Bitlocker recovery issue


  1. Posts : 225
    Windows 10 Pro version 21H2 (standalone licence)
       #1

    Bitlocker recovery issue


    Hi

    It appears that my usb stick with the startup and recovery key on it, which had been working for years, has just died. I thought I was covered and as it turns out I was, found a duplicate bitlocker startup usb stick, phew. But for future reference want to understand how the bitlocker recovery screen, key and process should work.

    I was looking at the record I kept of the recovery key but could not make head or tail of this as this key was actually displayed on the bitlocker blue recovery screen!

    First question what is meant to be done with this 'recovery key' if just pressing escape displays the recovery key on the recovery screen?

    Second question, I was unable to try that or any other key as my laptop keyboard (UK config) would only register numbers on the bitlocker recovery screen, no letters. How would I get around this if it was my only backup method?

    If I had not remembered I had secreted a second usb key with decryption keys on it, I would have been stuffed until I could get to my other PC (in different part of country) to retrieve them to a new USB stick.

    Thanks for any light that can be shed ont his. In future I woudl like not to be relyign on just ne method but also have a second method.
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 1,414
    Windows 10 Pro
       #2

    kevvyb said:
    But for future reference ....
    ... Don't use Bitlocker.

    Half the forums on the internet would cease to exist were it not for users having problems with BL.

    (And, in any case, relying on anything stored on a USB stick will only end in tears)
      My Computer


  3. Posts : 2,773
    Windows 11 Pro, 21H2
       #3

    What you see on the recovery screen is NOT the recovery key. It is a unique identifier. The identifier is meant to help you find the right recovery key.

    As an example, say you have 5 systems with BitLocker. When you save your BitLocker key, Windows will save an identifier with it because there is nothing that says "this key is for the C: drive on your system named "xyz". So Windows provides an identifier that it displays on the recovery screen. You can check your records to see what recovery key is associated with that identifier.

    As an example, if I right-click on the C: drive in my system and choose to manage BitLocker, one of my options is to print a copy of my BitLocker recovery key. This is what that printout looks like (with the numbers altered, of course):

    ___________________
    BitLocker Drive Encryption recovery key

    To verify that this is the correct recovery key, compare the start of the following identifier with
    the identifier value displayed on your PC.

    Identifier:

    11111111-1111-1111-1111-111111111111

    If the above identifier matches the one displayed by your PC, then use the following key to
    unlock your drive.

    Recovery Key:

    111111-111111-111111-111111-111111-111111-111111-111111

    If the above identifier doesn't match the one displayed by your PC, then this isn't the right key
    to unlock your drive.
    Try another recovery key, or refer to https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=260589 for
    additional assistance
    ___________________

    As for the keyboard only registering numbers - that is 100% normal and expected behavior because the recovery key is only numbers. There will NEVER be anything other than numbers in the recovery key. Once again, the number with the letters in it is actually the unique identifier that is associated with the matching recovery key.

    One more thing:

    I'm glad that you had a second copy of information, but this underscores something that relates to backups of all important data: ALWAYS make sure to have more than one copy!

    Here is a strategy that I use:

    I keep multiple thumb drives which themselves are also BitLocker encrypted. I store a copy of all my recovery keys there. The nice thing about the thumb drives is that they are protected with a password, so you'll never run into needing a recovery key for them. So long as you remember the password, you are good.

    To make a backup copy of the recovery key, open File Explorer. Right-click the drive and choose Manage BitLocker, and then Back up your recovery key. One of your options will be to print the recovery key. I print it to a PDF file and that is what I save on my thumb drives.

    Hope all this helps! Please do let me know if you have more questions.
      My Computers


  4. Posts : 2,773
    Windows 11 Pro, 21H2
       #4

    idgat said:
    ... Don't use Bitlocker.

    Half the forums on the internet would cease to exist were it not for users having problems with BL.

    (And, in any case, relying on anything stored on a USB stick will only end in tears)
    Sorry to voice a different opinion, but this is utter rubbish IMHO. !!No offense intended by this statement!!

    BitLocker is completely reliable and a fantastic solution for encryption. I dare say that the majority of people with issues simply don't follow best practices or may have other underlying issues such as hardware issues. Backups should still always be maintained and proper procedures should be in place as is the case with or without BitLocker.

    I've used BitLocker on literally a couple hundred systems and I'm not exaggerating when I say that I have NEVER EVER had problem one with it. Does that mean it's impossible to have a problem? Of course not. But you can have problems without any encryption as well.

