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How to Find BitLocker Recovery Key on Windows 11

by Abhishek Mishra
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Windows automatically enables BitLocker when you sign in with a Microsoft or Azure Active Directory account. But what is the BitLocker recovery key and where is it stored? We will address all these queries in this post and help you find and back up your BitLocker recovery key on Windows 11. Let’s begin.

Why Do I Need the Bitlocker Recovery Key

You may need to find the BitLocker key after installing a new update or resetting Windows. In both these situations, a BitLocker window will obstruct your access to the system unless you provide the correct 48-digit Bitlocker recovery key.

Even if you want to make changes to the system using an installation media, you will have to enter the BitLocker recovery key to make changes. If you don’t have the key, it will be impossible to access the data stored on encrypted drives. You will have to wipe everything on the disk and will lose all the data after doing a fresh installation of Windows 11.

How to Find the BitLocker Recovery Key

When you sign in with a Microsoft account on your Windows 11 computer, the BitLocker password is automatically saved to the same Microsoft account. When you set up BitLocker manually, it offers multiple options to back up the key to your Microsoft account, another storage device, as a text file, and even create a physical copy of the password.

The easiest way to access the BitLocker recovery key is via your Microsoft account. Here’s how to do it:

1. Open a web browser and visit the official Microsoft account login page.

2. Enter your credentials and log in to your Microsoft account.

3. Scroll down to the Devices section. You may see multiple devices if you use the same Microsoft account on multiple computers.

4. Click on the View details option below your PC name.

Microsoft account devices section

5. Now, go to the BitLocker data protection section and click the Manage recovery keys option.

Device options in Microsoft account

6. You will have to verify your identity using the appropriate methods listed for your Microsoft account.

7. After verification, you will be redirected to the webpage where all your recovery keys will be listed. You may see two or more recovery keys if you previously enabled BitLocker on all the drives.

8. The drive marked OSV is the primary drive where Windows 11 installation is present. All the other drives ( D, E, or others) will have an FDV tag in the Driver column.

BitLocker recovery keys in Microsoft Account

9. Copy these recovery keys or take a snapshot of the page. You can use it to gain access to your computer by entering the 48-digit recovery key.

How to Backup the BitLocker Recovery Key

Windows Control Panel provides multiple methods to back up your BitLocker recovery key. You can save the key to a file on another drive and even print the recovery key. Apart from that, you can use a password manager service to create an additional cloud backup of the recovery key. Here’s how to do it:

1. Using a Text File

You can copy the recovery key to a file along with its identifier. The key isn’t visible in the Control Panel but there’s an option to create a text file. Here’s how:

1. Press the Windows key, type Control Panel, and press Enter.

Start menu

2. Navigate to System and Security > BitLocker Drive Encryption. Click on the Back up your recovery key option.

BitLocker options in Control Panel

3. Click on the Save to a file option. The Save as window will open.

Control Panel window

4. Make note that you cannot save the file to your C drive or any other encrypted drive. Insert a USB drive, browse, and select the USB drive. Then click on the Save button.

saving recovery keys on USB drive

5. Don’t close the Control Panel window yet.

2. Take a Printout

Follow the below-mentioned steps:

1. In the BitLocker Drive Encryption window, click on the Print the recovery key option.

2. Click on the Print button.

Printing BitLocker key

3. If you don’t have a printer connected to the computer, a Save as window will open. Name the recovery key file and click on the Save button.

Saving BitLocker key as PDF

4. Lastly, click on the Finish button.

5. You can print the PDF file or save it in your OneDrive or Google Drive account.

3. Saving the Key to a Password Manager

As an additional backup method, you can use a password manager app to save the BitLocker recovery key. You can use LastPass, Bitwarden, or even Chrome to back up your recovery key. Since these are all cloud-based services, you can access the recovery key from your computer and phone, or a web browser on any device.


1. How do I unlock BitLocker without a recovery key in Windows 11?

There are multiple ways to backup your BitLocker recovery key and the most obvious place to look is your Microsoft account. But if you cannot access your Microsoft account, or the recovery drive and file, there is no way around it. You will be locked out and will have to do a fresh install of Windows 11 using a bootable USB drive. There are many third-party recovery apps that claim to extract deleted data, but we cannot verify the authenticity of the claims.

2. Where is BitLocker in Windows 11 home?

BitLocker isn’t available for the Home versions of Windows 10 or 11. It is only available in the Windows 11 Pro, Enterprise, and Education versions. There is a basic form of data encryption present but you won’t see all the options in the Control Panel. All you can do is back up your recovery key. But you cannot suspend the protection in Windows 11 Home.

Keep the BitLocker Recovery Key Handy

Microsoft forums feature multiple threads on users facing issues with Windows requesting the BitLocker recovery key after a system update or restart. Often, BitLocker will prompt you to enter the recovery key if it detects a system intrusion. So, you can quickly find your Microsoft account or use the recovery key file saved on another drive or a password manager app to find the BitLocker recovery key.

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