Microsoft Warns About Windows Reset Feature Failing to Wipe All User Data

Posted on February 25, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Windows, Windows 10, Windows 11 with 5 Comments

Microsoft has acknowledged a new Windows bug that may cause some user data to persist after resetting a PC. The issue specifically affects folders using reparsed data that have been synced locally with the OneDrive app for Windows.

“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. This issue might be encountered when attempting a manual reset initiated within Windows or a remote reset,” the company explained on the Windows Health Dashboard (via Neowin).

The company says that this bug affects various versions of Windows including Windows 11 and Windows 10 version 20H2 and newer. A fix is already in the pipeline, though there’s currently no ETA.

In the meantime, Microsoft recommends signing out or unlinking OneDrive before resetting a Windows PC to prevent any user data to persist. For devices that have already been reset, Microsoft also recommends deleting the “Windows.old” folder using Storage sense in the Settings app

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Comments (5)

5 responses to “Microsoft Warns About Windows Reset Feature Failing to Wipe All User Data”

  1. anoldamigauser

    Perhaps step one could be a dialog that tells the user to unlink OneDrive prior to doing the full reset.

  2. proftheory

    Plan B:

    Wipe drive then install OS from ISO/flashdrive.

    I wipe with Linux dd command and usually do about 2G or more.

  3. SvenJ

    Just reset a PC and hadn't read this. On my own figured it was a good idea to unlink OneDrive before doing so. Just seems anything attached to anything else ought to be detached before you blow one side away, to get rid of ant phantom links floating around. Blew away the OneDrive folder after unlinking and before resetting for good measure.

  4. hrlngrv

    Is the concept of automatically suspending OneDrive during reset an overly difficult computer science question? Even the idea of prompting the user whether to do so something which HERETOFORE never occurred to ANY Windows developer? If actually so, one has to wonder about the ability of Windows developers to think outside their spec sheets.

    If it were power wash instead, once one WIPED OUT a user profile directory and ALL its contents, wouldn't all the reparse points be gone as well?

    Part of me is tempted to create a new account on my Linux machine, fire up the DropBox filesystem under that account, sync everything, then try out resetter (my distribution is Ubuntu-derived). I'd like to think (but need to confirm) that Linux tools would be sensible enough to stop all user (as opposed to system) daemons as step one in a user reset.

  5. jwpear

    Nice for those folks that have reset PCs and then sold them.

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