BitLocker is a built-in encryption feature in Windows 7 that allows you to protect your data by encrypting the entire drive. In case you forget your BitLocker password or encounter any issues, having a recovery key is crucial to regain access to your data. In this tutorial, we will walk you through the process of creating a BitLocker recovery key for external drives in Windows 7.

Step 1: Connect the External Drive

First, connect the external drive to your Windows 7 computer. Ensure that the drive is recognized and accessible before proceeding to the next step.

Step 2: Open BitLocker

To create a BitLocker recovery key, you need to open the BitLocker Drive Encryption feature. Here’s how:

  1. Click on the “Start” button in the bottom left corner of your screen.
  2. Go to “Control Panel” and click on “System and Security”.
  3. Under “BitLocker Drive Encryption”, click on “Manage BitLocker”.

Step 3: Select the External Drive

In the BitLocker Drive Encryption window, you will see a list of drives connected to your computer. Locate the external drive you want to create a recovery key for and click on “Turn on BitLocker” next to it.

Step 4: Choose How to Unlock the Drive

In the “Choose how to unlock your drive at startup” window, select the option that suits your needs. You can either use a password or a smart card to unlock the drive. For this tutorial, we will choose the password option.

Step 5: Save the Recovery Key

In the next window, you will be prompted to choose how to save the recovery key. You have two options:

  • Save to a file: Choose this option if you want to save the recovery key to a specific location on your computer or an external storage device. Click on “Save to a file” and follow the on-screen instructions to select the location and save the key.
  • Print the recovery key: Choose this option if you prefer to have a hard copy of the recovery key. Click on “Print the recovery key” and follow the instructions to print the key.

Step 6: Complete the Encryption Process

After saving or printing the recovery key, click on “Next” to proceed. You will be prompted to choose whether to encrypt the entire drive or only the used disk space. Select the desired option and click on “Next” to start the encryption process.

Step 7: Wait for the Encryption to Complete

The encryption process may take some time, depending on the size of the drive and the amount of data stored on it. It is important to keep your computer powered on and connected to a power source during this process. Once the encryption is complete, you will be able to access the drive using the password or smart card you set up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I create a BitLocker recovery key for multiple external drives?

A: Yes, you can create a BitLocker recovery key for each external drive individually. Simply follow the steps outlined in this tutorial for each drive you want to encrypt and protect.

Q: What should I do if I lose my BitLocker recovery key?

A: Losing your BitLocker recovery key can result in permanent data loss. It is recommended to store the recovery key in a safe and secure location. If you have lost your recovery key, there is no built-in way to recover it. However, you may be able to restore access to your drive by using a data recovery service, but this can be costly and not guaranteed to work.

Q: Can I change my BitLocker recovery key?

A: Yes, you can change your BitLocker recovery key at any time. To do this, open the BitLocker Drive Encryption feature, select the drive you want to change the recovery key for, and choose the “Change password” option. Follow the on-screen instructions to set a new recovery key.


Creating a BitLocker recovery key for external drives in Windows 7 is a simple yet essential step to ensure the security of your data. By following the steps outlined in this tutorial, you can easily protect your external drives and have a recovery option in case of any issues. Remember to keep the recovery key in a safe place and consider creating multiple copies for added security.

For more information on BitLocker and drive encryption, you can refer to the official Microsoft documentation.