Turn off BitLocker on the T100

In my previous posting, I indicated that my attempts to install Linux on the T100 had eventually lead to my bricking the machine and, after it had been restored to health by an Asus Service Centre, I was planning to sit back and see how things developed. However, in a comment to my posting, “tr3w” suggested that I should continue using Linux through a bootable USB drive. Then, recently, in the Asus T100 Ubuntu Google+ Group, Ciprian Negrila indicated that the “Magic Stick” software would allow either Ubuntu or Android to be booted from a USB drive – without the dreaded mmcblk0rpmb timeout errors! Now, this sounded too good to miss, so I downloaded the Magic Stick package, installed it on a USB drive, disabled Secure Boot on the T100, and booted into the USB drive – only to be greeted by a “Preparing BitLocker Recovery” screen!

This initially had me confused since most web sources, including some Microsoft pages, insist that BitLocker is only available in the Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows 8.1. But, my T100 is running the basic Windows 8.1. However, Disk Manager clearly showed that both my main Windows partition (drive C:) and my dedicated data partition (drive D:) were both encrypted with BitLocker. The questions then became, how did encryption get turned on and, more importantly, how does one turn it off?

Turning off BitLocker is not an intuitive process. In my case, calling up the Security tab in Control Panel showed an option for Encryption, but the only available process was to “Back up the security key”. In fact, my login credentials as both a regular user, and as a “normal” administrator only provided this single encryption option. By default, the key is stored “in the cloud” – under a Windows account. It turns out that the latter feature is a major clue.

In fact, it may be that I inadvertently established disk encryption with BitLocker by (stupidly) starting to follow Microsoft’s instructions to set up Windows on the T100 after the machine had been restored to factory settings. (I bailed out on this and set up a regular account with my usual userid and password.) The default setup process is to use a Windows account to login and, if you go this route, Redmond, in its unerring wisdom, implements disk encryption using BitLocker.

There seems to be lots of information about how to turn BitLocker on, but a dearth of details on how to turn it off. The trick seems to be to set up an Administrator’s account on the T100 using the logon credentials for a Microsoft E-mail account. This will require providing a valid E-mail address for a Microsoft account, and probably requesting a security code that will be sent to this address.

Logon to Windows on the T100 using this Administrator’s account. Swipe in from the right on the screen and bring up the Search box. Type BitLocker and an option to “Change device encryption settings” should be available. Select this option to go to the settings screen, scroll down to the “Device encryption” section which will indicate that “Device encryption is on”. Press the button marked “Turn off” and sit back while the operating system decrypts your drive(s).

References:

A beginner’s guide to BitLocker, Windows’ built-in encryption tool
http://www.pcworld.com/article/2308725/a-beginners-guide-to-bitlocker-windows-built-in-encryption-tool.html

Windows 8.1 Will Start Encrypting Hard Drives By Default: Everything You Need to Know
http://www.howtogeek.com/173592/windows-8.1-will-start-encrypting-hard-drives-by-default-everything-you-need-to-know/

Asus T100-TA Magic Stick
http://forum.xda-developers.com/windows-8-rt/win-8-development/live-asus-t100-ta-magic-stick-t3091481

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6 Responses to Turn off BitLocker on the T100

  1. Bruno Arruda says:

    Thank you for your article!

    You saved my time! I had no ideia how to proceed

  2. Topher says:

    Hey Guys,

    here some additional information on the matter:

    You stated in your post that not creating an online account but creating a local account at the initialisation of windows might be an option.
    This is not the case! The C: Drive of the T100TA will be encrypted anyways. At least that is what I experienced after updating to windows 10 and not creating an online account neither in win 8.1 nor in win 10.

    As I am trying to create a dual-boot system (actually the plan is to achieve a triple-boot system with android and arch linux) I managed to find another way to deactivate the bitlocker:

    From an administrator account (in hindsight it might have been enough to run an admin cmd) I started a cmd and used the following commands:

    manage-bde -status

    manage-bde -off C:

    Then I think, in order to prevent your hard drive from getting [Expletive replaced – Ed.] messed up, you need to leave the cmd open, because if you then use “manage-bde -status”again it returns something like
    “encryption in process” (Or something like that, I’m German so for me it returns “Die Entschlüsselung wird durchgeführt”)

    I guess you should leave the cmd open as long as
    manage-bde -status does return something like
    “completeley decrypted” (for me “Vollständig entschlüsselt”)

    it takes quite some time for the tool to finish the process.

    Thanks to this post I came up with that solution:
    http://superuser.com/questions/246928/how-to-disable-bitlocker-through-command-prompt

    Cheers guys!

    • Topher says:

      I would like to clarify that I did not use the words “from getting messed up” but more foul language.

      I find this unasked form of censorship rather annoying.

      • Alan German says:

        Topher:

        If you want to use the original language, please post to your own blog, not to mine.

        With respect to censorship, this blog is moderated and there are lots of listings that I reject as obvious spam. So, yes, I do control the content of my blog. I think this is the first time that I have changed a posting. I hope it will be the last.

        I had considered adding a note to indicate that the original text had been modified; however, I initially considered this unnecessary since the meaning of the text was not changed. Nevertheless, given that you so strongly object to my “censorship”, I have now added an indication that the text, as posted, has been modified.

        Alan

  3. CronoS says:

    Thanks i finally turn off this s***.

    Thumb up

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