BitLocker, MBAM, unlock external USB/HDD and Windows 8

Ok, as an example, you have an OS failure onto a BitLocker encrypted HDD and you want to save your data via an external USB/HDD adapter and like to use a Windows 8 System for recovery.

So far so good –>

Now you expect that Windows 8 will start the BitLocker Drive Encryption wizard located under %SystemRoot%\System32\BdeUnlockWizard.exe and prompt you to enter the BitLocker recovery key but as an ‘old’ Windows 7 user you missed to see the alert on the right upper corner resp. it disappears after a short while (!?!?):


Now you try to double-click onto the encrypted HDD to start it manually, but you get the following error:


What is wrong?

1.) Onto Windows 8 the BitLocker Unlock wizard got a new file name @%SystemRoot%\System32\bdeunlock.exe

2.) You need to be fast to click onto the BitLocker alert unlock message to get the recovery key window of bdeunlock.exe to show up:

image -> click onto it brings –> image

But now there are new issues!

As an enterprise IT admin, you would like to look into the MBAM database to get that 48-digit recovery key, so now you click somewhere onto the screen. At that same moment, the BitLocker unlock dialog window disappears and you cannot bring back that window again easily resp. bdeunlock.exe terminated…

So how to get that window back?

You can start bdeunlock.exe manually with the following command:


REM: We assume in this example that f:\ is the BitLocker encrypted drive that we want to unlock.

So now the BitLocker unlock dialog window aka bdeunlock.exe is back.

That’s great but not the end of the story!

After you click onto the desktop again the window disappears again and that is somehow frustrating. Sad smile

But why frustrating? Because you need to write down the 8 character Key ID!

So here are your options:

1.) Write it down onto paper

2.) Make a screenshot (Alt-Print)

3.) Open up the MBAM web console onto an other system while leaving the bdeunlock.exe window open (don’t touch your mouse etc.)

@Microsoft: BitLocker Houston, we have an problem! Smile

PS: If the BitLocker alert unlock window don’t come up generally, please check the Registry keys mentioned in this Microsoft Help and Support thread –>

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