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5 Ways to Unlock BitLocker Encrypted Drive in Windows 10

Normally, a BitLocker encrypted drive is automatically locked every time you connect it to the computer or restart the computer. So, unless you have enabled auto-unlock for your BitLocker encrypted drive, you have to unlock it manually to access the files inside. Now, in this article, we will show you five different ways to unlock a BitLocker encrypted drive in Windows 10.

Note: Whatever method you use, you must have your password, smart card, or recovery key. If you do not have any of them, you will not be able to unlock the BitLocker encrypted drive.


Way 1: Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive from File Explorer

Step 1: Open File Explorer and go to This PC. Locate the BitLocker encrypted drive with a yellow lock, and then double-click it or right-click it and select Unlock Drive.

right-click BitLocker encrypted drive

Step 2: A small BitLocker window appears in the upper right corner of the screen, asking you to enter a key to unlock this drive. Enter your BitLocker password or recovery key, and then click Unlock. The drive will be unlocked immediately.

enter password to unlock drive

Way 2: Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive from Control Panel

Step 1: Open Control Panel and go to System and Security > BitLocker Drive Encryption.

click BitLocker Drive Encryption

Step 2: On the BitLocker Drive Encryption panel, locate the drive with BitLocker turned on, and then click Unlock drive. Similarly, a small BitLocker window displays. Just enter your BitLocker password or recovery key, and then click Unlock to unlock the drive.

unlock BitLocker in Control Panel

Way 3: Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive with BitLocker Reader

iSumsoft BitLocker Reader is a third-party option that allows you to easily turn on/off, and manage BitLocker encryption on your drives. In case Windows built-in BitLocker Drive Encryption can’t start or stops working, this tool should be a good alternative. Here is how to use the tool to unlock a BitLocker encrypted drive in Windows 10.

Step 1: Download and install iSumsoft BitLocker Reader on your Windows 10. After installation, launch this tool.

Step 2: Right-click the BitLocker encrypted drive and click Unlock Drive.

click Unlock Drive

Step 3: A small dialog box opens. Select the "Use password" option, enter your BitLocker password, and then click Unlock. Of course, you can also select the Recovery key option, then enter your recovery key to unlock the drive.

enter password and click Unlock

Step 4: The BitLocker encrypted drive is unlocked successfully and you can exit the tool.

unlock bitlocker drive successfully

Tip: iSumsoft BitLocker Reader also has a Mac version that helps you unlock BitLocker encrypted drives in macOS. This is very useful because macOS does not support BitLocker under normal circumstances.

Way 4: Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive using Command Prompt

Step 1: Type cmd in the “Type here to search” box on the left side of the taskbar. When the Command Prompt shortcut appears in the search results list, right-click it and select Run as administrator. This will open Command Prompt as administrator.

open command prompt

Step 2: In the Command Prompt window, type manage-bde -unlock E: -password and press Enter. When you’re prompted to enter the password to unlock this volume, enter your correct password and press Enter. The drive will be unlocked successfully.

unlock BitLocker drive with command

Note: Replace E with the drive letter of your BitLocker encrypted drive that needs to be unlocked. The BitLocker password you enter in the Command Prompt window is invisible, so make sure you enter it correctly.

If you want to use your recovery key to unlock the drive, type the following command and hit Enter. Replace “Your-BitLocker-Recovery-Key” with your actual BitLocker recovery key.

manage-bde -unlock E: -RecoveryPassword Your-BitLocker-Recovery-Key

use recovery key in command prompt

Way 5: Unlock BitLocker encrypted drive with Windows PowerShell

Step 1: Press Win + X and select Windows PowerShell (admin) from the menu.

open powershell

Step 2: In the PowerShell window that opens, type the following command and press Enter. When you’re prompted to enter a password, enter your correct BitLocker password and press Enter. The drive will be unlocked successfully.

Unlock-BitLocker -MountPoint “E:” -Password (Read-Host “Enter Password” -AsSecureString)

unlock BitLocker drive with powershell

If you want to use your BitLocker recovery key to unlock the drive, type the following command and hit Enter. Replace “Your_BitLocker_Recovery_Key” with your actual recovery key.

Unlock-BitLocker -MountPoint “E:” -RecoveryPassword Your_BitLocker_Recovery_Key

use recovery key in powershell