BitLocker on an External Drive

Posted on 2011-10-14
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Question 2:
Okay, I've already gotten part of my answer, but now I need to go a little further. I have a system that use to have BitLocker installed on both the OS and an external hard drive. We recently replaced all of the internal drives on our computers and the new images do not have BitLocker installed. However, now when I start up my system, to access the external drive, I have to manually enter the BitLocker key. There is an option to retrieve the key from an external USB device, but I cannot find out how to get the key onto that device to allow it to be retreived from it. Since BitLocker is not installed on the OS/system drive, I do not have BitLocker in the Control Panel. I DO NOT WANT TO INSTALL BitLocker on the internal drive. In fact, I'd like to get it off the external drive, but I doubt that will happen.

Is there a way to manually get the key onto a USB flash drive so that BitLocker will recognize it when I tell it to retrieve from the device so I don't have to type in a 55-character string every time I start up my system?
Question by:dbbishop
    LVL 1

    Accepted Solution

    hey dbbishop,

     You cannot save the recovery key to usb drive now, it has to be saved while you enable the bit locker.

    The other work around is to backup all the data from the external drive and format it.. if you format the drive bit locker encryption will be removed from that drive. Then again you can copy the data to the external drive.

    post back the results.
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    You need the Bitlocker control panel to administer a bitlocker encrypted anything!
    Do have another system with the Win 7 enterprise and/or Ultimate?
    LVL 15

    Author Comment

    CanusRufus: Not any more. We have Lenovo W510's that came with Toshiba SSDs, that SUCKED big time. After several weeks on the phone with Lenovo and IBM, they finally replaced them (26). We imaged the new drives without BitLocker and then installed in the laptops and copied over user settings.

    One option I have is that I still have the old drive. I could reinstall it and I guess create the key on a thumb drive with it installed, and then reinstall the new drive. Will that let me do it, and will the key still work to unlock the external drive if I do it that way after reinstalling the system drive that does not have BitLocker installed? Ultimately, I'd like to remove BitLocker from the external drive (per sadelphin's suggestion) which is what I stated I'd like to do in my original post.
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    Since you want to remove BitLocker anyway why not use the command line tool Manage-bde and just turn off decryption. That way you do not need to install BitLocker on the new build.

    You will need the key but you've stated that you do have the key.
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    If you can see the data, pull it from the drive and reformat and put back on the newly formatted drive with no encryption per sadelphin's original post. This seams to be your overall goal. The time it takes to get a key and decrypt the drive, you'd be done with the project already if you reformat and start over.......
    LVL 15

    Author Closing Comment

    Copied data off, reformatted, and moved data back on. In the long-run the best solution.

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