    Of course, you are entitled to your opinion - my point is simply that I would not be afraid in the least to use BitLocker. Just make sure you have proper planning and an understanding of the BitLocker solution on your side. For example, misunderstanding the identifier vs the actual recovery key is an important piece of info to be aware of!

    Before I use BitLocker for the first time years ago, I made darn sure I knew what I was getting into!

    As for storing data on USB sticks - I don't view that as any less reliable than a HD. In fact I can drop my USB sticks and toss then around with no problems. Try that with a HD. Again - never trust just one single backup! Always have multiple copies. I maintain a minimum of 4 copies of my really important stuff including off site and out of state backups. Heck, a nuclear blast couldn't cause me to loose my data. Of course, I might not be around to use it, but that's another story!
      My Computers


  5. Posts : 24,632
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #5

    My daughter once left a usb key in her pocket. It then went through a complete machine wash followed by a tumble dry cycle and survived intact and fully working. Try that with an HDD
      My Computers


  6. Posts : 5,817
    Win 11 Pro (x64) 21H2
       #6

    idgat said:
    ... Don't use Bitlocker.

    Half the forums on the internet would cease to exist were it not for users having problems with BL.

    (And, in any case, relying on anything stored on a USB stick will only end in tears)
    Agree with hsehestedt, utter rubbage.

    1- Nothing wrong with using BitLocker other than not understanding it's use
    2- Your BitLocker key can be installed anywhere you choose other than the drive being BitLockered. By default, it can be installed to your Microsoft Account if you have one.

    The problem for some is they lose their BitLocker key and find out the hard way they can't enter the drive without it. That the only way into the drive is a format which will obviously also wipe the drive's contents.

    Anyway.... How to Recover Your Files From a BitLocker-Encrypted Drive. Also, by Microsoft - Find my BitLocker recovery key.

    I use BitLocker all the time, using it now. The only issue I ever had was my user error in losing my BitLocker key along with not having it backed up to my Microsoft Account. The only way to enter the drive was to reformat it; thus losing all the data on the drive.

    Why do you encrypt a drive... in case the PC or drive gets stolen. And yes... nothing is fool proof. Even security firms get hacked., so... but for the normal everyday common thief, BitLocker works.

    My two cents.
      My Computers


  7. Posts : 1,414
    Windows 10 Pro
       #7

    Absolutely nothing at all wrong with the principle of encryption, but it's usually the method it's used, the purpose for which it's used, and the level of experience of the user.

    Interesting to note that the 2 responses above supportive of Bitlocker carry conditions (@sygnus21 "Nothing wrong with using BitLocker other than not understanding it's use"), (@hsehestedt "I dare say that the majority of people with issues simply don't follow best practices or may have other underlying issues such as hardware issues."), which would suggest it's not as robust and reliable in the hands of the inexperienced.

    And as a brave assumption, with all due respect, I suspect the OP is in this situation, hence my recommendation not to use it.

    The fact that it doesn't come with the every day commonly used Home version would suggest Microsoft may feel the same.

    Frequently come across users who use BitLocker simply for no other reason other than ..
    - it came with Windows Pro so I thought I must use it
    and/or
    - I accidentally started it from the menu but didn't know what I was doing
    and/or
    - it's simply downright cool and hip to be able to say your data is encrypted
      My Computer


  8. Posts : 5,817
    Win 11 Pro (x64) 21H2
       #8

    idgat said:
    Interesting to note that the 2 responses above supportive of Bitlocker carry conditions (@sygnus21 "Nothing wrong with using BitLocker other than not understanding it's use"), (@hsehestedt "I dare say that the majority of people with issues simply don't follow best practices or may have other underlying issues such as hardware issues.", which would suggest it's not as robust and reliable in the hands of the inexperienced.
    That assessment would be wrong. And if you actually used it you'd know that. And reliable is someone trying to get into the drive without a key. In that sense... many to their dismay when losing a key have found out the scheme is very reliable

    In terms of performance, there is a minimal performance hit, but this will only be seen in benchmarks, not felt in real world usage. I've been using it for years without issue.

    And it isn't hard to understand that an encrypted drive would require a key to unlock it. That losing said key would lock you out of the drive. That doesn't take a highly skilled person to understand that. Nor set it up.

    And btw, as long as the drive remains with the device it was encrypted on you can use it without needing a key to unlock it. However, if you update a BIOS than you will very likely be asked for the key to unlock the drive due the BIOS change.

    Peace
      My Computers


 

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