The Windows data wipe tool does not fully clean the drive, leaving important information behind

As many of our readers will know, using the Windows Data Wipe tool performs, in theory, a complete wipe of all data, files, and settings on the drive. This achieves, in theory, that there are no remains that could end up endangering the safety of the user, or of the company.


If you’re wondering why it’s important to use the Windows wipe tool, don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you wondering. Imagine, for example, that you want to sell a storage unit that you will no longer need, or an entire team. By using such a tool, the storage unit should be totally clean, which means that the person who buys the equipment, or your storage unit, will not be able to find any piece of personal information of the previous user, that is, of you.


I imagine that now everything will be clearer to you, and you will understand better why it is a problem that the Windows data deletion tool does not perform its function correctly. This problem has been discovered by Rudy Ooms, recognized by Microsoft as an MVP, who carried out tests using Windows updates 21H1 and 21H2, and discovered that with the latter, said tool not only did not work correctly, since it left traces of information, but also also removed the protection offered by BitLocker.


A temporary, unofficial solution to the problem of Windows data deletion

Ooms created a PowerShell script to deal with this problem until Microsoft can fix it with the release of an official patch, and it can be downloaded via his blog. Personally I am not surprised since, as we have said, he was recognized as an MVP by Microsoft.

Going back to the subject of the Windows data erase tool, it is curious to see all the talk about the importance of data protection strategies, mainly focused on making backup copies in different media and formats , but the little importance we give to the definitive, and reliable, elimination of that data.

We might think that a simple format is enough, butthe truth is that this is not enough. If we really want to erase all the data on a storage unit, the ideal is to use tools that have been specifically designed for this. In extreme cases, when we talk about companies or government entities, the physical destruction of the unit is an option that is considered on more than one occasion.

Obviously, for a normal user it is not necessary to go to the physical destruction of the unit. It would be better not to give it away and give it a second life with a specific use in mind. We can also use the Windows data deletion tool, as long as we know that it will work correctly, or third-party tools, as we have already told you.