About BitLocker encryption
Bit Locker is a way of protecting your hard drive by means of full disk encryption. It protects your hard drive from offline attack, meaning your data will be protected when a malicious user gets access to your hard drive physically. BitLocker makes the drive unreadable, so the data on it cannot be accessed.
BitLocker is designed in such a way that your hard drive data does not go into wrong hands, but at the same time, it makes it easy for PC owners (or the admin) to access the drive in the event of a failure. Also, another advantage of using BitLocker is that you can encrypt only select partitions on the hard drive.
What happens to the BitLocker partition when you format the primary partition that houses the OS?
Say for instance you have a BitLocker encrypted partition on your hard drive and you format the primary partition that contains the OS. What happens in these situations?
It is always recommended that you decrypt the Bit Locked partitions and then format the OS containing partition. But in the event that you have formatted the OS partition without decrypting Bit Locked partitions, you will find that the Bit Locked partitions will be locked.
To unlock these encrypted partitions, you will need the recovery key. This is the key you are asked to create during the initial set up the BitLocker encryption. This key is required if you are locked out of your hard drive or if the hard drive isn’t unlocking normally. You can have the key printed, written down, saved in a file or on an external drive or saved online in a Microsoft account.
If you enter the recovery key, you will be allowed to access the drive and its contents. You can follow the steps below to unlock the BitLocker encrypted partition on your hard drive using the recovery key:
- Boot into your system and type ‘Control Panel’ in the taskbar search
- Open Control Panel > System & Security > BitLocker Drive Encryption
- Locate the drive you wish to unlock and click Unlock drive
- Enter the password and then select More Options > Enter Recovery key
After you’ve entered the recovery key, the drive will be unlocked and you can access all the files on it. However, if you don’t have the recovery key and you wish to access files on the Bit Locker encrypted partition, make use of data recovery tools like Remo Recover to recover data from BitLocker partitions. It has the ability to recover data from encrypted as well as password protected partitions. This tool is also capable of recovering data from formatted Bit Locker partitions.
If you don’t have any important data on the drive, you can choose the ‘Reset This PC’ option. This will wipe all data on the drive, but reset your PC giving you the option to use the drive again.