Lenovo Yoga 920 laptop, Win 10 - locked out!

Hi All
I’m locked out of my own computer. It’s an expensive ($2400) Lenovo Yoga 920 laptop purchased in March 2018 (2 years ago). Lenovo pushed out an upgrade, the window to accept and begin the upgrade sat above everything, I couldn’t, not accept it, I was trying to write and email at the time, that was 2pm Saturday 14 March. My computer has been out of action since then.

It appears the upgrade was also a BIOS upgrade. This triggered a Microsoft Product called BitLocker, which has encrypted and locked my main drive (see photo). I’ve spent many fruitless hours on the phone with Lenovo, I’ve spent many fruitless hours on the phone with Microsoft - both are very difficult to contact. All I need is the BitLocker key to unlock my drive, a string of numbers and letters and my computer will be up and running again without data loss.

It’s been six days, without my laptop, I need it. I’m a university student. With the current pandemic, all my lectures are going on-line. The laptop has all the nice things I need, microphone and camera built-in so that I can participate. My old clunky shared desktop, I can use… just, its no good for telly conferencing however.

I find it enormously frustrating that I’m locked out of my own computer. 2 GB of 500GB is backed up on OneDrive, the remainder, no.

Microsoft say I can’t access the key because I updated my account mobile phone number when I went looking to access the key (yes they had an old number). This triggers a 30 day lockout period. Again, enormously frustrating, I’ve given them all the security details they need to ensure it’s me and that is my MS account.

I don’t need the BitLocker software, I log into my laptop with my finger print, I think that’s adequate. I didn’t want or need this 30 day lockout period - that is completely over the top, unnecessary security which is now preventing me from using my own property.

I have reminded both MS and Lenovo of my consumer rights. I’m still locked out. Can anyone help? How can I get them to fix this situation. Am I entitled to compensation for loss of access to my laptop or loss of data if they re-image (if that’s possible).

Anyone know the phone number of the CEOs? Both MS and Lenovo Australia - I would like to speak with them.

Mal (using a shared desktop PC)

Did you write down, print out or save to a USB flash drive the recovery key? The key is identified by (named by) the 128-bit unique number (32 hex digits) that you have blanked out in the above image - and the value of the key should be a 48-digit base 10 number (that you will then enter).

It is possible that, as an alternative to paper or a flash drive, you may have saved the recovery key in your Microsoft account. However I gather that either the key is not there or you did not find it or you did not manage to access the account - or some combination thereof.

Did you enable and set up BitLocker yourself? Or did the laptop come with it already set up? If the latter then there’s an outside chance that the vendor can help you out (even though that is relatively insecure).

Welcome to the .community @Mal,

A sad state you are in… although this is not a tech support site we try to help when we can. I cannot attest to the completeness or veracity of the link below. It is an overview of most (all?) of your options if you don’t have the keys. Not a pretty list but seems fairly complete. You might have to attach the HDD to a bootable PC to be able to operate on (hack into) it.


You might seek a hacker type in your PC org or your university to help if the above is a bit much.

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A few extra comments that may help you to understand the background.

More accurately, the main drive was encrypted two years ago when you bought the computer.

You may not be aware of that because what normally happens is that the drive is decrypted for use automatically when you boot the computer.

As you surmise, there was some change in the computer over the last few days that has been flagged as suspicious by the computer (maybe a BIOS upgrade) and the computer is asking for the recovery key to confirm that all is OK.

Don’t waste time fighting Microsoft trying to get in to your Microsoft account unless you have reason to believe that the recovery key is saved there.

I don’t think you have mentioned which Windows version you are running.

Then if you regain access to the computer, you may see about disabling it.

The purpose of BitLocker is to guard against theft of the information on the disk i.e. someone can steal the laptop but it will be useless to them for the purposes of getting the information on the disk. So your loss is limited to the physical hardware and not also your identity or your intellectual property or more, such as might occur if the thief gets access to the information on the disk.

