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Microsoft: Resetting your Windows PC may not delete all files

The problem occurs with files synced to OneDrive. Windows 10 and Windows 11 are affected. Microsoft is working on a fix and currently only offer a workaround.

Microsoft warns that the Reset PC feature offered in Windows 10 and Windows 11 settings may not work as promised Delete all files. The problem seems to occur once you use OneDrive to sync files to the cloud.

Windows 10 and Windows 11 can be reset to factory settings. Microsoft offers two options for this: “Keep my files” or “Remove everything”. According to Microsoft, the latter should delete “all personal files, apps, and settings”. This option is recommended above all if a computer pre-installed with Windows ex Works is transferred to another owner.

When you try to erase a Windows device with apps that contain folders with clean data, such as OneDrive or OneDrive for Business, files downloaded from OneDrive or synced locally may not be deleted if the “Remove everything” option is selected,” Microsoft said in an update about Known issues for Windows 11 21H2. OneDrive files that are ‘in the cloud only’ or that are not downloaded or opened on the device are not affected and will not persist because the files are not downloaded or synced locally.

how computer is bleeding The issue was reported by Microsoft MVP Rudy Ooms. He found readable user files after reset in the Windows.old folder after resetting a Windows 10 device. In a blog entry, he described in detail how he encountered the error. It also warns that data encrypted with Bitlocker will be decrypted during the reset and thus stored in the Windows.old folder so that it can be read.

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Windows.old is a folder created by the Microsoft operating system to hold an older version of the operating system. This folder is created, among other things, when you upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11.

According to Microsoft, Windows 11 and Windows 10 versions 21H2, 21H1, and 20H2 are affected. A fix is ​​already in progress and will be distributed with a future update. Until then, Microsoft only offers a solution. Before the reset, the connection between your PC and OneDrive must be removed. Alternatively, the Windows.old folder can be deleted via the Storage Sense feature in the Settings app or via the classic Disk Cleanup. However, after deleting the folder, it is no longer possible to go back to an older version of Windows.