This document will outline how to unlock a computer that was encrypted using the MBAM (Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring) client.  This document assumes that the MBAM client is installed on the computer and that the drive has already been encrypted by the MBAM client.


  • You must be the end user of the system to recovery the key through the Self Service Portal *
  • You must use your daily login credentials for that system when logging into the Self Service Portal

*  If you are an IT Support Consultant please use the BitLocker Helpdesk Portal to retrieve the BitLocker Recovery Key using your TechID.


After a computer has been encrypted, if certain conditions occur, you may experience a situation where the system enters a “locked” state.  Several things can cause this to happen, some examples include changing certain BIOS settings, upgrading the BIOS, TPM ownership changes, or partition changes on the hard disk.  When this happens, the next time the computer starts you will see a screen similar to this (Windows 7):

Enter the recovery key for this drive

Or this (Windows 8.1):

BitLocker Recovery


At this point you must enter a BitLocker Recovery Key in the space provided in order for Windows to start.  MBAM provides an easy way to find this Recovery key and to continue using Windows.  To find this key, you must go to another computer or mobile device, open a web browser, and go to:

When you get prompted for credentials, enter your HawkID and password:

Windows Security connecting to email

Once you’ve logged in you should see a University of Iowa security notice screen:

red arrows pointing to I have read and understand the above notice check box and the continue button

Check the “I have read and understand the above notice” box and click Continue.  You will then be presented with a “Get a BitLocker Recovery Key” screen.

Get a BitLocker Recovery Key

On this screen you can enter your Recovery Key ID, choose a reason for the recovery, and then retrieve your BitLocker Recovery Key.  Going back to the “locked” computer, locate the Recovery Key ID (Windows 7):

Red arrow pointing to and red box around recovery key ID: number

Or (Windows 8.1):

Red arrow pointing to and red box around recovery key ID: number

On the “Get a BitLocker Recovery Key” web page, enter in the first eight characters of the Recovery Key ID and choose a reason from the drop down box.

red arrows pointing to recovery key ID, Reason drop down menu, and get key tab

Then click the Get Key button.  You should then receive a 48-digit BitLocker Recovery Key that you can enter into the screen of the locked system.

arrow pointing to 48-digit code for BitLocker Recovery Key

Enter this key into the Recovery Key field on the locked computer.  Once the key has been entered correctly, the computer will continue booting into Windows.

Article number: 
Last updated: 
September 15, 2021