Recovering deleted files from a BitLocker encrypted external hard drive

Comprehensive Guide: Recovering Data from Formatted BitLocker-Encrypted Hard Drives


In the digital age, protecting sensitive data is paramount, and BitLocker encryption stands as a robust solution for Windows users. However, unforeseen circumstances may lead to the inadvertent formatting of a BitLocker-encrypted hard drive, causing potential data loss. In this comprehensive guide, we explore effective methods and tools, particularly leveraging Stellar Data Recovery Professional software, to recover deleted data or missing partitions from formatted BitLocker-encrypted hard drives.

Understanding BitLocker Encryption

Microsoft’s BitLocker encryption is a vital feature safeguarding data from unauthorized access by encoding files and folders on storage devices like hard disks, USB flash drives, or SD cards.

Reasons for Formatting BitLocker-Encrypted Hard Drive

Accidental Formatting

In the hustle of managing multiple disks, accidental formatting of the wrong drive can result in the loss of crucial data.

Intentional Formatting

When a drive’s file system turns RAW, necessitating formatting as the sole solution, the risk of data loss becomes imminent.

Virus Attack

Hard disk viruses can damage or render data inaccessible, compelling users to format the disk, potentially leading to BitLocker metadata removal and subsequent data loss.

Methods to Decrypt BitLocker-Encrypted Hard Drive

Using BitLocker Drive Encryption Feature

  1. Navigate to Start > Control Panel > System and Security > BitLocker Drive Encryption.
  2. Click on Decrypt Drive to automatically unlock the selected drive.

Decrypting using Certificates

  1. Obtain the certificate for the encrypted hard drive.
  2. Go to Start, type certmgr.msc, and open Certificate Manager.
  3. Follow the Certificate Import Wizard and on-screen guidance.

Using Windows GUI Mode

  1. Navigate to Start > Control Panel > System and Security > BitLocker Drive Encryption.
  2. Locate the BitLocker-encrypted drive and click Turn Off BitLocker.
  3. Follow on-screen prompts for decryption.

Decrypting via Windows PowerShell Mode

  1. Launch PowerShell in administrator mode.
  2. Execute specific commands to disable BitLocker encryption.
  3. Verify decryption progress through commands.

Recover Data from Formatted BitLocker Encrypted Drive

  1. Install and launch Stellar Data Recovery Professional.
  2. Select the file type to recover and choose the BitLocker encrypted Windows drive volume.
  3. Enter the BitLocker password for scanning.
  4. After scanning, preview and select files for recovery.
  5. Save recovered data to an external hard drive.

Data Recovery Process

BitLocker Encrypted Hard Drive Recovery Services

For those seeking professional assistance, Stellar Data Recovery Service offers expertise in recovering data from various encrypted hard drives, including formatted and physically damaged ones.

  1. Drive Assessment: Confirming the working condition of the affected hard drive.
  2. Image Creation: Creating an image of the hard drive to handle bad sectors.
  3. Decryption: Entering the BitLocker password for drive decryption.
  4. Partition Scan: Scanning drive partitions to fix errors.
  5. Data Verification: Ensuring each file and folder becomes accessible, completing the data recovery process.


In conclusion, when faced with the challenge of recovering deleted files due to formatting of a BitLocker-encrypted disk, a strategic approach is crucial. Stellar Data Recovery, both through its professional software and recovery services, emerges as a reliable solution. For physically damaged drives, seeking assistance from experts is recommended. This guide serves as a definitive resource, ensuring a seamless recovery process for users dealing with BitLocker-encrypted data loss.