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Manage-bde: changekey

Published: April 17, 2012

Updated: August 21, 2013

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012

Modifies the startup key for an operating system drive. For examples of how this command can be used, see Examples.

manage-bde -changekey [<Drive>] [<PathToExternalKeyDirectory>] [-computername <Name>] [{-?|/?}] [{-help|-h}]


Parameter Description


Represents a drive letter followed by a colon.


Represents the directory location to save the external startup key file that can be used to unlock the drive.


Specifies that Manage-bde.exe will be used to modify BitLocker protection on a different computer. You can also use -cn as an abbreviated version of this command.


Represents the name of the computer on which to modify BitLocker protection. Accepted values include the computer's NetBIOS name and the computer's IP address.

-? or /?

Displays brief Help at the command prompt.

-help or -h

Displays complete Help at the command prompt.

The following example illustrates using the -changekey command to create a new startup key on drive E to use with BitLocker encryption on drive C.

manage-bde –changekey C: E:\

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