Recovering from BitLocker bluescreen on Windows 10 Mobile

I just had a nerve wrecking 24h period with a phone that would only boot to a BitLocker recovery screen. I hope my adventures in getting my phone back to normal can help someone out there.

Want to skip the babble? Jump to the bullet list at the bottom.

The pit of problems

I’ve been running Windows 10 Mobile on my Lumia 830 for a while, it’s a major step up from 8.1 and really nice but has some quirks. After getting a Microsoft Band 2 and experiencing some sync issues, I decided to go back to 8.1 and see if that worked better. The Windows Device Recovery Tool *should* be able to restore any phone to it’s factory state (and was recently updated to support the Lumia 950/XL etc), but I was out of luck.

First I tried to run the recovery tool on my phone as-is, the recovery tool downloaded the image but failed even before beginning the flash process. So I instead went for a reset of the phone from within the About menu. The phone rebooted to this:

bitlocker-recovery

Hard to read, but the screen says that the key is missing from the TPM (trusted platform module). Big bummer. On big Windows, you’re given the option to backup the encryption key (which you should do!) when activating BitLocker, but on mobile it’s a big black box. And apparently the key is impossible to obtain.

No problem for me though, I have all data and phone settings backed up to OneDrive, so just let me flash a fresh OS and start over. and we’ll be all fine. That proved to be easier said than done…

Running the recovery tool again also fails, and now I dug more into why it fails. Here’s the error message:

recovery-tool-fail

And examining the log show this error line:

Ok, something to do with reset protection status, definitely sounds BitLocker related. Digging around in the forums I found many people with the same issues, both on previous versions of the OS as well as Win10Mobile. But a lot of folks had ever found a solution, some even had taken it to several Nokia Care centers and even they weren’t able to fix it. My oh my, what to do.

Why on earth cannot the device recovery tool not just re-flash the entire thing? I don’t know.

The light at the end of the phone reboot loop

After some more digging I found references to a Lumia flashing guide at the XDA forums. I was first hesitant but decided to give it a try, and it worked! I could modify the steps a bit though since the official device recovery tool already had downloaded the correct image for my phone.

So, in brief, the steps I went for were (see the forum link above for full instructions).

  • download the device recovery tool and run it
  • reboot your phone (hold vol-down and power) and follow the instructions
    • if you have success all the way – good for you! Close this tab now and go play.
    • if you managed to get an image downloaded before fail – great! you can skip that part later
  • Accept that the flash failed and head to the XDA forums

UPDATE 2016-04-01: The XDA instructions have changed, so please pay more attention to the forum page than my distilled instrutions below – but keeping them for reference.

  • download the flash tools zip (link in xda forums)
  • reboot in driver signature check disabled-mode and install the usb driver (found in the \driver folder of the zip)
  • grab the ffu image from C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Packages, or follow the forum instructions to obtain the correct image via a downloader tool
  • reboot the phone to flash mode by holding vol-up when starting up (screen should show flash-and-gear icon)
  • flash the image using the windows phone image designer (again, details as in forum instructions)

For me:

victory

 

Here the beautiful screenshot of the flashing taking place:

wpid-flashing

And, now I’m staying on WinPhone 8.1 for a while longer…

This Post Has 46 Comments

  1. I had exactly the same situation today! Thanks for sharing, You made my day!

    1. Glad to have helped Victor! Thanks for the reply, you made the effort of writing the post all worthwhile!

  2. Same here :) Thanks for a brilliant post. The fact that you made the effort of posting it saved me a lot of time and effort trying to get this resolved some other way!

    1. Great Per! Glad to have helped.

  3. Thanks so much for the post!! i made the same mistake :)

    1. Glad to have helped Nicolas!

  4. thanks a lot you saved me and my phone

    1. Nice to hear, be well man!

  5. You just saved me from being completely frustrated. Thank you so much! :D

    1. Hi Tim, that makes me happy, you’re welcome. Have a nice day!

  6. Thank you sincerely. I have a Lumia Icon installed Windows 10 Preview and notices that I couldn’t make calls so soft reset no changes, hard reset blue screen bitlocker recovery. Your post saved me from spending $199 on Microsoft site to replace my phone. Thank you.

    1. Super! Glad to hear.

  7. hi ,
    i’m trying to recover my lumia 920 but i can’t download the file “lumiaflshtools.zip”file plzz help me
    if u have then mail that file at “rushikd94@gmail.com”asap

    1. Sorry, I haven’t kept the files. Probably works if you try again later

  8. I have same problem in my lumia 520 but there is a problem in running windows phone image designer and usb driver (found in the \driver folder of the zip). Please help me.

  9. I also have same problem and i follow the same process as you mention but error 0x80000008 appears .
    Now what to do………..please help me.

    1. Hi Badshah,
      Sorry, I have no idea what that error is.

  10. Sorry I didn’t see the lumiaflshtools.zip in XDA Website So can you give me an App in my email below

    chhounsopheak174@gmail.com

    thanks,
    Sopheak

  11. You are a LEGEND, thank you so much for your help and the guide, Recovered my Lumia from Bitlocker, this all happened after I synced with corp exchange account and decided to hard reset my lumia,

    My phone is back to life !!

