Bitlocker recover key?

lherrou
lherrou used Ask the Experts™
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I'm trying to help a friend with her ASUS T100 10-Inch Transformer Laptop. She got it for Christmas last year, and I helped her set it up at the time. Her child was playing with it, and evidently triggered the "too many password attempts" and now it cannot be accessed - when booted, it says: "Automatic Repair - your PC did not start correctly" and then anything under Advance Options requires the Bitlocker recover key.

Here's the thing... when we use her email (the email address I used in setting up the computer) to get the bitlocker recovery key, it says there's no key. I even tried an older email address on the off-chance it was under that one.

She has a number of files and unreplaceable pictures of her baby on this machine, and I'm hoping to find some way to help her out.

Thoughts?
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Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
Who setup bitlocker? He will have the recovery key. It had to be printed or saved.
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Author

Commented:
Windows 8.1 encrypts drives by default. During initial PC setup, I entered her gmail address and that email address allows her to log into the bitlocker recovery area, but when she logs in, it says no bitlocker keys are found. At the time of setup, no printer was available, so it wasn't printed.
Christopher Jay WolffWiggle My Legs, Owner

Commented:
Hi people.
Should the UEFI be checked to make sure TPM is enabled?  Or if the computer was running, properly that means TPM was enabled?  A wild stab in the dark.

This quote and link explains you're out of luck as you may have already guessed and as MacKnife probably knows and hasn't said yet.  :)
Bitlocker Key out of luck.
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/bitlocker-recovery-keys-faq



Here is a Bitlocker recovery guide with some tools mentioned.  I don't think it will help but MacKnife can explain possibilities if they exist here.  It also lists causes of bitlocker recovery kickin, and the Recovery Environment issues as shown here.
Windows RE and Bitlocker.
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn383583.aspx#BKMK_AppendixC
OWASP: Forgery and Phishing

Learn the techniques to avoid forgery and phishing attacks and the types of attacks an application or network may face.

Most Valuable Expert 2013

Author

Commented:
OK, good link. I already knew most of that, but I did find this in the options list, which was a bit of information I hadn't encountered before:
>> A data recovery agent can use their credentials to unlock the drive. If the drive is an operating system drive, the drive must be mounted as a data drive on another computer for the data recovery agent to unlock it.
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Author

Commented:
Oops, nope. It doesn't mean what it sounded like. Only works when a certificate has been installed on the machine in advance.
Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2016
Commented:
>> the bitlocker recovery area
It that something on the system or is it just a mail being sent to that address?

Could it be that the recovery key is stored on Microsoft Live drive instead? Credentials (username) for Live could just be that gmail address.
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Author

Commented:
Correct. I was speaking of logging into the Bitlocker recovery section on M$ Live. When she does, it says no Bitlocker Recovery Keys are available.
Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2016

Commented:
>> When she does, it says no Bitlocker Recovery Keys are available.
Contact Microsoft then (probably won't help), try logging onto Live with your account:

https://onedrive.live.com/recoverykey
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
"... She has a number of files and unreplaceable pictures of her baby on this machine, and I'm hoping to find some way to help her out. "  ==>  ... and, I gather, no backups !!       ALL hard drives fail -- bitlocker encrypted or not.

Did you set this up to make occasional system image backups to an external drive by any chance?    Those are NOT encrypted -- so the data would be available in the image (or you could just restore it).
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Author

Commented:
Unfortunately. no. This is a friend, and she got the machine for Christmas last year. She's not too sophisticated a user.

For my son's Win 8.1 machine, I set up an account on OpenDrive, so it backs up all his important college files and his pictures, etc. regularly. I don't think this machine would be in my hands now if she had taken my suggestions for something like that.
Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.

Commented:
Todd,

Have you attempted to run the bitlocker repair tool yet?
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Author

Commented:
I think I have to have the recovery password to do that, and that's the issue... no recovery password.
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
You're done.. there is nothing you can do without the recovery key.. I save mine onto a USB drive that is on my key chain. Treat it like a hard drive failure.. in the future, google and others offer unlimited picture backup
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
Before we all conclude "you're done" or something similar, let's step back for a moment.

You write "8.1 automatically encrypts" - not true. The device encryption feature (which is not BL but similar technology) is only used automatically if a TPM is present AND an MS account is being used. So when setting up the computer, the first MS user will be the one whose cloud storage will be used to save the recovery key. Who was that? Obviously not the one you suspect but another account.

Then you write that at setup time, there was no printer installed so the key will not have been printed. Ok, but there will be a key. There's no way no backup has been created - it is mandatory, the encryption does not start without.
Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2016

Commented:
The no key part is clear, only hope is to get key from M$ - if it ever was stored successfully on the recovery area in onedrive.
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Author

Commented:
>> Ok, but there will be a key. There's no way no backup has been created - it is mandatory, the encryption does not start without.

True, but the owner doesn't remember what method she used to store it. And, of the three options, I know it was never connected to a printer, we've tried to find the key through M$ Live, and she doesn't recall saving to a USB drive (and unfortunately, it's possible to save to the c:\ drive, which could mean it's there, but encrypted with everything else).

I'll be contacting M$ and see what I can find out.
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
It's not possible to save to c:. We can save to \\localhost\c$, but not to c: and I don't think she knows such tricks.

Good luck with MS.
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Author

Commented:
We actually found two more accounts on Live that she owned, and were able to recover the passwords to both of those accounts, one of which had the Bitlocker Recovery Key. It was a hassle. The lessons learned were:

1) Pay attention during setup!
2) Use backups
3) Know where your accounts are, and how to access them.

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