• Bitlocker recovery key

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    I am in the process of setting up my daughter’s new Windows 11 computer.  She turns it on yesterday and the system is asking for her Bitlocker recovery key.  My daughter hasn’t been using the computer as the school year just started so she couldn’t have even accidentally enabled Bitlocker.   One of the ways around Bitlocker is to reset the computer.  I chose to reset the computer and not keep any of my files.  That step takes you to a screen that says – there was a problem resetting the computer and your only option is to click cancel.  How did Bitlocker get enabled and more importantly how do I get around it?  I don’t know if this is related, but the first thing I did with this computer was to try to get rid of the bundled McAfee Antivirus.  I used Revo Uninstaller to remove it, but when I rebooted, it was still there.  So I just thought I would let it expire and enable Windows defender.  Well all of the warnings about McAfee expiring went in my trash so I never saw them.   Could that have triggered Bitlocker?

    Viewing 4 reply threads
    • #2586882

      When did you buy the computer/how did you buy the computer and is there a Microsoft account used on it?

      McAfee would not have triggered this.

      Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

    • #2586899

      Some new computers come with Bitlocker enabled by default even if you don’t use a Microsoft ID.
      The first time that happened to me, I was appalled. Fortunately, I was able to remove the encryption before the the User got locked out.

    • #2587029

      Hi Wheeler:

      What is the make and model of your  daughter’s computer, and does it have  a Home or Professional edition of Windows 11?

      See the MS support article Finding your BitLocker Recovery Key in Windows. If any user signs in on this computer with a Microsoft Account they should log in at https://account.microsoft.com/devices/recoverykey from another device to see if their recovery key is stored there.  Here’s an old screenshot from my Microsoft Account when BitLocker drive encryption was turned on at Control Panel | System and Security | BitLocker Drive Encryption on my Win 10 Pro laptop (which is now turned off):


      If your daughter’s computer has a Win 10 or Win 11 Professional OS it’s possible they inadvertently agreed to have BitLocker enabled when she originally set up her computer during the OOBE (Out Of Box Experience). I recall being asked if I wanted to enable BitLocker encryption on my Win 10 Pro computer the first time I powered it on after purchase and stepped thorough the initial setup. Note that users will see this OOBE setup process after reinstalling the operating system as well.

      If your daughter’s computer supports the Modern Standby sleep state (which most newer computers now do – see my post # 2444880 in “Modern” Standby in Newer PCs on how to check if your computer supports Modern Standby / S0 Low Power Idle) then it’s also possible that BitLocker drive encryption was automatically enabled by Windows. The MS support article Overview of BitLocker Device Encryption in Windows states in part that:

      Beginning in Windows 8.1, Windows automatically enables BitLocker Device Encryption on devices that support Modern Standby. With Windows 11 and Windows 10, Microsoft offers BitLocker Device Encryption support on a much broader range of devices, including those devices that are Modern Standby, and devices that run Home edition of Windows 10 or Windows 11. Microsoft expects that most devices in the future will pass the requirements for BitLocker Device Encryption that will make BitLocker Device Encryption pervasive across modern Windows devices.”

      Dell also has a support article at Automatic Windows Device Encryption or BitLocker on Dell Computers that has a list of key hardware requirements.  Many other computer manufacturers like HP, etc. have similar articles on their support site.

      I know of several users who purchased a new Dell computer who had no idea that BitLocker drive encryption was enabled on their machine at Control Panel | System and Security | BitLocker Drive Encryption and had never printed out their BitLocker recovery key or backed it up to a safe location like a removable USB stick. For example, see the thread BitLocker: Need a Key But I Never Installed It in the Dell forum about a problem many users encountered back in August 2022 when installation of KB5012170 (Security Update for Secure Boot DBX) triggered a prompt asking users to enter their 48-digit BitLocker recovery key at boot-up. Users who could not find their BitLocker recovery key in their Microsoft Account eventually discovered that re-starting their system 3 or 4 times in succession cleared this prompt.
      Dell Inspiron 5584 * 64-bit Win 10 Pro v22H2 build 19045.3324 * Firefox v117.0.1 * Microsoft Defender v4.18.23080.2006-1.1.23080.2005 * Malwarebytes Premium v4.6.1.280-1.0.2117 * Macrium Reflect Free v8.0.7279

      • #2587061

        I’ve hit this on my Surface.  Mere patching after those @#$@$ secure boot patches will trigger Bitlocker recovery process. Rebooted a second time and it didn’t ask for it again.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

    • #2587175

      Wow!  Thanks for all your help!  A lot to reply to.  First things first.  It’s a Dell computer ordered online directly from Dell website.  Naturally, it is a new school so I am not sure about Azure.   She did an online school last year and doesn’t remember setting up a Microsoft account but..  Will check on that, but had to return that computer to the online school at the end of the school year in May.  I remember reading an article Woody wrote.  It was a checklist of what to do when setting up a new Windows 10 computer.  One of his suggestions was to enable system restore.  That would have gotten me out of this mess.  Anyway,  if she did set up a Microsoft account, I’m sure she doesn’t remember the password.  Would there be a reset password link?

      • #2587189

        Potentially.  Or a reset code sent to a phone number.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

      • #2587410

        It’s a Dell computer ordered online directly from Dell website….if she did set up a Microsoft account, I’m sure she doesn’t remember the password. Would there be a reset password link?

        Hi Wheeler:

        During the initial OOBE (Out Of Box Experience) setup of a new Windows 11 computer there is a trick that allows users to set up Windows with a local account instead of a Microsoft Account (see Step # 3 of Susan Bradley’s Windows 11 Setup Tips for Consumers about entering a fake email address during the setup) but I suspect that most home consumers enter the email associated with their existing Microsoft Account or create a new Microsoft Account if they don’t already have one during the OOBE setup. If they prefer to sign in to Windows with a local account on a regular basis (i.e., each time they log in after a system restart) most home consumers will typically create that local account after the initial OOBE setup is complete as instructed in the MS support article Create a Local User or Administrator Account in Windows that Susan mentioned in post # 2587190 and set that local user account as their default profile.

        If you daughter has created a Microsoft Account and forgot the password then see the MS support article Reset a Forgotten Microsoft Account Password.
        Dell Inspiron 5584 * 64-bit Win 10 Pro v22H2 build 19045.3324 * Firefox v117.0.1 * Microsoft Defender v4.18.23080.2006-1.1.23080.2005 * Malwarebytes Premium v4.6.2.281-1.0.2131 * Macrium Reflect Free v8.0.7279

    • #2587603

      aha Azure was the culprit.  Thanks everyone!

      1 user thanked author for this post.
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