Unlock a BitLocker Drive from Commandline

This really should be easier


BitLocker drives are a great way to keep your data secure and it is very convenient to use. However, unlocking a drive via commandline is rather cumbersome. Now, under normal situations, you will not need to access the drive via commandline, at least not without having access to the GUI to unlock the drive first. However, one such instance is when you have encrypted your recovery drive that houses a system image. Once you have booted into the recovery console, you are not prompted for your password to unlock the drive, crazy right?!

What to do?

The easiest way to unlock this drive is to open a commandline window, while still inside the recovery console of course, and use the following commands.

Find the drive letter

BitLocker Status The snippet below will give you a listing of the drives on your computer and their BitLocker status. You will need to look for the correct drive and remember the drive letter for the next step. In the image you can see the drive letter for me is showing as “Z:”.

manage-bde -status

Unlock the drive

Now that we know the drive letter we can proceed to unlocking the drive so we can read it in the recovery environment and restore our image! Notice the “-pw” switch in the snippet below, it does not seem to be in the help docs, but will prompt you for your password to unlock the drive.

manage-bde -unlock Z: -pw
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