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How to unlock BitLocker when it stops accepting recovery keys

Summary: This article contains information regarding a workaround to unlock BitLocker when it stops accepting key inputs to unlock.

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Article Content


BitLocker Will Not Unlock 

BitLocker may fail to unlock when the key is entered. When the key is entered (even when registered in Active Directory), BitLocker reports the key was accepted and the unlock was successful, but then prompts you to reenter the key again. This behavior then loops.

Work around To Unlock 

To terminate this BitLocker recovery loop, BitLocker must be suspended from within WinRE. To do so, follow these steps:
  • On the page where you are asked to enter the recovery key, choose the Skip this drive link at the bottom. You should be presented with a menu that will let you get to a command prompt (The sequence is Advanced options -> Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> Command prompt).
  • Once you have a command prompt, use the following command to check the BitLocker status of the C: Drive:
    • manage-bde -status c:
  • If the status is returned as locked, you must use the following command to unlock it using your recovery password:
    • manage-bde -unlock c: -rp your 48-digit recovery password
  • Once the drive is unlocked, you must use the following command to suspend protection:
    • manage-bde -protectors -disable c:
  • Exit and reboot.
  • The computer should now successfully boot Windows. Once there, use the BitLocker control panel to resume BitLocker protection.




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Article Properties

Affected Product

Desktops & All-in-Ones, Laptops, Security, Software

Last Published Date

01 Jul 2021



Article Type