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Find the BitLocker recovery key on the Surface

There are 2 ways you can find the BitLocker recovery key for a Surface Pro tablet.

How to get a Surface BitLock recovery key with Key ID from a Microsoft Account:

When your Surface Pro 3 or later is first turned on and you choose to log in with a Microsoft account, BitLocker is enabled by default. The recovery key is generated and uploaded to the OneDrive of your Microsoft account. The recovery key won’t be deleted without an explicit user command. So you can use an Internet-enabled device and log into your Microsoft account to find the BitLocker recovery key.

1. On your computer or mobile phone, open a web browser and type in this webpage URL:

2. Log into Microsoft with your Microsoft account used when the Surface was set up.

3. If you have more than one BitLocker-encrypted drive, you have to identify the Surface boot drive using the Key ID shown in the BitLocker Recovery screen and find the required BitLocker recovery key.

4. Type in the correct BitLocker recovery key and press Enter to unlock the BitLocker recovery.

How to find the Surface BitLocker recovery key using CMD:

If you can still log into your Surface Pro tablet as administrator, you can find and recover the BitLocker recovery key by using Command Prompt.

1. Search for CMD in the Start menu search box and open the Command Prompt as an administrator.

2. At the Command Prompt window, type the command and press Enter.

manage-bde -protectors C: -get

You’ll see the output screen. The 48-digit password is the BitLocker recovery key that is used to unlock your Surface when seeing the Surface BitLocker recovery screen.

Disable Surface BitLocker recovery screen boot loop

You can use one of the following solutions to break out of the BitLocker recovery loop on Surface.

Solution 1. Turn off BitLocker on the boot drive

If you can get into your Surface tablet after entering the BitLocker recovery key, you can turn off the BitLocker encryption on the boot drive. In this way, BitLocker will not enter the recovery mode asking for the BitLocker recovery key.

1. Go to Start > Control Panel > BitLocker Drive Encryption.

2. Click on Turn off BitLocker to disable BitLocker drive encryption on the Surface boot drive.

3. A dialog box window will open and click Turn off BitLocker to confirm.

4. Restart your Surface and check if the BitLocker recovery screen or loop persists.

Solution 2. Disable BitLocker protection from the boot drive

If you’ve entered the correct BitLocker recovery key multiple times, and are still unable to get past the BitLocker recovery screen, follow these steps.

1. On the BitLocker recovery screen, press the Esc key from the keyboard for more recovery options on the Surface.

2. Click Skip this drive at the right lower corner.

3. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Command Prompt.

4. Type the command and press Enter. This command will unlock your BitLocker drive.

manage-bde -unlock C: -rp 111111-222222-333333-444444-555555-666666-777777-888888

Note: C: is the BitLocker-encrypted boot partition. 111111-222222-333333-444444-555555-666666-777777-888888 is your 48-digit recovery key, typed in eight blocks of six digits with a hyphen separating each block.

5. Type the command and hit Enter. This command will disable BitLocker protectors permanently from the target drive.

manage-bde -protectors -disable C:

6. Exit the Command Prompt and restart the Surface to see if it can start normally without the BitLocker recovery blue screen.

How to reset Surface Pro without the BitLocker recovery key

Step 1. On a working computer, visit this webpage, select the device that you need a recovery image for, and download the recovery image for your Surface. Save the file in a location you will be able to find it.

Step 2. Prepare an empty USB flash drive with 32 GB capacity and format it with the FAT32 file system.

Step 3. Right-click on the recovery image that you downloaded and then select Extract and then Extract all. Select the USB drive you formatted earlier for the location and click Extract.

Step 4. Use the USB recovery drive to reset your Surface:

1. Shut down your Surface showing the BitLocker recovery mode.
2. Insert the USB recovery drive into the USB port.
3. Press and hold the volume-down button while you press and release the power button.
4. When the Microsoft or Surface logo appears, release the volume-down button.
5. When prompted, select the language and keyboard layout you want.
6. Select Recover from a drive or Troubleshoot > Recover from a drive. If prompted for a recovery key, select Skip this drive at the bottom of the screen.
7. Choose either Just remove my files or Fully clean the drive.
8. Select Recover and wait until the reset process completes.

This is for internal use. It is shared here for our technicians and any other Internet denizens.