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Microsoft squashes OneDrive bug that caused files to linger after PC wipe

Never can say goodbye to those documents? Now you can

Lurking within this month's Patch Tuesday batch of updates is a fix for a Windows issue in which locally synchronized OneDrive data was not always deleted during a reset.

The bug, which turned up in the Windows release health dashboard in February, is an ironic one, considering the disastrous October 2018 roll out of Windows 10, which infamously gave users extra disk space by quietly wiping their data.

This latest issue, which hit both Windows 10 and 11, manifested for some users by letting locally synced OneDrive data linger even when a user selected the "remove everything" option during a reset. More seriously for administrators, the issue could also occur after a remote reset initiated by a Mobile Device Management (MDM) application (such as Intune, itself the subject of some news this week), thus defeating the point of the function.

The problem occurred on devices with apps that had folders with reparse data (Microsoft gave OneDrive and OneDrive for Business as examples). To get around the problem, other than nuking the machine from orbit (which, in the opinion of this writer, when it comes to resetting Windows is the only way to be sure), Microsoft recommended first signing out or unlinking OneDrive prior to the reset or using Storage Sense to wipe the Windows.old folder after the reset.

Data that was never synchronized locally was not affected.

The good news is that Microsoft has emitted a patch (KB5011493) for Windows 11 (and KB5011487 for Windows 10) to deal with the problem.

The bad news is that it could take up to seven days after the installation of the patch "to fully address the issue."

And if you've already done a patch and those local OneDrive files are lingering? Tough – the patch won't help and you'll need to work around the problem manually. ®

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