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Top Tips to Unlock and Format BitLocker Encrypted USB Drive

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jul 17, 2024 • Filed to: USB Recovery • Proven solutions

Launched in 2007, the BitLocker is an encryption service that is provided by Microsoft. It works on AES encryption and makes sure that the full volume of the USB drive is saved from unauthorized access. The Bitlocker USB encrypts the data using the architecture of the Next-Generation Secure Computing Base launched in 2004.

More safety as it brings, BitLocker sometimes brings us inconvenience when the password is missing. In this article, we are introducing the best practices to remove BitLocker protection, and the solutions to format the BitLocker encrypted flash drive. In addition, we provide a solution to recover lost data from formatted USB drive. Continue reading and find out!

Part 1: Is It Possible to Unlock a BitLocker Encrypted USB Drive?

On BitLocker USB stick, BitLocker generates a recovery key, and you have to apply a password to make the USB secure. The BitLocker USB drive comes with a password as well as the recovery key. This helps you to recover the data from your drive if you lose your password.

Ways to Unlock the Recovery Key

2 options could be used to find the BitLocker recovery key of the BitLocker pen drive. They are explained as under.

1. In the form of a TXT file

This is a common technique that should be used to make sure that the recovery key of BitLocker encrypt USB drive is saved. You can save the recovery key in the form of a text file so that in case of any misadventure you have the backup.

format the bitlocker

2. Using the One Drive or Microsoft account

This will only help if the key has been back up to the account. Login your One Drive on your system and head over to Files > Documents to retrieve the document. The key can then be used to access data on the BitLocker USB encryption drive.

access data on bitlocker


There are other ways to make sure that the key is recovered with ease and perfection. To make it happen you just need to take a print out of the TXT file as soon as you get it. You can also save it to another flash drive and retrieve it when needed. It will help you if you are using BitLocker for the external hard drive.

Part 2: How to Remove Bitlocker Encryption from External Hard Drive?

If by any chance you have lost or forgotten your password, then there are some brute force attack tools to get back your data. The process is lengthy and not viable. If there is nothing important on your BitLocker USB key drive then it can easily be formatted through the disk management tools.

Whether internal or external there are 4 ways to remove the BitLocker encryption on your hard drive. These four ways are mentioned as under for your better understanding.

1. Removal from the Control Panel

This is the easiest way to perform the work. The process has been mentioned as under.

i. Click on the Start menu and access the control panel. Select System and Security from the interface.

select system and security

ii. Choose BitLocker Drive encryption on the next interface. Click on turn off BitLocker Encryption. Reconfirm your option to deactivate the facility.

click on turn off bitLocker encryption

2. Using the BitLocker Manager

The steps are as follows.

i. Access the file explorer and right-click the USB drive. Select the BitLocker manager from the drop-down.

select the bitLocker manager

ii. Click on Turn off BitLocker on the next interface to get the work done.

turn off bitLocker

3. Using the PowerShell

The process is simple as explained under.

i. In the search bar search for the PowerShell and click on it once found.

search for the powershell

ii. On the next interface type Disable-Bitlocker –MountPoint "drive letter:"

type disable-bitlocker –mountpoint

iii. Press Enter and your device will be unlocked. The Shell will prompt the success message to get the process finished.

press enter

4. The Command Prompt

The steps are as follows.

i. Access the command prompt from the start menu and type the command manage-bde -unlock F: -RecoveryPassword YOUR-BITLOCKER-RECOVERY-KEY .

 type the command

ii. Next type in the command manage-bde -off f: to remove the BitLocker encryption.

continue to type the command

Additional reading: How to Encrypt a Flash Drive to Ensure Data Safety

Part 3: How to Format a Bitlocker Encrypted USB Drive?

To know how to format a BitLocker encrypted drive without a password the process is as under.

Step 1. You need to access the file explorer where you can see your BitLocker USB windows 10 interface.

access the file explorer

Right-click the USB drive and select Format to format BitLocker drive. It will also let you know how to format BitLocker encrypted drive without password

click usb drive and select format

Step 2. Select the NTFS option on the next interface. The default allocation size should remain the same. Also, select Quick Format to format BitLocker drive without a key so that it does not take time at all. Click Start and then Yes to perform the format of BitLocker with USB key.


The quick format must be selected for the BitLocker flash drive. The data will still be recoverable as only file headers are deleted. If the option is not selected then a full format will take place. It will recover the bad sectors and will delete the data to its core. The process will take longer and you canot unplug the USB while this is happening.

select quick format

Apart from that, there are more advanced methods to format your USB drive, click and learn how to format USB flash drive using CMD like a pro!

Part 4: Recover Lost Data from Formatted Bitlocker Encrypted USB drives?

At times you accidentally format a BitLocker drive and want to retrieve the data. The only program that would make it possible for you is Recoverit Data Recovery. The program is simply stunning as it allows you to get the data recovered that has been lost for any reason. It has been rated high by the independent reviewers. It is the best answer to the question that how to recover data from formatted BitLocker encrypted drive.

deleted data recovery

Recoverit Data Recovery - The Best File Recovery Software

  • The format support of the program is large. It allows you to recover 1000+ data types and formats completely.
  • Once the data has been retrieved it keeps about 95% of it intact and readable. This is especially implemented in video recovery.
  • Irrespective of the cause of data loss you can easily retrieve it with the help of Recoverit Data Recovery.

To retrieve the data on BitLocker for pen drive or the external drive or USB you need to follow the process that is as under.

Step 1: Start the program

Access the main interface of the program once it has been installed.

run recoverit

Step 2: Specify the location

On your computer select the location you want to scan.

recoverit interface

Step 3: Start scanning

Once the location has been detected scan it to retrieve the data.

operations during scanning

Step 4: View before saving

Preview and select the files that you want to retrieve. Once done press recover to complete the process in full.

preview recovered photos

Video Tutorial on How to Recover Files from BitLocker Encrypted Drive?

Recent Videos from Recoverit

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Recoverit Data Recovery is one of the best and the most reliable tool to recover your data from BitLocker thumb drive. The best part of the program is its ease of operation. It means that you just need to perform a few clicks and the rest is done by the program on its own. Though there are other ways to recover data from BitLocker pen drive Recoverit Data Recovery surpasses all the processes.

Recoverit author

Sue Wayne

staff Editor

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