Microsoft offers BitLocker encryption feature for Windows to encrypt entire volumes, thus protecting data from unauthorized access. When you enable BitLocker on a hard disk, USB flash drive, or SD card, it encodes the files and folders stored on the device.
At times, you format the encrypted hard drive, resulting in data loss. Once you’ve formatted the hard drive, recovering the erased data could be difficult. In this post, we’ll be sharing the solutions to recover data from formatted BitLocker encrypted hard drive.
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Reasons for Formatting BitLocker-Encrypted Hard Drive
Some possible reasons for formatting BitLocker-encrypted hard drives include:
- Accidental Formatting: At times, while trying to format some other disk, you may end up formatting the disk containing important data.
- Intentional Formatting: If the file system on a drive has turned RAW, you lose access to the data. In such a situation, formatting the disk is the only solution. But formatting may lead to loss of data.
- Virus Attack: If your hard disk has been attacked by a virus, the data in the hard disk may get damaged or become inaccessible. In this situation, the computer’s antivirus or firewall may block the disk and force you to format it. In such cases, the Windows firewall may remove BitLocker’s metadata, resulting in data loss.
Methods to Decrypt BitLocker-Encrypted Hard Drive
Here are the methods to disable BitLocker encryption:
Method 1: Using BitLocker Drive Encryption Feature
Follow these steps to decrypt BitLocker-encrypted drive:
- Go to the Start button.
- Select Control Panel.
- Choose System and Security.
- Select BitLocker Drive Encryption.
- Click Decrypt Drive. (This option automatically unlocks the selected drive.)
Method 2: Decrypt using Certificates
To decrypt BitLocker-encrypted drive by using certificates, follow these steps:
[Note: For this, you need the certificate for the encrypted hard drive.]
- Go to Start.
- Type certmgr.msc and hit Enter.
- Click and open Certificate Manager.
- Choose a Personal Folder.
- Choose Action > All Tasks >
- Follow the Certificate Import Wizard and on-screen guidance.
Method 3: Using Windows GUI Mode
Follow the steps below to disable BitLocker encryption.
[Note: Ensure that you have administrator credentials to disable BitLocker encryption.]
- Go to Start > Control Panel > System and Security > BitLocker Drive Encryption.
- Look for the BitLocker-encrypted drive and click Turn Off BitLocker.
- A message will be displayed stating that the drive will be decrypted and that decryption may take some time. Click Turn off BitLocker/Decrypt the drive to continue and turn off BitLocker on the drive.
This process may take some time to decrypt the drive and remove BitLocker protection.
Method 4: Decrypt via Windows PowerShell Mode
To disable BitLocker encryption via Windows PowerShell mode, Windows PowerShell must be installed on your system. If it isn’t, download and install the supported Windows PowerShell version from the Microsoft website. Then, follow the given steps:
[Note: If the partition with the operating system contains any automatic unlocking keys, the cmdlet to disable BitLocker encryption won’t work. Use the Clear-BitLockerAutoUnlock cmdlet in the PowerShell window to remove all automatic unlocking keys to disable BitLocker for the partition.]
- Launch PowerShell in administrator mode.
- Execute the following commands:
- PS C:\>$BLV = Get-BitLockerVolume
- PS C:\>Disable-BitLocker -MountPoint $BLV
- Verify that the decryption is in progress through the following commands:
- Execute the command: PS C:\> Get-BitLockerVolume
- Check decryption progress in “Volume Status” and “Encryption Percentage”
Also Read: Stellar® Recovers 150 GB Data from a Self-Encrypting SSD Having Firmware Corruption
Recover Data from Formatted BitLocker Encrypted Drive
You need to use reliable data recovery software, such as Stellar Data Recovery Professional to recover data from a formatted BitLocker-encrypted drive. The software can help in recovering lost, deleted, and inaccessible data from BitLocker-encrypted storage devices. You can recover any file type from an encrypted or password-protected storage device with the help of Stellar Data Recovery software.
To recover data from the formatted hard drive by using windows data recovery professional software, follow these steps:
- Install and launch Stellar Data Recovery Professional.
- On the “Select What to Recover” screen, select the file type that you want to recover. Click Next.
- From the “Recover From” screen select the device type from where data is to be recovered.
- Choose BitLocker encrypted Windows drive volume. Click Scan.
[Note: The software will prompt for a BitLocker password. Enter the password to access and scan the drive. If you do not remember the BitLocker password, you cannot recover data from the encrypted storage media.]
- Once the scan is complete, preview the data. Then, select the files that you want to recover.
- Click on Browse to choose a location to save the selected files. (Use an external hard drive to save recovered data.)
Also, Check here for how to recover data from a Formatted Hard Drive for free?
- Click Start Saving to save recovered data.