My Computers


 

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