I don’t know whether it’s an option but under the circumstances I would be considering getting a cheapy second-hand laptop that does the job while you try to sort out your current laptop.


Hi person
Thanks for your response. Win 10 was already pre-installed, there was no USB. I have all the original documentation there is no key with that. I recall (two years ago now), going through a Windows setup, I think it booted straight to Windows, I don’t recall anything about BitLocker or interacting with it ever before.
Lenovo tech support has made it very clear, they don’t keep the BitLocker key, that’s MS, nothing to do with Lenovo. The maybe in my MS account, but I cannot access my MS account because I’m locked out for 30 days due to the phone number update.
Thanks very much for you advice however, much appreciated, sorry if I sound a bit grumpy, I’ve just been on the phone with Lenovo again (30 minute call) still no acceptable offer. These are my choices:

  1. Re-image - loss of data, no compensation offered.
  2. Wait 30 days for the key to be available - it may or may not be there, no compensation for the lockout.

No worries. I’m pretty sure that anyone would be grumpy in your situation.

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Thanks for your advice BBG.
I do have qualifications in electronics, and I did built my own desktop, which I’m using now. However this is a nicely sealed up laptop with a SSD. That list is beyond my skill set unfortunately. It should be Lenovo or MS doing this work, I suspect I will just make the situation worse if I try those things, and why should I? I don’t know any hacker types. I would probably need to pay $$$, why should I?
Both Lenovo and MS know they should fix it and they both know getting me the key is the best fix - they just haven’t done it yet.

This is getting to the limits of my knowledge but I don’t think Windows puts the key in your Microsoft account automatically. It would only be in your Microsoft account, if you put it there i.e. you did a backup of the key and the option you chose was to back up to your Microsoft account. Again, unless you have reason to believe that you may have done that, I would not wait the 30 days.

Just remember though that if the disk just died then you would have loss of data and no compensation offered. So, BitLocker or no, you should be doing backups. Not having the key for BitLocker is just one more reason to do backups.


This kind of encryption is designed to be unbreakable. If they don’t have the recovery key, it may not be possible for either Lenovo or MS to fix this. “should fix it” is highly theoretical if they can’t fix it.

Lenovo has stated that “they don’t keep the BitLocker key”. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. If they keep the key then it makes a mockery of the encryption and it opens up an attack on everyone’s Lenovo laptop if someone hacks into Lenovo and steals a million keys in one go. If they don’t keep the key then there’s a problem when users lose the key (or never made a copy in the first place).

Probably Microsoft (and Lenovo) will argue that as part of the “Windows setup” 2 years ago it suggested to you that you back up the recovery key.

If it’s any consolation, I probably hear of one case a week of someone using this kind of highly secure system and getting themselves in a mess when something goes wrong. :frowning:


The key should be there, but without access I can’t be certain. See Finding your BitLocker recovery key in Windows 10.
Yes, Windows 10.

It’s nice to know I’m not alone - somehow I don’t feel much better however. Just want my computer back and working. I don’t recall anything about BitLocker when setting it up, I consider myself quite well organised for this kind of thing, keeping secure passwords etc.
I feel like I’ve been held hostage however, not by a scammer but by Microsoft and Lenovo. Why do they think I’m not me now? I’m somehow different in thirty days when the exclusion period expires, why? It makes no sense.

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The trouble is that neither is likely able to get the key. It is possible that Microsoft has a BitLocker back door, but that would be reserved for serious government work - not some peon who’s locked out of their device. Lenovo is unlikely to be able to help, unless the key is printed somewhere in the documentation.

The thirty day delay is actually to protect you from scammers pretending to be you. It may be frustrating, but they figure most customers will bear the frustration better than having their identities stolen.

I do not think either company is likely to be in a position to help you recover anything that is currently on your laptop. What they should be able to do is advise you how to reformat the hard drive and disable BitLocker. Hopefully your important data is either backed up to OneDrive or in emails or other online places where data can hide.

