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How Do I Turn Off BitLocker on a Drive?

Particularly if it’s been turned on without your knowledge.

BitLocker is a fine approach to encrypting hard drives -- especially the system drive. It's also easy to turn off BitLocker if you decide you no longer need it.
OK, I encrypted my drive. Now I’ve decided I don’t need or want BitLocker. How do I turn off BitLocker?

I’m going to assume you’re talking about BitLocker full-drive encryption.

I’ll also assume you understand with Bitlocker turned off anyone who steals your machine can access all the files on it, even without knowing your Windows log-in password.

Turning off BitLocker and decrypting your drive is a snap.

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TL;DR:

Decrypting Bitlocker

  • Sign in.
  • Right-click the drive in Windows File Explorer.
  • Click on Manage BitLocker.
  • Click on Turn off BitLocker.
  • Click on the Turn off BitLocker confirmation button.
  • Wait for the operation to complete.

Decrypting a BitLocker drive

Boot your machine and sign in to Windows. Yes, this step is required. If you cannot sign in to Windows you will not be able to decrypt the drive — that’s kinda the point of the security BitLocker provides.

Run Windows File Explorer and right-click on the drive you want to decrypt. In the resulting context menu, click on Manage BitLocker.

Manage Bitlocker item

In the resulting dialog, click on Turn off BitLocker.

Turn Off BitLocker

Click on the Turn off BitLocker button in the subsequent confirmation message box.

Decrypting confirmation

The system goes to work decrypting your drive.

Decrypting in Progress

As the prior message said, decrypting can take a while. How long depends on the speed of your hard disk, the speed of your computer, and the amount of data you have stored on that drive.

After a while, the process completes.

You’re done! BitLocker has been turned off on that drive, and the data decrypted.

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3 comments on “How Do I Turn Off BitLocker on a Drive?”

  1. I was thinking to buy a TPM before trying to encrypt with BitLocker, but why I do not sell it in Japan.
    Since it can not be helped, it was not amazon.co.jp but was about to create an account on amazon.com.

    I felt BitLocker did not have to do it at all.

    Reply
  2. My main concern with BitLocker is that it would appear to me that Microsoft has a key to my machine stored under my Microsoft account which can be stolen by hackers or “shared” with others. I am not comfortable with anyone having any access to my machine. Am I wrong about this?

    Reply
    • Stolen by hackers only if they hack into your account, at which point you’ll have much larger problems. In my opinion the safety of keeping it in your Microsoft account should you ever need it outweighs the risks that concern you.

      Reply

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