Wiping Windows 11 and 10 data may not be as easy as intended for OneDrive users

Windows 10 Wallpaper
Windows 10 Wallpaper (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Windows has built-in functionalities designed to wipe your PC.
  • A new report indicates these tools aren't completing the job on systems utilizing OneDrive, meaning some of your data will survive the wipe.
  • This apparent flaw can be a problem if you plan on selling your PC and don't want its next owner to have access to any of your old files or data.

If you're planning on wiping your Windows PC using the built-in options for device reset operations, know that you may need to go further to really scrub your system clean. As it turns out, Windows' own tools may not be enough to properly clean a device.

As reported by Rudy Ooms, the issue at hand is fixable with a PowerShell script (via Tom's Hardware). Still, be on the lookout for the base problem if you use OneDrive and plan on attempting to wipe your PC anytime soon.

Whether attempting to local or remote wipe Windows 11 or Windows 10 version 21H2, Ooms found that some personal data ran the risk of being left on the PC in a capacity wherein it was still, with the right tools and know-how, accessible. To showcase this, he pointed to the Windows.old folder, which retained info even after a proper wipe was executed.

Here's the catch: In an update to his initial report, Ooms clarified that "this issue only occurs when you are using OneDrive," meaning those without OneDrive may have the smooth experience that Windows' built-in wiping tools are intended to offer. Though in the event you do use OneDrive, check out Ooms' post for a PowerShell script that'll help you in totally resetting your device.

Microsoft's operating systems are full of little bugs, but don't let that dissuade you from checking out the best Windows laptops, which are still some of the most capable machines on the market.

Robert Carnevale

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.