Summary: If you’ve accidentally formatted a BitLocker-encrypted hard drive, this blog will guide you on how to recover data from a formatted BitLocker-encrypted hard drive. You can use Stellar Data Recovery Professional software to recover deleted data or missing partitions from BitLocker-encrypted hard drives.
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.
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”
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.
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.)
If you want the experts to do the data recovery job for you, choose a professional data recovery services provider, such as Stellar. Stellar Data Recovery has the required expertise and infrastructure to deal with multiple data loss situations.
Over the years, Stellar Data Recovery Service has successfully recovered data from all types of encrypted hard drives. For instance, Stellar data care experts had recovered data from an encrypted drive that was formatted as well as physically damaged.
Experts at Stellar first assess the affected hard drive and then proceed with the data recovery process accordingly. They follow the below-mentioned process to extract lost data from formatted BitLocker encrypted hard drive:
The drive is examined to confirm if it is in working condition.
Then, an image of the hard drive is taken in case it has bad sectors.
The BitLocker password is entered to decrypt the drive.
It is followed by a scan of the drive partitions. The scan helps in fixing errors.
After this, each file and folder of the drive becomes accessible and is opened to check for anomalies.
With complete data verification, the data recovery process is complete.
[Note: Encryption key/password is required to unlock the drive for data recovery.]
This blog discusses the methods to recover deleted files lost due to the formatting of a BitLocker-encrypted disk. The best approach for data recovery from BitLocker-encrypted drive is by using professional data recovery software, such as Stellar Data Recovery. If the hard drive is physically damaged, it is recommended to seek help from a professional data recovery service provider that has expertise and experience in dealing with all kinds of data loss situations.
Sapna Trivedi is a Sr. Online Marketing Executive at Stellar. She has more than 5 years' of experience in the data recovery industry. Specifically, she has knowledge of data recovery services, photo recovery software, and SQL Repair software. She has always been a learner and she loves to implement her technical & marketing skills in her professional career. She has been successful in creating a blend of her hard skills and soft skills and utilize it effectively in her domain area of expertise.