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

Daisy updated on Dec 04, 2018 to Partition Master | How-to Articles

Can a BitLocker locked drive be formatted

"Several months ago, I enabled BitLocker on my external hard drive. And now, I want to remove BitLocker to decrypt the hard drive. Can I wipe the whole drive to make it usable again? Is there any way to format a BitLocker encrypted drive?"

When you enable BitLocker on a hard disk, USB flash drive, or SD card, 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. To do this, you have to erase or format the encrypted hard drive. Then here you have two things to do: decrypt the hard drive and then format it. For most people, it is not an easy task. So, here we will show you how to do it step by step. 

How to decrypt a BitLocker encrypted hard drive/USB/SD card

If you wipe a hard drive without disabling the BitLocker encryption and then install an operating system to the drive that doesn't support or recognize BitLocker, the drive will be locked. So, to prepare the disk for formatting, you should decrypt it in advance via Control Panel. 

Step 1: Point to the top-right edge of the screen and select "Search" when the Charms bar appears.

Step 2: Type BitLocker into the search field, and then click the "Settings" tab.

Step 3: Choose "BitLocker Drive Encryption" from the results and click "Turn Off BitLocker."

Step 4: Enter an administrative password, if prompted, and then click "Turn Off BitLocker" again to decrypt the hard drive, USB flash drive or SD card.

How to format a BitLocker encrypted hard drive/USB/SD card

After decrypting BitLocker encrypted hard drive, USB flash drive or SD card you can format it using Disk management utility or EaseUS partition tool. 

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 system 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. 

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 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
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 Windows 10 is supported


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