This is not a question of consumer rights so much as it is one of ‘what do I do when something goes wrong?’. I cannot imagine either Lenovo or Microsoft accepting any liability; they will simply advise you to restore from backup.

Late news: it appears that Microsoft is indeed likely to have a backup of your recovery key.

If you have a modern device that supports automatic device encryption, the recovery key will most likely be in your Microsoft account. For more, see Device encryption in Windows 10.

Unfortunately, you are going to have to wait if you are locked out of your Microsoft account for 30 days.

Edit: In the meantime, prepare your 3-2-1 plan.


I strongly disagree, and in the circumstances I feel somewhat patronised. If you are willing to produce passport, signatures, police identification - whatever, you should be able to access the information you own in less than 30 days. There is such a thing as ‘too much’ security, I should not have to argue that. My bank account can be emptied much easier than I can access my own data - this is ridiculous.

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The trouble is that neither is likely able to get the key.

Why does Australian Consumer Law (ACL) not apply in this situation? I suggest it doesn’t matter who runs the server, where the key is kept (or whatever). I believe I’m entitled to a functional laptop, that’s what I paid for. Microsoft and Lenovo are selling product in a marketplace which is underpinned by ACL - it is they who should have the appropriate processes in place such that they can support customers under ACL. I do not wave my rights to ACL because this is security matter or because it’s Lenovo or Microsoft.

I believe I am entitled to protection under ACL. Which is:

If a business fails to deliver any of these guarantees, you have consumer rights for:
repair, replacement or refund

compensation for damages & loss.

Why should I settle for less?

First, I am not trying to be argumentative and empathise with your predicament.

It reads that while you were working on the PC the window popped up atop your work. Not having had a Lenovo product of late I am unfamiliar with how they push updates but I have not seen an update that could not be delayed or ignored. However I’ll allow some are so poorly programmed it is not always obvious what your options are as a user, at the moment. I have also seen some windows that cannot be hidden, most but not all of which can be minimised out of the way and thus effectively ignored until one is ready to deal with them.

I too have experienced overload when trying to get something done with many windows open, and have sometimes closed, typed in, or killed the wrong one and it happens to many of us; usually with far less dire consequences than yours.

As for your premise, the product is sold to do certain things, including provide you with security, eg bitlocker in this case. I suggest that claiming your predicament is contrary to your consumer rights for the product to work now, and contrary to the design whether the design is right or wrong is going to cause you angst but probably not the ‘back door’ you seek.

Bitlocker is part of the product you purchased and for better or worse it is working as intended, as is the laptop.

Some of us note that in these times every one of us is expected to be a ‘systems administrator’ and technically competent to do some fairly serious ‘software maintenance’ and I for one am amazed most survive as they do. But comparing how resilient Windows 10 is compared to even XP is impressive. However all that intrinsic ‘smarts’ that makes it happen also creates ever more black boxes that are completely opaque how to deal with when they go wrong.


Sometimes I test my arguments by imagining; if worst comes to worst, could I explain myself before a judge.

I don’t think this argument would be acceptable to a judge. Yes the BitLocker software is working, too well perhaps - but the laptop is most definitely not working - I cannot access my data. I paid for a working laptop and I am not convinced that Australian Consumer Laws should not apply.

Where did you buy it?

The problem with this argument is that it goes beyond what you paid for that a copy of the recovery is kept in your Microsoft account.

Let’s imagine that Microsoft did not put a copy of the recovery key in your Microsoft account, as they would be entitled to do. What then?

JB Hi-Fi

The reason I ask is that, if this ends up with Fair Trading or the ACCC etc., then in my opinion you were sold a product that is not appropriate for your needs. However that is the extent of where you have been let down, in my opinion.

By your own claim you don’t need BitLocker and it is a bomb waiting to go off.