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BitLocker dual boot – Windows 7 and Fedora

What is BitLocker?

BitLocker is a partition/hard drive encryption software. It is included by default in Windows Vista, Windows7 and Windows Server 2008 and R2. BitLocker provides a secure startup process when in use with a TPM crypto chip on the motherboard.

The problem is that BitLocker only likes Microsoft Windows (go figure) and encrypting your Windows partition/hard drive if you have two systems installed (in my case Windows 7 and Fedora 18) is not possible – the hard drive encryption with BitLocker fails – at least it did on my system…

My situation..

I got a new laptop computer and i installed Windows 7 on it (company policy). I left 250GB of unpartitioned space for my Fedora 18 installation. After i installed all of the Windows 7 drivers (OMG) and software i decided to go on and install Fedora 18.

After successfully installing Fedora 18 and of course grub bootloader on /dev/sda i decided to encrypt Windows 7 partition with BitLockerBitLocker encryption could not be enabled because of my Fedora 18 installation. I had to reinstall Windows 7 bootloader, enable BitLocker encryption and reinstall grub2 bootloader. Finally everything works!

I have decided to write a quick how to because some of the guides i read said that after enabling BitLocker encryption grub bootloader must not be installed on /dev/sda again – well i did exactly that and voila … it works!


Windows 7 logo
Windows 7 logo


Fedora logo
Fedora logo

BitLocker dual boot – Windows 7 and Fedora guide!

If you have an exsisting dual boot Windows 7 and Fedora 18 installed on your computer (grub installed on /dev/sda), this is how you turn on BitLocker encryption for Windows 7 partition and get BitLocker dual boot – Windows 7 and Fedora

1. Fix MBR & boot

Fix Windows 7 bootloader and MBR (here for more details)

bootrec.exe /fixboot
bootrec.exe /fixmbr

2. Enable encryption

Enable BitLocker encryption in Windows 7 (SAVE the recovery key!)

3. Boot Fedora live CD

4. Grub install

Mount your Linux partitions and run grub install

grub2-install --boot-directory=PATH/TO/BOOT /dev/sda

5. Reboot Fedora.

You should now see Grub2 with two options – Fedora and Windows 7. If you run Windows 7, BitLocker will ask you to enter the recovery key

6. Enter recovery key

Enter BitLocker recovery key and boot into Windows 7!

That is it! You are now running dual boot on your computer with Windows 7 partition encrypted by BitLocker!

  • SS

    Are we supposed to provide the bitlocker key on flash on every boot or there is a way to work without it?

    • Mitch

      Hello SS! At the time i was writing this how to, i did not find any other way to work this out – unfortunately. I am not dual booting any more at the moment. If you happen to find a way to solve this you are welcome to share your solution.

      Thanks and regards,

    • Nedron

      As an FYI to anyone else who might find this page and SS’s question, after doing all of the steps listed, you must do the following:

      1. Boot to Windows and open the Bitlocker admin tool in the Control Panel.
      2. Suspend Bitlocker.
      3. Resume Bitlocker.

      This updates the security to include the new bootloader in the MBR. When you boot into Windows again, you shouldn’t have to enter the recovery key.

  • SS

    I have been using the method described here for a few years without any issues:
    Basically, instead of having grub in the MBR we’re using the Windows bootloader along with a copy of grub’s boot sector on a file inside the system reserved partition containing the Windows bootloader.

    • Mitch

      SS this is great info and thank you for sharing!


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