Recently one of my customers brought to me his Surface Pro 4 tablet because he cannot reset Windows 10 to the default factory settings from the Recovery Options. In fact, after the user chooses the "Reset This PC" option, he is asked to enter the recovery key (BitLocker Drive Encryption key) to unlock the drive. But, in his related Microsoft account, there is no any saved any "Bit Locker" key for his Surface 4 Pro tablet and as result of that issue, the "Reset This PC" option can continue.
Additionally, the problem becomes bigger, because if the user chooses the "Skip this drive" option, the operation ends with the following error: "The drive where Windows is installed is locked. Unlock the drive and try again".
In this tutorial you 'll find instructions on how to bypass the following error when trying to reset a Surface PRO 4 – Windows 10 tablet – at it's factory default state: "The drive where Windows is installed is locked. the drive is locked. Unlock the drive and try again", in order to perform a clean Windows 10 installation.
How to fix: Unable to Reset or Install Windows 10 on Surface PRO. Drive is Locked with BitLocker encryption.
Unfortunately, if – for any reason – a Windows device is locked with BitLocker drive encryption and you do not have the BitLocker recovery key to unlock the hard drive, then the only way to get your device at work again, is to fully clean the hard drive in order to perform a clean Windows 10 installation. *
* Note: Keep in mind that the below procedure will delete all your personal files, apps and settings from the device.
Requirements: In order to solve "The drive where Windows is installed is locked. Unlock the drive and try again" problem, you will need to boot the device from a Windows 10 USB installation media (if you own a tablet), or from a USB or a DVD media if you own a Desktop/Laptop computer. If you don’t have a Windows Installation Media then you can create one by using Microsoft’s Media Creation tool.
- Related articles:
1. Power OFF your device (computer/tablet).
2. Plug the Windows 10 USB Installation Media to an empty USB port.
3. Power ON your device and boot from the USB (or DVD) Windows Media. *
1. To be able to boot from the Windows Media (USB or DVD) follow the below steps:
- If you own a Desktop/Laptop PC:
- Method 1: After Power On, press the corresponding Function key (commonly is the "F12" or the "F8" key) to view the "Boot Order" or "Boot Menu" options. Then select the USB (or the DVD) device which contains the Windows installation Media (files) and hit Enter.
- Method 2: Enter BIOS Setup (Settings) and set the the Windows Installation Media as the "First Boot Device" at "Boot Order" menu. Then Save and Exit from BIOS settings.
- If you own a Surface PRO 4 tablet:
- Method 1. Shut Down your Surface. Press and hold down the "Volume-Down" button and then Press and Release the "Power" button. When the Surface logo appears, release the volume button.
- Method 2: Shut Down your Surface. Press and hold down the "Volume-UP" button and then Press and Release the "Power" button. At "Boot Configuration" menu, exclude (uncheck) the "Windows Boot Manager" and the "Internal Storage" from the Boot order (or drag the USB Storage on the TOP. Then go to "Security menu" and Disable the Secure Boot. Then select Exit and Restart. (Do not forget to reset the settings as originally after the first restart of the Windows installation process).
2. If your Surface 4 Pro tablet doesn't boot from the USB and goes to the 'BitLocker Recovery' screen, then "burn" again the Windows.ISO file to a USB for a UEFI based system, by following the instructions in this article.
4. At Language Options screen, press the SHIFT + F10 keys to open the Command Prompt or click Next –> Repair your computer –> Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options –> Command Prompt.
5. In command prompt give the following commands in order:
- list disk
- select disk 0
- list volume
6. Now locate which of the listed volumes has the larger size in GB. Commonly the larger volume is where Windows installed on (the locked drive). *
* e.g. At the below screenshot the "Volume 2" has the larger size.
7. Then select the larger volume by typing this command: *
- select volume number
* Note: Change the volume number at the above command according you case (e.g. "select volume 2")
8. Finally delete the selected volume by giving this command:
- delete volume override
9. Type exit to close DISKPART tool and then close Command Prompt.
10. Turn Off and then Turn ON your device again.
11. Boot from the Windows Installation Media.
12. Click Next and then Install Now.
13. Choose "I don't have a product key" and then accept the License agreement.
14. Select "Custom install" and then delete all the rest partitions/volumes on the disk.
15. When done, choose the "Unallocated space" and click Next.
16. Follow the on-screen prompts to install Windows 10.
That’s all folks! Did it work for you?
Please leave a comment in the comment section below or even better: like and share this blog post in the social networks to help spread the word about this problem.