Image of BitLocker recovery when booting up a machine.

How to stop BitLocker recovery boot loop

  1. Introduction
  2. Disable Windows BitLocker
  3. Enable Windows BitLocker
  4. End
  5. Tl;dr

Introduction

So you turn on your computer to find yourself stuck in a BitLocker boot loop, oh no! Don’t worry, it’s an easy fix providing you have the Windows BitLocker recovery key!

An image of BitLocker asking for recovery key.
An image of BitLocker asking for recovery key dell.

So windows is asking for a BitLocker recovery key every time you boot up your machine? Not a problem, the first thing you need to do is to unlock it by typing in the recovery key, this can be found depending how you saved it:

  • You printed it off.
  • You saved it to a file somewhere.
  • If you’re using Active Directory it’s likely it’s been setup so you can find it under the computer on there.

Disable Windows BitLocker

Assuming you’re in, the first thing we want to do is decrypt Windows BitLocker, you want to head over to ‘This PC‘ and ‘right click‘ your encrypted drive, ‘left click‘ on ‘Manage BitLocker‘.

Image of a file explorer window showing the Manage Bitlocker option.
A file explorer window showing the Manage Bitlocker option.

Once on the ‘BitLocker drive encryption‘ screen comes up, click on ‘Turn off BitLocker‘ to disable windows BitLocker drive encryption on your selected device.

Image of Bitlocker drive encryption to

Now you just need to confirm you want to deactivate Windows BitLocker by clicking on ‘Turn off BitLocker‘.

Image of BitLocker Drive Encryption asking if you want to turn off BitLocker.
BitLocker Drive Encryption asking if you want to turn off BitLocker.

Simply wait for the drive to decrypt.

Image of BitLocker Drive Encryption decrypting drive to turn off windows BitLocker.
BitLocker Drive Encryption decrypting drive to turn off windows BitLocker.

Enable Windows BitLocker

Note: Before this step, I would recommend booting into your BIOS and enabling ‘TPM‘ (Trusted Platform Module), it will likely be in the ‘Security‘ tab.

Afterwards we want to enable Windows BitLocker, you will first need to go back to ‘This PC‘ like you did at the start of the guide, right click the drive you want to encrypt and click ‘Turn on BitLocker‘.

Image of a file explorer window showing the turn on Bitlocker option to enable Windows BitLocker.
A file explorer window showing the turn on Bitlocker option to enable Windows BitLocker.

Next you will be taken through a number of settings pages, you will want to choose the options based on your requirements.

When it comes to backing up the recovery key I would recommend saving it to a file and saving it somewhere secure. Furthermore when choosing how to unlock your drive at startup, I have decided to go with the bottom option ‘Let BitLocker automatically unlock my drive‘ as it is what we use here, it uses TPM to unlock the machine automatically.

  • Image of BitLocker Drive Encryption asking how you would like to unlock your drive at startup.
  • Image of BitLocker Drive Encryption asking how you want to backup your recovery key.
  • Image of BitLocker Drive Encryption asking how much of your drive to encrypt.
  • Image of BitLocker Drive Encryption asking which encryption mode to use.
  • Image of BitLocker Drive Encryption asking if you're ready to encrypt the drive.
  • Image of the BitLocker drive encryption setup.
  • Image of the Bitlocker Drive Encryption screen with the TPM options.
Image of BIOS asking for confirmation to enable, activate and allow creation of an operator authentication value.
Image of BIOS asking for confirmation to enable, activate and allow creation of an operator authentication value.

If you get the two screens that I mentioned you might not get, you will likely get this screen after restarting it, simply press F10 to enable and activate TPM.

End

And that’s all there is to it! Not only have we covered BitLocker enabling, we’ve also covered how to disable it which will sort out your computer when BitLocker keeps asking for recovery keys!

If this post doesn’t help, we have another post here that might help!

Tl;dr

Disable the Windows BitLocker encryption, let it decrypt, then restart the machine and re-encrypt the drive by enabling BitLocker.

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