How to Format BitLocker Encrypted Hard Drive/USB/SD Card Without Password

Daisy updated on Nov 14, 2019 to Partition Master | How-to Articles

Q: Can I format a BitLocker encrypted hard drive without the password?

"Several days ago, I got a Bitlocker encrypted external hard drive. I want to remove BitLocker to decrypt the hard drive, but the problem is that I don't know the password nor recovery key. Can I wipe the whole drive to make it usable again? Is there any way to format a BitLocker encrypted hard drive?"

When enabling BitLocker on a hard disk, USB flash drive, or SD card on your computer, Microsoft Windows encodes the files and folders stored on the device so that only the permitted users can access the data. But sometimes, you might need to remove BitLocker to access or open the encrypted drive for specific reasons. How to remove Bitlocker from hard drive? Read on to get answers. 

How to Remove BitLocker from Hard Drive/USB/SD Card

If you have turned on Bitlocker for a drive on your computer, you can normally write data to and read data from it. But when you want to install Windows, you will see "Windows cannot be installed to this hard disk space. Bitlocker drive encryption is enabled.". If you don't need to encrypt your hard drive any longer, you can turn off Bitlocker by following the steps below. 

Step 1: Go to Control Panel on your computer. Click on "BitLocker Drive Encryption".

Step 2: Find the Bitlocker encrypted drive and choose "Turn Off BitLocker" to decrypt the hard drive, USB flash drive, or SD card. Wait for the decrypting to finish. 

format Bitlocker drive - turn off Bitlocker

If you want to remove Bitlocker from another drive that is not encrypted on your computer, or in the vice versa, you should input the password to unlock at first, and then, you can disable Bitlocker for it. While If you can't decrypt the Bitlocker protected hard drive but want to reuse it, you can choose to deleted partitions or format hard drive. 

What you should know is that both solutions will result in data loss. If you mistakenly delete a Bitlocker encrypted partition, you can use a professional partition recovery software to restore lost partition and data on it. However, for formatted Bitlocker encrypted hard drive, there is no way to get data back. 

How to Format BitLocker Encrypted Hard Drive/USB/SD Card

This part shows you how to format the Bitlocker encrypted hard drive using the Disk Management or EaseUS partition tool without the password. 

How to Format BitLocker Encrypted Drive Using Disk Management

Step 1: Type Control Panel in the search box. And click "Control Panel".

Step 2: Click "Administrative Tools" > "Computer Management" > "Disk Management".

Step 3: Right-click on the drive or partition and click on "Format".

Step 4: Select the file system and set the cluster size.

Step 5: Click "OK" to format the BitLocker encrypted disk, USB flash drive or SD card.

How to Format BitLocker Encrypted Drive Using EaseUS Partition Tool

EaseUS partition tool is the best disk formatting tool that you can try to format the hard drive, USB flash drive, SD card, and more to various file systems like FAT32, NTFS, FAT, etc. It is helpful even the drive, or memory card is encrypted with BitLocker. Now, let's see how to do it. 

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported


Step 1: Launch EaseUS Partition Master, right-click the partition on your external hard drive/USB/SD card which you want to format and choose the "Format" option.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 1

Step 2: Assign a new partition label, file system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3), and cluster size to the selected partition, then click "OK".

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 2

Step 3: In the Warning window, click "OK" to continue.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 3

Step 4: Click the "Execute Operation" button in the top-left corner to review the changes, then click "Apply" to start formatting your external hard drive/USB/SD card.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 4
Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

How to Recover Files from Formatted BitLocker Encrypted Drive

Currently, there is no third-party software or solution on the market that can recover files from formatted BitLocker encrypted hard drive.

This is because after encrypting the hard drive with BitLocker, Windows will change the file system parameters, directory entries, and other important parameters of the disk. As a result, except for Windows itself, no other software can recognize and access the drive. When formatted, although the password is gone, the drive is not decrypted. However, the relevant parameters of the disk are still modified, and the data recovery software still cannot identify the disk, let alone restore the data. So, don't believe all the hype out there about recovering data from formatted BitLocker encrypted hard drive.

But you can recover files from a formatted hard drive that is not encrypted with a data recovery software, like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. This top-notch file recovery tool enables you to recover lost and deleted, even permanently deleted files from HDD, SSD, USB flash drive, pen drive, SD card, and external hard drives without effort.


100% of people found this article helpful.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose EaseUS Partition Master?

"I've used Partition Master Professional many times to create, delete, format, move, rename, and resize partitions."PCWorld

"Partitioning tools have come a very long since the days of complicated command line utilities and EASEUS Partition Master is one of the most advanced programs available."TECH ADVISOR

"I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes."Lifewire

Will the "Migrate OS" feature transfer the Windows system files only or the whole C drive?

To ensure that the migrated system will boot normally, the Migrate OS feature will transfer all the files in the system and the boot partitions. Generally, the boot partition is the C drive so the transfer will include all the files in C.

Does EaseUS Partition Master license apply to multiple computers?

The license of Partition Master Professional and Server editions can be used on 1 computer only, while that for for the Technician and Unlimited editions can be used on multiple machines.

What is the difference between EaseUS Partition Master Trial version and the Free version?

Free is for home users only, with most basic functions available such as partition resize and clone. While trial can help you understand how this product works and test what a full license can do on a business or server OS machine.

Will it cause any data loss after resizing the partition in EaseUS Partition Master?

Generally, it will not cause any data loss or boot issue by resizing a partition. However, in order to protect your data, we suggest that you backup the partition before resizing, in case of any unexpected situations such as power outages, computer hardware failures, etc. You can use EaseUS Todo Backup to backup the partition and its trial version is fully functioned for 30 days.

What should I prepare before resizing the partition?

On the partition that is going to be operated, there might be some files being occupied by other programs. To ensure a successful operation, we suggest that you close all the unnecessary software before resizing that partition. Otherwise, EaseUS Partition Master will detect the partition being locked by the other software and require a reboot to resize the partition under boot mode.

About EaseUS Partition Master

All-round disk & partition management software for personal and commercial use. Let it manage your storage drive: resize, format, delete, clone, convert, etc.