When your OS partition is formatted, what happens to a BitLocker encrypted partition?

When your OS partition is formatted, what happens to a BitLocker encrypted partition?

Here we can see, “When your OS partition is formatted, what happens to a BitLocker encrypted partition?”

BitLocker is the disc encryption utility built into the Windows operating system. You can encrypt as many partitions of your computer’s Hard Disk Drive as you want with BitLocker. The data on the encrypted partitions is protected not only by a password but also by a Trusted Platform Module if you want.

BitLocker is a drive encryption utility that is just as effective as all of the other options out there and, best of all, it doesn’t require the installation of any third-party software or the payment of any money because it is built right into Windows.

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How the BitLocker encryption is work

BitLocker users frequently have various questions about the utility and how it and its encryption work and behave. One of the most frequently asked questions about BitLocker is what happens to a BitLocker-encrypted partition when the user’s primary partition (the one that houses their operating system) is formatted, such as during a clean Windows installation.

Although it is always recommended that you decrypt all BitLocker encrypted partitions before formatting your Operating System partition, if you do not do so and proceed with the formatting of your OS partition, all other BitLocker encrypted partitions will be locked once you boot into your computer’s newly clean installed Operating System.

This is because BitLocker works on both the encrypted drive and your primary OS drive when you encrypt a partition of your hard drive; this is most likely why all other BitLocker encrypted drives become locked if your OS drive is formatted.

How to install BitLocker on Windows

When you format your OS drive, clean install Windows on it, and then boot up your computer, Windows will be able to see but not access any other BitLocker encrypted drives.

When you try to access a BitLocker encrypted partition after formatting your primary OS drive, you’ll notice that it’s locked and that you’ll need to enter your recovery key to unlock it.

Install BitLocker on a partition of your computer’s hard drive and create a pass for it, BitLocker gives you a 48-character recovery key that you can use to unlock your drive if you lose or forget your pass or if the partition’s (or your OS partition’s) structure changes. This recovery key can be printed (or written down) or saved to another drive, such as an external hard drive or USB flash drive.

So, for example, suppose you format your OS partition while one or more of your other partitions are still BitLocker encrypted. In that case, the locked partitions will be locked, and you can unlock them with the BitLocker recovery keys for the locked partitions.


I hope you found this helpful guide. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the form below.

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User Questions:

  1. Is it true that formatting a hard drive will remove BitLocker?

Bitlocker-enabled hard drives cannot be formatted from My Computer. You’ll now see a message stating that all of your data will be lost. If you choose “Yes,” you’ll see a message that says, “This drive is Bitlocker enabled; formatting it will remove Bitlocker.”

  1. How do I re-enable BitLocker after switching operating systems?
  1. Connect the encrypted BitLocker drive to a different computer.
  2. In My Computer or This PC, double-click BitLocker encrypted drive.
  3. Select “More options” from the drop-down menu.
  4. Select “Enter recovery key” from the drop-down menu.
  5. To unlock a BitLocker encrypted drive, enter the 48-digit recovery key.
  1. Is BitLocker capable of encrypting an entire drive or partition?

When reading and writing data, BitLocker does not encrypt and decrypt the entire drive. The encrypted sectors on a BitLocker-protected drive are only decrypted when the system reads operations request them. Before being written to the physical disc, the system encrypts the blocks that are written to it.

  1. What’s the deal with my BitLocker password not working?

The BitLocker encrypted drive will not be unlocked if the BitLocker password is not working. In this case, you’ll need to look for the correct password and try again. If you are certain that the BitLocker password is correct, it means that the BitLocker encrypted drive has become corrupted, and BitLocker will no longer accept the correct password.

  1. How long does BitLocker take to encrypt a hard drive?

How long will it take to encrypt the data? The length of time will be determined by the size and speed of your computer’s hard drive. The process took anywhere from 20 minutes to three hours in our testing.

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