Any Bitlocker experts? Cloning drive with bitlocker & no admin rights

Discussion in 'Windows 7' started by beastman, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. beastman

    beastman MDL Novice

    Sep 19, 2011
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    I wonder if I can get away with this without ruining my wifes i5 work laptop. I want to use this nice fast laptop as she hardly uses it at home (is now on maternity leave) and one of the main problems is there are no admin rights so I can't install anything on it. I decided it would be a good idea to image/clone the existing drive and re-install windows from fresh using the official serial number and have it set up as I want. So not being familiar with bitlocker stuff I have begun to realise a simple drive/clone image might not work....or will it?

    I originally thought I would install a bigger hard drive and set it up as dual boot - that would have been ideal but I assume the original OS and other 3 partitions on the hard drive are locked down to that particular drive and without admin rights to turn off the bitlocker software and the encryption key I guess I simply cannot do this.

    So I am thinking now if I simply image the drive and keep that image (I use Active@ Disk Image which is great software) I can reuse the existing hard drive and reinstall windows as I want. However if and when needed, when the Mrs needs her laptop for work, will the restore definitely work OK back to the original drive?
    I tried a test image and restored it to a different a different hard drive and it asked for the bitlocker encryption key immediately on bootup but I assume that was simply due to using a different disk and a restore back to the original disk will be fine. Can anyone confirm this?

    thanks
     
  2. Myrrh

    Myrrh MDL Expert

    Nov 26, 2008
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    #2 Myrrh, Aug 5, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
    I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I've used BitLocker enough to have learned this: Anything that alters the layout of the original disk is likely to break the encryption, and if you don't have access to the password or recovery key, you're left with an unreadable disk. Even something as simple as changing certain bios settings will set it off and you have to enter the recovery key to get it to boot again.

    Why not just pull the original drive and store it somewhere safe, do whatever you want with a completely different drive. Then when your wife needs the work environment just swap them back.
     
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  3. beastman

    beastman MDL Novice

    Sep 19, 2011
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    Thanks. Yes I thought about doing this as I assume that doing so would be a bulletproof way around it (is this correct? - presumably if I leave the original alone and put it back later all will be fine) - I just don't have the dollar to put a nice SSD in though!

    Also the other contentious thing is installing fresh windows using the official OEM key - if I used a different hard disk (I have a slow platter disk available)
    then it could create activation issues as it using different hardware.
     
  4. Myrrh

    Myrrh MDL Expert

    Nov 26, 2008
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    Need more detail, what Windows version and what key are you referring to as in OEM from a sticker, or OEM:SLP, or embedded in hardware for Win8.

    The specs of the hard drive should not affect the 2nd or 3rd, if you're using the 1st then it might affect ability to automatically activate when the key had been used previously, in which case you could use the telephone method.

    Assuming you made no other changes physically or in bios, and didn't mess with the TPM chip, the removed drive should still unlock and work normally when reintroduced to the same system.
     
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  5. CODYQX4

    CODYQX4 MDL Developer

    Sep 4, 2009
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    From my understanding you can boot it, so you know the password, but once you boot you can't image because you can't install software.

    Iif you know the password, use a SATA/IDE (whatever the drive is, most likely SATA, but I have one that handles both) to USB cable to attach the laptop HDD to another Windows PC and if that PC can handle Bitlocker, you will be offered to decrypt it.

    Once you do you can use that PC to make an unencrypted disk image. You can then restore that to the new drive and setup Bitlocker with the same password.
     
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  6. beastman

    beastman MDL Novice

    Sep 19, 2011
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    Thanks. I'm not sure if its OEM, OEM:SLP but its a Windows 7 Samsung Ultrabook from the University - it has a OA sticker on the back with a product key on it. Does that indicate standard OEM then?



    Yes, I've not messed with the bios or TPM (didnt even know they existed until a couple of days ago).
     
  7. beastman

    beastman MDL Novice

    Sep 19, 2011
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    #7 beastman, Aug 5, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
    (OP)
    Thanks. I'm using Active Disk Image from a usb boot disk so imaging on the face off it isn't an issue. I guess messing with de-encrypting the existing OS is more than I need to do at this stage, assuming I can install a fresh windows on a new hard disk or as seems more risky, image the existing OS to be saved for when I need it back and use the same hard disk for the fresh windows.