Since I ran across this problem some time ago and I couldn’t find some good information about the topic I decided to write this how to.
We’ll start with a 20GB partition on one of my drives. I moved some data there, about 450MB, just so we have actually data on it. You can see information from Disk Management MMC and the folder structure in the next 2 screenshots:
The next screenshot shows the BitLocker status for that partition. Please take note of the 48 digit recovery key separated by dashes into 6 groups – you’ll need that one later. In enterprise environments this key should be stored in Active Directory. At home BitLocker should have asked you to save that key in a safe place while you activated BitLocker.
After that I “somehow accidentally” deleted the partition…
This is normally where you would start to panic, start to search for recovery tools and may be pay money to buy some stuff you don’t really need. What I really mean is, this is the point you would recognize that something went wrong and that your data lies encrypted on a partition you cannot access. Windows offers almost everything you’ll need to recover from this scenario. There are just 2 things you’ll need: 7-zip and your BitLocker recovery key. If you don’t have 7-zip you can download it now. If you don’t have your recovery key you are screwed!
At this point please do nothing with the harddrive. Do not format it, delete it or whatever comes to your mind. You can try these things later if the following steps won’t work for you…
First recreate the partition from Disk Management (type compmgmt.msc in start menu and run as administrator) by clicking with the right mouse button on the “lost” partition and selecting “New Simple Volume…”:
It is important that you specify the exact size information, the partition used to have. It is even more imporant that you do not format the partition in the next step! Please note the drive letter you’ll assign to the new partition.
After that Windows shows a RAW filesystem on that partition. This is because it is still BitLocker enabled and locked.
In the next step open an elevated command prompt and type:
repair-bde F: E:\recover.img -rp 517253-653510-042988-665027-063393-559515-700700-268224
Please substitue F: with the driveletter you chose when creating the new partition, E:\recover.img with a filename on a drive offering free diskspace of the size of the “lost” volume and substitue the recovery key in this example with yours.
If the BitLocker Drive Encryption: Repair Tool shows an error and advises you to use the -force option do so by typing:
repair-bde F: E:\recover.img -rp 517253-653510-042988-665027-063393-559515-700700-268224 -force
Depending on the size of the partition this can take from some minutes to several hours to complete. Be patient…
In this step the BitLocker Drive Encryption: Repair Tool created the file E:\recover.img (hopefully) containing all the lost data. A feature of new versions of Windows is to mount image files. But unfortunately not this type of img file. When you try to mount it in Windows Explorer you’ll get an error and nothing else happens:
This is the time to install 7-zip. This small tool can open img files created by the BitLocker Drive Encryption: Repair Tool:
You can now extract all your data to a location of your choice: Select everything you need in 7-zip and hit the “Extract” button. Again, this can take several hours… After that check your data, check the folders and the files. If all your data has successfully been recovered you can finally format the lost partition, copy your data and enable BitLocker again.