Question Is clean install the same as secure erase?

TheFlash1300

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If i use the Reset option you can find in the Recovery section in the Settings of Windows 10, will it have the same effect as the Secure Erase option you can find in the BIOS, will it erase all information, format the HDD/SSD, and install a new, fresh copy of Windows, without leaving traces of any previous files that existed prior the activation of the Reset option?

A person keeps telling me that there is a difference, and that installing the OS from an external device is the right way to do it. In other words, can someone of you tell me the difference between those two methods:

Method #1: You use the Reset option, and then select "Remove everything".

Method #2: You use the Windows Media Creation Tool to insert Windows 10 SETUP into a bootable USB. Then, you format the storage device, insert the USB, and install the OS from the USB drive.

The person keeps telling me the second option is the right way to do it, and that the first option is useless and meaningless. Is this true? As far as i know, the first option downloads the SETUP from the Cloud, removes all files, formats the storage device, and then installs the OS. Am i correct? If yes, then why is the second option considered better than the first option, if both options do the same?

What i want to do is to erase all previous information from the HDD, and install a fresh copy of Windows. I want to ensure all potential threats, like viruses, are removed. This is why i want to truly erase everything from the HDD. So, which method is the correct one?
 

USAFRet

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Reset
Clean Install
Secure Erase

3 completely different things.


Reset mostly wipes out the OS and reinstall it. Mostly.

Clean install means deleting ALL relevant partitions on the drive and then reinstalling.

Secure Erase is a hardware level function, to bring the drive back to theoretical factory condition.


Additionally, Secure Erase has nothing to do with an HDD. It is for an SSD.

What i want to do is to erase all previous information from the HDD, and install a fresh copy of Windows. I want to ensure all potential threats, like viruses, are removed. This is why i want to truly erase everything from the HDD. So, which method is the correct one?
A clean install, thusly:
 
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Colif

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reset just erases the partition currently known as C, it doesn't wipe the entire drive
Media creation tool - no need to format drive before installing windows 10, it is part of a clean install process to delete all the partitions.
BIOS Secure erase won't reinstall windows, it just wipes the drive.
 
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TheFlash1300

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Secure Erase is a hardware level function, to bring the drive back to theoretical factory condition.
This is what i need. I want to erase all bits of information from the HDD, before i install the new OS, so i can be sure all potentially harmful codes are removed, and the HDD is renewed, and it's state is like the state of a newly produced HDD.

Additionally, Secure Erase has nothing to do with an HDD. It is for an SSD.
Articles about his tell that secure erase is for HDD, not for SSD.

Is there a way to erase everything from a HDD?

A clean install, thusly:
Why clean install? If a clean install doesn't remove everything, but only files associated with the OS, shouldn't i use a method that erases everything?

reset just erases the partition currently known as C, it doesn't wipe the entire drive
Media creation tool - no need to format drive before installing windows 10, it is part of a clean install process to delete all the partitions.
Yes i know. I already have a USB drive with Windows 10 in it, created by the Media Creation Tool i downloaded from Microsoft's site.

But i want to erase everything from the HDD, before i install the OS.

Yes, i know. This is what i want to do - full erasure, then installing the OS.
 
This is what i need. I want to erase all bits of information from the HDD, before i install the new OS, so i can be sure all potentially harmful codes are removed, and the HDD is renewed, and it's state is like the state of a newly produced HDD.

Articles about his tell that secure erase is for HDD, not for SSD.

Is there a way to erase everything from a HDD?
There are tools that basically write all 1s, all 0s, or random data to a hard drive several times. This effectively erases the data that was on it. I know CCleaner has a tool, but you can also use something called DBAN.

Why clean install? If a clean install doesn't remove everything, but only files associated with the OS, shouldn't i use a method that erases everything?
It doesn't remove any data in the sense that the existing data is not overwritten or deleted. However, the partition table doesn't know this data exists, so the file system doesn't know what to look for and send data to execute. You'd have to have some sort of drive forensics tool to retrieve the data.

But i want to erase everything from the HDD, before i install the OS.
If you're concerned about some bad code executing, then there's no reason to do this. Reformatting creates a new partition table that isn't aware the data exists. And if something goes after looking for some "harmful codes" from a fresh OS install, you have bigger problems.
 

TheFlash1300

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Clean install formats drive, doing it before hand is just pointless duplication.
Is formatting the same as full erase?

"doing it before hand is just pointless duplication."

So, using clean install will produce the same effect as DBAN when it comes to data erasing, full data erasing?

Well they did ask if there's something for HDDs, so there's that
Yes, i already did it. I just used DBAN on my HDD. Now it's at 90%, soon it will be ready, and i will install the OS.
 

USAFRet

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So, using clean install will produce the same effect as DBAN when it comes to data erasing, full data erasing?
For your continued use, yes.

If you were selling the system, no.




If YOU are going to continue to use the system, it does not matter. Delete partitions, clean install, all is gone.


If you are going to SELL it to someone else, DBAN.
Or Secure Erase for an SSD.

Otherwise, there is a tiny infinitesimal possibility that a future person could extract a file fragment or two.
Now...no normal person would do this. Why would they?...you are no one special.

But consider a possible chain of events.
You sell it.
It gets stolen or somehow ends up in the hands of a drug dealer.
He gets busted.
This system is now in the hands of the police.
Who may do a forensic deep dive into its contents.

Have I tweaked your tin foil hat enough?
 
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TheFlash1300

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A clean install, thusly:
And, how to make a clean install? As far as i know, the clean install is performed by the Reset option in the Settings menu, isn't it?

