Locked out of my PC! BitLocker was enabled on it's own and I have no key

Copper Contributor
Hi all,
This happened on my dad's Acer 5 A515 laptop. as far as I can tell - he just opened the laptop one day and was locked out of his PC with the Bitlocker screen on. He never enabled it or set up a recovery key, let alone saved the key somewhere. perhaps some rogue update behavior or smthng.
Is there anyway around that? what's important is to save some files that are on the PC - other than I can format and reinstall.
19 Replies
Do you remember if there was a setting enabled on your device called "device encryption"? It has a distinct name from BitLocker but internally it uses BitLocker and so the protection from BitLocker was likely always active even if you didn't realize it.

@amarioguyI don't know. It was just a new pc, bought a few months ago - nothing special was done to it at all... it just locked all of the sudden.

Hi @Ozo123123 

Please login to your Microsoft Account from another computer, Devices, select your device and click See detail, from Bitlocker data protection, select Manage recovery keys

Bitlocker-002.pngPlease share your feedback, do not hesitate to contact me for further assistance, I will welcome all the questions you may have.

@Ozo123123 if you sign in with a microsoft account on that locked PC, please do follow what SalmanAhmed said, the recovery keys get uploaded to the MS cloud (for device encryption) so you can retrieve the key you need to unlock the device
There's no recovery key there, I checked it already...

Hi @Ozo123123,

If you have done any hardware-level changes with your computer as mentioned below, I would suggest you to revert back the change, it will allow you to start your Windows. So that, you can turn off Bitlocker or you can take backup the key (If you want to keep Bitlocker): 

  • BIOS Configuration
  • Enable/Disable Secure Boot
  • Boot Order, UEFI to Legacy
  • TPM Disable/Enable
  • Add/Remove New Hard Disk/SSD


Additionally, I found a useful article, I hope it could be helpful for you.


I am having the same issue. It sounds like I will need to back up my data somehow and reinstall my computer. Is there a way to access the harddrive and save data while the computer is reinstalled?


Same problem on my Acer aspire a515-56,

My laptop is locked by bitlocker and i have a recovery key  but it is not working@Ozo123123 

@Ozo123123 if there was no key in your MS account, then the only choice is to reset the computer. Please make a bootable rescue USB and backup your data. After that,  reinstall the OS from a bootable USB.

@Ozo123123 , i have the same problem. The update force to install and Bitlocker turned on. 


I found the recovery key on MS website but I can only key in numeric bot alphabet.


Seems like can only reformat. It sounded like virus to me. 





the recovery key come with AlphaNumeric but the recovery key field can only accept numeric.


I'm having the same issue with not being able to enter the alfanumerics, it will only let me enter the numbers for the key.  Is there a solution for this or will I have to format and reinstall my OS?

Boot into a recovery disk and backup your data. After that, format the C drive and reinstall Windows.
Go and check if the recovery key is stored in your Microsoft account. Otherwise, you have to format the drive and make a fresh install of Windows 10 from a bootable USB drive.
Is this the official Microsoft reply?
They should be charged for the cost of a professional to repair it if it is. My hard drive isnt even recognised when trying to reinstall windows, is this normal?
Did you end up finding a solution?
I did exactly what you said, but it reads:

You don’t have any Bitlocker recovery keys you’re looking for might be on their account.

When I click “Learn more” it explains that the key must be with the previous owner, which clearly shows my husband’s computer was not new. We were mislead to believe this. He order a “new” lab top from Best Buy.

So now what do I do? I have to redo his whole computer? From scratch losing all his files?
I share responsibility for 3 laptops used by our county search and rescue group. One day, they all had the bitlocker turned on and all data was unaccessable. :( Given the comments that I've read here, it seems a Microsoft update got pushed that caused the problem. That's the only thing that makes sense given that, A. It happened randomly, B. It was on new laptops that might not have been registered with a Microsoft account. :(