How to Reset a Laptop without BitLocker Recovery Key

reset windows laptop asking for bitlocker key

BitLocker is a quite useful feature on Windows that let users encrypt a drive in an easy way. If, you had turned on BitLocker encryption on your Windows laptop and now want to reset the device, then, the process will be quite simple by inputting the BitLocker keys.

But if you have forgotten BitLocker recovery keys, you will have to pass through many hurdles to reset Windows. That’s because, in every step, you will have to enter BitLocker recovery key to proceed ahead.

But, don’t get worried, as the master solution is provided here, just step down and apply the same. And before moving ahead, let’s see what is BitLocker and its benefits.

How Does BitLocker Encryption Work?

BitLocker is an encrypted 48 numerical password feature built in with Windows and it is being used to secure data on a physical drive. It comes with a recovery key that can be stored in Microsoft account or other places like portable hard drive or USB flash drive. It is a very important asset because if you lost it, then it will be hard to disable BitLocker or to access the data kept inside the encrypted drive.

How to Find BitLocker Recovery key?

1. Well, most of the users move directly to the reset method and then they failed to reset Windows. But the initial move should be to regain the password. At the time of resetting a laptop, you will have to enter the key. Even if you have secured the BIOS, then at the time of booting, you need to provide BitLocker key.

2. BitLocker always ensures the users to back up the keys and it depends on how you have secured it. If you have a Microsoft account, then you must log in to get the keys. This is because such credentials are sent by Microsoft at the time of activating the BitLocker.

3. If you are working in an organization and signed in to their email account, then BitLocker keys can be found on the Azure Active Directory of such an organization. So, you need to consult the admin to get the keys.

4. Group Policies is yet another feature of Windows OS that enables you to back up the BitLocker keys from the local computer to another one in the Active Directory. This case applies when you are in the same workstations. Group Policies or GPO will be effective if you had saved a backup of the keys earlier. In short, if you have forgotten the BitLocker key, then you won’t be able to access the GPO backup feature.

How to Reset The Laptop Without BitLocker Recovery Keys

Somehow, if you failed to gain the encrypted drive keys, you will have to clear the protected system drive and then reinstall Windows OS again on your computer. The entire steps for the method are provided below.

A USB drive that contains Windows Installation Media. If you have not created a bootable USB drive, then using Windows Media Creation Tool, you can do the task. As your computer is locked, so you need to access another PC to create a bootable Windows drive.

The process to Reset Windows without BitLocker keys

Please pay attention! In this method, your encrypted drive will be erased along with all the important data. So, either proceed if you have the backup or you can take the chance at your own risk.

Step 1: Turn off your computer, remove external peripherals if connected, and then insert the USB drive.

Step 2: Next, turn ON your Laptop and press the relevant key to reach the BIOS menu such as F8 or F12. Such a key is usually shown on the screen of the Laptop.

Step 3: After reaching the BIOS, select USB as the primary boot order and then click on the Save & Exit button to come out from the panel.

Step 4: Now press the Shift and F10 keys together to launch the command prompt.

Step 5: A command prompt box will appear and you need to play with some commands to wipe the encrypted BitLocker system drive.

Step 6: To access disk partition, enter the command.


Step 7: Next, type the command to view the list of partitions.

list disk

Step 8: After getting the list of drives, type the below-mentioned commands.

select disk 0

Step 9: To find out the space allotted to the drives, type the command.

list volume

Step 10: After that, you will get all the drives associated with your laptop with the sizes occupied by them. To select the system drive, i.e., C, type the below command.

Select Volume #

Note: Here, # denotes the number of drives. If your C drive is resembling number 1, then type Select volume 1.

Step 11: After selecting the volume, you need to delete it through the command.

Delete volume override

Step 12: Now, exit the CMD window through the command.


Step 13: Your command prompt is closed and now you can turn off your Laptop and turn it ON again.

This was all about the way to remove BitLocker from the system drive. Though in this method, you have wiped out the system drive, this is the only way to get rid of BitLocker from a drive.

Further, you can go with the fresh Windows OS installation and can install your necessary application later on your Laptop.

Reinstall Windows OS

Now, your system drive is free from BitLocker and you can easily install Windows OS on your Laptop. The installation process is very simple and all you need to insert the bootable USB drive and then follow the instructions provided below.

Step 1: Go to the BIOS menu, select USB as primary Boot order.

Step 2: Soon, the Window Installation page will appear, select the Country, adjust the data and click on the Next button.

Step 3: When a pop-up window appears seeking the product key, just click on “I don’t have the product key”.

Step 4: Thereafter, read the terms and conditions of Windows and further click on the Agree button.

Step 5: Next, choose the Custom option to install Windows OS.

Step 6: A list of drives will appear on the screen; you need to delete all the partitions. To do the task, select the one drive and then click on the Delete button. Repeat this task for all the partitions.

Step 7: Next, select the partition where you want to install Windows and then click on the Next button.

Step 8: The Windows installation process will commence and once it gets completed, customize Windows OS as per your Laptop.

Now, your job is done and you can easily access Windows OS on your Laptop. Due to the lost BitLocker key, your drives have been erased. But this is the only way to reset Windows without a BitLocker key.

This method was pretty easy if you have a good skill to play with commands. Moreover, your data will be erased in this process. So, if you need a fresh start despite thinking of your lost data, then only go through this method. But in the future, if you access BitLocker again, then make sure to keep the key in a secured place or take a print.

Tech content writer & blogger who’s passionate about computer software and hardware.