I can use the Media Creation Tool to make a bootable Windows 10 USB installer. Should i do it? Also, the laptop uses SSD, meaning Secure Erase isn't recommended. What if secure erase drops the health of the SSD? Secure erase, as far as i know, makes a lot of overwrites, which will drop the health of the SSD - because SSDs can only make a limited number of writes. In other words, secure erase is for HDDs only.

So, what options should i use to make sure all previous information and potential threats are removed? What else, if not using the Reset option, should i do to make sure there are no remaining threats, from the previous Windows 10, in the new Windows 10?
 

Lafong

Respectable
the laptop uses SSD, meaning Secure Erase isn't recommended.


secure erase is for HDDs only.

what options should i use to make sure all previous information and potential threats are removed?
I need more info on Secure Erase being for HDDs only. Let us know.

What about the information in the firmware on your drives becoming infected? That might be worrisome. I don't think a clean install would wipe that out. Maybe not even a secure erase.
 

TheFlash1300

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I need more info on Secure Erase being for HDDs only. Let us know.

What about the information in the firmware on your drives becoming infected? That might be worrisome. I don't think a clean install would wipe that out. Maybe not even a secure erase.
"Because the drive writes all new incoming data to various blocks, depending on its needs, only the drive knows where this data is written. So, secure deletion tools actually harm SSDs by performing an unnecessary number of additional writes."

SOURCE: https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/securely-erase-ssd-without-destroying/

Isn't it true? If secure erasing makes a lot of writes in attempts to overwrite all existing previous information, and SSDs can have only a limited number of writes, won't secure erasing drop the health of the SSD?

To ask it more clearly: Now CrystalDisk shows my SSD's health is 97%. If i perform secure erase with DBAN, will the health be lowered to below (or much below) 97%?

What about the BIOS chip? I don't think the BIOS chip is infected. Such viruses exist, but are very rare. Usually, such viruses are used to target high-profile systems, not an average person's laptop...
 

USAFRet

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"Because the drive writes all new incoming data to various blocks, depending on its needs, only the drive knows where this data is written. So, secure deletion tools actually harm SSDs by performing an unnecessary number of additional writes."

SOURCE: https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/securely-erase-ssd-without-destroying/

Isn't it true? If secure erasing makes a lot of writes in attempts to overwrite all existing previous information, and SSDs can have only a limited number of writes, won't secure erasing drop the health of the SSD?

To ask it more clearly: Now CrystalDisk shows my SSD's health is 97%. If i perform secure erase with DBAN, will the health be lowered to below (or much below) 97%?

What about the BIOS chip? I don't think the BIOS chip is infected. Such viruses exist, but are very rare. Usually, such viruses are used to target high-profile systems, not an average person's laptop...
There are a "limited number of writes"

But this 'limited number' is much much larger than you surmise.

If you have need of a Secure Erase on an SSD, just do it.
You have thereby reduced the theoretical lifespan of the drive by a day or so. Out of 10 years....
 

Lafong

Respectable
"Because the drive writes all new incoming data to various blocks, depending on its needs, only the drive knows where this data is written. So, secure deletion tools actually harm SSDs by performing an unnecessary number of additional writes."


Now CrystalDisk shows my SSD's health is 97%. If i perform secure erase with DBAN, will the health be lowered to below (or much below) 97%?
Thanks for clearing that up about secure erase and SSDs.

Re Crystal Disk and going below 97%:

Even if it didn't go below 97%, it still did some writes. Then you'd be left to wonder if those writes were "unnecessary" per your link regarding what a secure erase does. More uncertainty.

How sure are you that DBAN can be applied to an SSD?
 

USAFRet

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Please...get your terms and tools straight.

Secure Erase - SSD
DBAN - HDD only. It says right on the DBAN website...

https://dban.org
"A hard drive disk wipe and data clearing utility "
"It cannot detect or erase SSDs and ...."

Reset
Clean install
DBAN or Secure Erase

Different tools for different needs and functions.
 

TheFlash1300

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There are a "limited number of writes"

But this 'limited number' is much much larger than you surmise.

If you have need of a Secure Erase on an SSD, just do it.
You have thereby reduced the theoretical lifespan of the drive by a day or so. Out of 10 years....
At 3250 hours of work and 6694 writes, the SSD stands at 97% health.

How sure are you that DBAN can be applied to an SSD?
DBAN is for HDDs, not SSDs.
Reset
Clean install
DBAN or Secure Erase

Different tools for different needs and functions.

Reset = deletes Windows, then installs it again. Doesn't affect/delete every single bit of information on the disk.

DBAN = makes a lot of writes in attempts to overwrite all previously existing information.

Did i get it correctly?

Would you explain to me what clean install is used for?
 

USAFRet

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At 3250 hours of work and 6694 writes, the SSD stands at 97% health.
So....calculate that out...

When, exactly, did you install this drive?
Do you leave the system on 24/7? (orobably not)

So, calculate out the calendar days since install, vs the TBW reported by CrystalDiskInfo.

This will give you your average daily writes.
Now, contrast this against the TBW number mentioned in the warranty for this drive.

At your current use rate, how long until you reach that specific TBW number?

Then....multiply that time length by 2 or 3.
Consumer level drives have been shown to last far beyond that warranty TBW number.



So....what year is this drive, at your current use rate, expected to "die"?
 

USAFRet

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Reset = deletes Windows, then installs it again. Doesn't affect/delete every single bit of information on the disk.

DBAN = makes a lot of writes in attempts to overwrite all previously existing information.

Did i get it correctly?

Would you explain to me what clean install is used for?
A Clean install is for when you want to delete ALL existing partitions on the drive, and start fresh.
In between a Reset and DBAN.

If I were selling/gifting the drive/system to someone else, DBAN (HDD) or Secure Erase (SSD)
 

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