News Windows 10 and 11 21H2 Data Wiping Tool Leaves User Data on Disk

mikeebb

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Nov 2, 2014
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sdelete from Windows Internals has been my go-to for disk wiping. Takes a while to run, but does the job, and the price is right. If I feel like belt & suspenders, I might reformat (full, not quick) or even repartition the disk too, but repartitioning using Disk Management in particular seems not to work with really old hard disks being prepared for disposal. If you really want it destroyed, of course, physical damage is recommended, perhaps after doing a basic wipe, but the story is about Fresh Start so presumably the intent is to re-use the system disk not destroy it. I don't keep Top Secret data on my personal computers, so the ultimate isn't really necessary.

One problem with sdelete is that it might actually destroy a SSD. It zeroes and/or rewrites (multiple times if that's chosen) every sector. Does normal-deleting everything then triggering a TRIM leave recoverable data?

The windows.old thing is a problem if it's appearing after a true keep-nothing Fresh Start. That's a major bug needing a fix.
 

emike09

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Jun 8, 2011
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I never used the Reset PC function. Clean install and drive wipe is the way to go.

Just pop in your USB Windows installer with cCleaner Portal on it, hit Shift+F10 once in the installer, run diskpart - clean, then install. Once at the setup screen, hit Ctrl+Shift+F3, and the system will reboot to the built-in Administrator account. You'll notice a utility called the System Preparation Tool. I then run a 1-way drive wipe (or 3-way if I knew the drive has sensitive data). If it kills the SSD, not my problem lol. Security first.

After the drive wipe, use the System Prep Tool to enter System Out-of-box experience (oobe) and generalize the system, and have it shut down. When it's booted up next time, it's like a brand new installation of Windows.

If the system is going to someone I know, I'll go an extra step and install all Windows Updates as well as select manufacturer applications, such as Dell Update and Power Manager. I'd use Dell Update to make sure the system has all Dell drivers and firmware updates. This is just a little white glove treatment. If you used Wifi for the updates, remember to forget your SSID when you're done.

Overall, if you're not adding updates, applications, and drivers, it takes about as long as Reset PC. It's the only way of guaranteeing a fresh install of Windows, securely wiped drive, and that new-feeling experience for the next owner. Don't forget to clean the air intakes and wipe the system down with a rag damp with rubbing alcohol as well! Little things go a long way.
 

chaos133

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Aug 13, 2010
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I prefer to use the SDD manufacturers Secure Erase utility, it will create a bootable USB in Windows, then restart and follow the prompts, then your SSD is completely erased, and it only takes a few seconds.
 

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