The following information can help you find your BitLocker Recovery Key and understand why your system is asking for it.

Where can I find my BitLocker recovery key?

BitLocker probably ensured that a backup copy of the recovery key was made before activating protection. Depending on which BitLocker activation was chosen, there may be several places where your recovery key is located.

bitlocker recovery keys

  • A printout of the recovery key: It is possible that you printed it when BitLocker was activated. Take a look at where important papers are kept.
  • Insert the USB flashdrive into your locked computer and follow the steps. You can save the key to a text file on your flash drive. If so, you will need a different computer to open the text file.
  • In Azure Active Directory account If you have ever signed in to an organization with a school or work email account, your recovery code may be saved in the Azure AD account. It may be possible to access it from your computer, or you might need to contact the system administrator.
  • Holded by your system administrator If your device has been connected to a domain, such as a school or work device, ask a system administrator to provide your recovery key.


  • Suppose you cannot locate the BitLocker key recovery key or can’t reverse any configuration changes that may have made it necessary. In that case, you will need to reset the device using one of the Windows Recovery Options. All files will delete if you reset your device.
  • Microsoft support cannot provide a BitLocker recovery code for a lost key.


What is my BitLocker recovery key?

BitLocker’s recovery key is a 48-digit number password that you can use to unlock your system. This is in case BitLocker cannot verify that access to the system drive has been authorized.

Why is Windows asking for my BitLocker recovery key?

BitLocker is a Windows encryption technology that secures your data against unauthorized access. It encrypts your drive and requires one or more authentication factors before unlocking it.

Windows will ask for a BitLocker key to recover data from an unauthorized access attempt. This is an extra security measure to protect your data. This could also occur if BitLocker cannot distinguish between a possible attack or hardware changes. BitLocker may ask for additional security to the recovery key in these situations, even if the owner is authorized. This is done to ensure that the person unlocking the data is confirmed.

How was BitLocker activated on my device?

BitLocker can protect your device in three ways:

  • A modern device must meet specific requirements to enable device encryption. Your BitLocker recovery code is saved to your Microsoft account before protection is activated.
  • The owner or administrator activates BitLocker on your device through the Settings app or Control Panel. The user who starts BitLocker can choose where to save the key, or it will be saved automatically to their Microsoft account.
  • Your device is being managed by a school or work organization. The organization might have your BitLocker recovery code.

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