You can turn off BitLocker, which is Windows' encryption system. BitLocker is a feature included in most editions of Windows 10 Professional, Education, and Enterprise. If you cannot decrypt your hard drive in order to deactivate BitLocker, then you will need to use the BitLocker recovery key to unlock your hard drive before you deactivate BitLocker.
Method 1 of 3: Turn off BitLocker in Windows settings
Step 1. Click Start
Click on the Windows logo at the bottom left of your screen. This will open the Start menu.
Step 2. Open Settings
Click on the gear icon, it's located in the lower left corner of the Start menu. The Settings window will then appear.
Step 3. Click System
This is the icon that represents a computer at the top of the Settings window.
Step 4. Click the Device Encryption tab
It is located in the left column of the System window.
- If you don't see the tab Device encryption, click on In regards to in the lower left corner of the window and look for the header Device encryption. If that doesn't work, then your computer is not benefiting from the BitLocker functionality.
Step 5. Click Deactivate
The button is in the middle of the window.
Step 6. Turn off BitLocker
Click on Disable BitLocker when prompted. After doing this, BitLocker will start to decrypt your hard drive. The operation may take several hours.
You may be asked to enter your Administrator password or PIN before you turn off BitLocker
Method 2 of 3: Use the control panel
Step 1. Open the Start menu
Click on the Windows logo located at the bottom left of your screen. This will open the Start menu.
- If you are on Windows 7, click on the colored icon
Step 2. Search for BitLocker
To do this, type BitLocker. The list of search results will appear in the Start menu.
In Windows 7, you will first need to click in the search bar at the bottom of the Start menu
Step 3. Click Manage BitLocker
The button should be at the top of the Start menu. This will open the Control Panel window.
Step 4. Select the hard drive
Scroll down until you find the hard drive for which you want to turn off BitLocker.
You can skip this step, if BitLocker encrypts only one hard drive
Step 5. Click Turn Off BitLocker
The link is under the BitLocker heading.
Step 6. Turn off BitLocker
Click Turn off BitLocker when prompted. After doing this, BitLocker will start to decrypt your hard drive. The operation may take several hours.
- You may be asked to enter your Administrator password or PIN before you turn off BitLocker.
- In Windows 7, click Decrypt hard drive.
Method 3 of 3: Turn on BitLocker
Step 1. Find your collection key
When you enable BitLocker on your computer, you will be given a 48 character key that you can use if you forget your password for BitLocker. You will need to find this key before you can unlock BitLocker.
- If you print your collection key, keep it in a place where you keep your important documents.
- If you are backing up your recovery key to a USB drive, plug it into another Windows computer so you can open the text file and view the key.
- If your system administrator or a professional installed BitLocker for you, contact them to find out how to recover your key.
Step 2. Start your computer
If your computer isn't already showing the BitLocker screen, turn it on.
If your computer displays the BitLocker screen, you can skip this step and the next
Step 3. Display the BitLocker screen
Wait for the BitLocker screen to appear, it may take several minutes.
Step 4. Press Esc
This will tell the system that you want to enter the recovery key rather than your BitLocker password.
Step 5. Enter your recovery key
Type the 48 characters of your key in the text field at the top of the screen.
Step 6. Press Enter
This will validate your key.
Step 7. Follow the instructions
Depending on your computer, the options for entering your key may vary. Once you have followed the various messages, you can then turn off BitLocker in Windows settings.