Locked out by Bitlocker

Hi,
I have a client with a newer Dell laptop running W 10 which is asking for her Bitlocker key which she doesn't have.
It boots right to the Bitlocker page.
The Microsoft instructions, like use another computer and go to https://accountactivedirectory.windowsazure.com/n/#/devices
is, as per usual, garbage. That link is broken and comes up with "This site can't be reached".
Any ideas as how I can recover access to the HDD or the key?
Thanks
vlogg5Asked:
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serialbandCommented:
If that key is not saved anywhere, the data is gone.  You can't recover it.  You will have to reinstall.  The only way to decrypt it is to use a key.
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Mal OsborneAlpha GeekCommented:
Without a recovery key, the data is gone. You can reinstall from the beginning, and the laptop will automatically re activate.

What would the point of Bitlocker be if the data could be "recovered" in this scenario?
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Andy MInternal Systems ManagerCommented:
The Microsoft instructions, like use another computer and go to https://accountactivedirectory.windowsazure.com/n/#/devices
is, as per usual, garbage. That link is broken and comes up with "This site can't be reached".

I believe that the link itself is supposed to be a dead link - it's more of a placeholder requiring you to replace "accountactivedirectory" with your own Azure AD domain details.So if your domain is "acme" the link should be https://acme.windowsazure.com/n/#/devices or something to that effect.

If you're setup on Azure AD go to the devices and find the laptop in question - the Bitlocker recovery key may be saved in there, if not then as per above, there's no way to recover it and you'll have to wipe and re-setup the laptop.
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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
Serialband and Mal are correct.

We see this question several times a month and yes, it's a heartbreaker when someone says "All my family pictures are on that encrypted drive!"  But the thing is, ...

  • If data is important it should be backed up somewhere else, unencrypted.
  • Extremely important data should not be encrypted.  Too many things can go wrong.
  • Encrypting data is no protection against the Feds.  They can now compel you to supply the key.
  • If encryption can be broken, it's not encryption.

Microsoft comes right out and says, "No key, no decrypt.  There's no back door into Bitlocker.  Don't lose the key."

The only way in other than knowing the key is if the system were still running with the Bitlocker partition unlocked.  Then it's possible to recover the key.  In this case that option isn't available.

If the data on the drive has enduring value all you can do is pull the drive out of the system, put it on the shelf and hope that someday quantum decryption becomes a reality.  Maybe in 20 years it will be possible.
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vlogg5Author Commented:
Would I be able to use the same HDD. ie format and re install the OS or is the HDD headed to the recycle bin?
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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
You can repartition, reformat and re-use the drive.  After being used for Bitlocker I would personally do a full erase first using a tool such as Active@ KillDisk or Darik's Boot and Nuke.
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vlogg5Author Commented:
Thanks everybody. I now consider the question closed and will awarding points soon.
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serialbandCommented:
The point of bitlocker is that you no longer need to erase.  If someone steals your laptop then the data shouldn't be recoverable.  Just do a quick format and reinstall over it.
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vlogg5Author Commented:
Thanks everybody.
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