    1. Thanks for the kind words!

  12. Hey man, thanks a lot! You save my Day! :-)

  13. Good Job! You save my Lumia 525! I’m looking for the solution for few months! Thanks a lot!

    1. Great success! Congrats

    1. I see that the forum page has been updated since I (and a bunch of happy commenters) managed to get it to work. Please pay more attention to the forum page than my shortened instructions that describe their (old?) process.

    1. Great Paul! Thanks for sharing

  14. Hi,
    As for today my new Lumia 650 was recovered by WDRT 3.4.34. No additional tools were needed.

  15. the phone is not detectted on flashtool

    can anyone help me please

  16. help me plese about bitlocker please make a tutuorial fo this

  17. Please it worked for my Lumia 640 LTE. I thank you very much and God Bless you.

  18. It worked for me but my phone doesn’t update to windows 10 mobile now. Am I stuck on windows 8.1?

    Lumia 930

    1. Sorry I’m not sure.
      You could try and become a Windows Insider, maybe that way your phone could get Win10.
      https://insider.windows.com/

  19. Andreas,

    Thank you very much! The Windows Device Recovery Tool flashed my BLU WIN HD w510u successfully!! This is the only success after trying many methods searched from Internet even Microsoft has not an official resolution at all.

    Just a subsequent question, do you know where the installation package(image file) is downloaded to? My understanding is that the installation package is downloaded to a specific folder in my PC which is connected by my cell, but I don’t know the specific folder so that cannot find the image(s).

    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Richard,

      Glad it helped!

      I think the location is: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Packages

      If not perhaps you could search for large files all over your file system – should not have that many files over 1GB.

      Good luck!

      1. Wow, you are online and replied so quick :)

        Thanks and I will try big file search.

    2. Some articles from Internet say the location is under C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Packages\Products of PC. However, there is not any file or folder under the C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Packages of my PC which flashed my BLU WIN HD w510u successfully. Does that mean the installation package(s) will be deleted automatically whatever flashing operation succeeds or not?

      Thank you!

  20. I’ve got this BitLocker Recovery screen and immediately googled it, then found your article! Thank you. I didn’t expect that but my phone did a flash reboot with Windows Device Recovery Tool without any additional action needed, I just connected the phone and used Recovery Tool. My device was not found at first but I choose to select Lumia device manually. Now my phone has Windows Phone 8.1. Thank you again.

  21. Thank you. I had heard of the restore tool, but didn’t think of that when I saw the blue screen of bitlocker. I thought maybe I had a hardware failure. So, a quick trip down memory lane w/ Windows 8 and I’m back on Windows 10 mobile.

  22. Asif Shadab Malick • 13 hours ago
    hello everyvody! can someone help me with this..i was trying to get the creator’s update on my lumia 550. it required 1.71 gb space but I managed to free up a maximum of 1.43 gb by clearing away the entire phone storage as much as I could. pictures, docs, video,audio, edge cookies, browsing history, saved passwords, and evry possible thing did still culd not get enough space. so I decided to hard reset my phone. I did it and after that got plenty of space, only 2.27gb was occupied leaving enough space for the update. so when I went back to settings->insider it said I need to restart the devic. I obliged and then after restarting ii have only seen two screens since, one is a full black screen with a Microsoft logo and the other is a full blue screen(the dreaded BSOD on mobile too???) with the following error mesg:-
    BitLocker Recovery
    To recover this device plug in the usb drive that has the bitlocker recovery key.
    Bitlocker needs your recovery key to unlock your drive because the trusted platform module is not accessible.
    For moore information on how to retrieve this key, go to
    http://windows.microsoft.co… from another PC or mobile device
    Press Enter to reboot and Try again
    Press Esc or the windows key for more recovery options
    this is very unfortunate as this is my only smartphone and now it is in this state. I knew insider builds are risky, but they are risky in the sense that things won’t work properly, reliably on your phone,etc. in this case you have completely killed the device, there’s no point of risk or not-working-properly. from what little search I have done around the net, it appears my phone uis useless now as other people with this problem have rarely recovered from it. Any help anyone plzzz??
    tried wdrt. first of all the wdrt doesn’t get installed. it says setup not complete. next mmy latop doesn’t even detect my 550

  23. This one worked perfect for me Microsoft Lumia 535, RM-1090

  24. I have used “Long Path Tool” in this situation and it helped me easily and quickly. This tool can fix all the error messages like:

    1. Path too long
    2. Cannot delete file: cannot read from source file or disk
    3. Cannot delete file: Access is denied
    4. There has been a sharing violation.
    5. The source or destination file may be in use.
    6. The file is in use by another program or user.
    7. The file name you specified is not valid or too long. Specify a different file name.

    and all other related error messages.
    I hope you will find this solution helpful and don’t forget to leave your comments.

  25. Many Thanks!!! It helped!!!

  26. Thanks very useful y was able to get my phone back

  27. Thanks sooo much for providing these clear and easy instructions! :-) It worked 1st time for me, after having encountered the “Bitlocker” loop during my attempts to Unlock my Nokia 1020. btw: Do you have/know of a good reference for CLEAR instructions on unlocking Nokia 1020 running Windows 10 Mobile so it can be made to accept installs of some Android apps? (I have found only ‘choppy’/incomplete instructions- one that let me fall into the “Bitlocker” loop to begin with).
    Thanks again!

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