How to unlock BitLocker when it stops accepting recovery keys

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


1. BitLocker Will Not Unlock

It has been reported that 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 the User to re-enter the key again. This behavior then loops.

2. Workaround To Unlock

To terminate this BitLocker recovery loop, BitLocker will first need to 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'll need to 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'll need to use the following command to suspend protection:

manage-bde -protectors -disable c:

Exit and reboot.

The system should now successfully boot Windows. Once there, use the BitLocker control panel to resume BitLocker protection.