Microsoft confirms Reset issue that may leave data behind on Windows 10 and 11 devices
Some days ago, Microsoft MVP Rudy Ooms discovered that the latest versions of Windows 10 and Windows 11 would leave user data behind during wipe operations.
Windows administrators may have several reasons for resetting and wiping devices: devices may be prepared for use by the same or another user, or they may be sold or rented. Wiping all data ensures that user data from previous users can't be recovered. While there are other means, using encryption comes to mind, resetting and wiping using built-in functionality is a straightforward way of preparing a device for use.
When attempting to reset a Windows device with apps which have folders with reparse data, such as OneDrive or OneDrive for Business, files which have been downloaded or synced locally from OneDrive might not be deleted when selecting the “Remove everything” option.
According to Microsoft, data may be left behind on devices with OneDrive or OneDrive for Business data. Microsoft notes that this affects local data only and not data that is displayed as a placeholder on the local system only.
Administrators may notice the issue when running local or remote resets on affected devices. Microsoft is working on a resolution at the time of writing. The company published two workarounds for the issue, one of which uses the same method that Ooms suggested earlier this week.
- Signing-out of OneDrive or OneDrive for Business, or unlinking OneDrive before resetting avoids the issue. A support page is available that explains the process.
- After performing a reset on a device, deleting the windows.old folder will also remove data leftovers that should not have survived the reset operation.
It is always a good idea to scan systems after performing reset or wiping operations to make sure that no data is left behind after the operations complete. Most Windows administrators who ran reset operations on affected Windows 10 or 11 devices may not even be aware that data may have been left behind due to the issue.
Now You: how do you reset/wipe your devices?Advertisement