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Wake Forest University

Unlocking a WFU-issued computer using a BitLocker recovery key

Modified on: Fri, Jun 4, 2021 3:31 PM

All Windows computers issued to WFU faculty and staff are protected by BitLocker encryption. 

You may encounter an error upon startup requesting the BitLocker recovery key to proceed with booting into Windows. This may occur if there is external media plugged into the machine (external flash drive, optical disk, or other bootable media), a BIOS update, a Windows update, or other reasons. If you have external media plugged into the computer, remove the media and restart the computer. This may prevent the BitLocker recovery screen from appearing. 

The BitLocker recovery screen will look similar to the image below:

BitLocker Recovery Screen Image

Note the first eight characters of the Recovery Key ID that appear on your computer screen. You will need these to retrieve your recovery key.

Retrieve your new recovery key using the following steps

Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) portal

  • Enter the first eight digits of the Recovery Key ID
  • Select the appropriate reason you need to recover your key
  • Press “Get Key” to retrieve the key
  • Enter the entire 48-digit BitLocker Recovery Key on the computer requesting the recovery key

If this issue continues to occur every time you boot the computer, you may need to take these steps to reset BitLocker's normal state after entering the BitLocker recovery key:

  • Go to Control Panel
  • Open the BitLocker Drive Encryption console and select "Suspend Protection"
  • Restart the computer

Control Panel Image

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