Solved Is factory reset the same as clean install?


sourcecode

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You didn't explain why it's important to wipe the drive before. Doing a zero fill and full format on an SSD drive unnecessarily shorten its lif
Won't shorten anything. It pretty much goes without saying that it is the method to actually properly clear everything. Which simply formatting will not necessarily do.
 

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CountMike

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Most of this is false.

The reason you're claiming that zeroing the drive is bad is the exact reason to zero it. Therefore zeroing the drive is the direct opposite of bad. And no it will not replace anything. It will delete everything so that there will be no partitions at all. Not even one. This is why during installation, you create a new partition on the driver. Even if that partition is the entire drive itself. All of which I made clear to explain. Which you completely ignored.

You do not need any working internet at all for installation. Especially when it comes to drivers which I even mentioned to install prior to connecting to internet. Again which I explained clearly and you completely ignored.

All those other methods for installation are using a mix of going through something else and not as secure. Including may not be functional offline. The best and most reliable for cleanest installation installing directly from offline media. Such as USB or Optical drive.
Zero fill uses at least as much writes as disk's capacity, shortening it's life by that much, probably even much more because cells with data on them have to be erased first to write anything, even zeros to them. Unless you are selling or giving it away so no data can be retrieved (although even that is questionable) there's no need for zeroing.

What is insecure by downloading ISO from MS directly or using MCT which is also from MS ?
 

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spapakons

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If you feel Windows is an insecure OS, why use it in the first place? Zeroing the drive and do a full format is overkill and unnecessary, unless you have something to hide and do not want even forensic scan to find out (you wish). It is a digital medium, not an old analog cassette that if not thoroughly erased properly can cause interference with the data! Yes, back in the 80's if a cassette wasn't properly erased before recording new data you could have issues. Today is 2022, cassettes are no longer used, at least in computing.
 

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CountMike

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If you feel Windows is an insecure OS, why use it in the first place? Zeroing the drive and do a full format is overkill and unnecessary, unless you have something to hide and do not want even forensic scan to find out (you wish). It is a digital medium, not an old analog cassette that if not thoroughly erased properly can cause interference with the data! Yes, back in the 80's if a cassette wasn't properly erased before recording new data you could have issues. Today is 2022, cassettes are no longer used, at least in computing.
It's not only tapes. mechanical HDDs heads cover several tracks at once where same data is written and may need several passes to erase all. For high security disks are totally destroyed so nothing can be recovered.
 

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spapakons

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Either way this process is useless for the average user, let alone most don't have the knowledge to zero fill and do a full format. Zero fill is also dangerous. Doing that to the wrong disk and say goodbye to your precious data. Don't attempt to recover them, you cannot.
 

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spapakons

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What do you mean to "properly clean everything". If you just do a quick format or delete all partitions and proceed, you achieve the same thing. Empty the drive of previous data and do a new installation on top. Why it is important to zero fill and do a full format? It is a waste of time as for the average user makes absolutely no difference, plus it shortens the disk life. Please elaborate why you think is important as everyone else thinks is not.

It would make sense if you prepared the computer to give away, but again doing both a zero fill and a full format is overkill. Just doing a full format would suffice.
 

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Bree

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Doing a zero fill and full format on an SSD drive unnecessarily shorten its life.
Won't shorten anything.....
If you seriously believe that writing zeros to every cell in an SSD won't shorten it's life then you have no understanding of NAND technology. They have a limited number of write cycles before they wear out and can no longer hold data.

NAND cells are not designed to last forever. Unlike DRAM, their cells will wear out over time as the write cycles are more taxing than read cycles. NAND storage devices have a limited number of write cycles
 

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Haydon

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I wonder if zeroing the drive could provide an additional layer of protection when donating or returning a computer. Another way could be encrypting the drive. BitLocker, for example, could be set to encrypt only the used part of the drive, minimizing impact (then do the clean install or factory reset)
 

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spapakons

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If you lock the drive the next owner won't be able to format it or install Windows. I once had a locked Samsung SSD I couldn't unlock no matter what, do I did a support ticket and returned to Samsung who replaced it with a brand new!
 

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CountMike

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I wonder if zeroing the drive could provide an additional layer of protection when donating or returning a computer. Another way could be encrypting the drive. BitLocker, for example, could be set to encrypt only the used part of the drive, minimizing impact (then do the clean install or factory reset)
Best to encrypt and than zero it.
 

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sourcecode

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Zero fill uses at least as much writes as disk's capacity, shortening it's life by that much, probably even much more because cells with data on them have to be erased first to write anything, even zeros to them. Unless you are selling or giving it away so no data can be retrieved (although even that is questionable) there's no need for zeroing.

What is insecure by downloading ISO from MS directly or using MCT which is also from MS ?
IZeroing the drive and do a full format is overkill and unnecessary, unless you have something to hide and do not want even forensic scan to find out (you wish). It is a digital medium, not an old analog cassette that if not thoroughly erased properly can cause interference with the data! Yes, back in the 80's if a cassette wasn't properly erased before recording new data you could have issues. Today is 2022, cassettes are no longer used, at least in computing.
Most of this is circular. It takes roughly 5min to zero a 1TB NVMe using Active@Killdisk basic wipe. It is not the most comprehensive grade wipe available, but it is an actual real wipe. Typical methods of deleting are not real wipes.

I have explained what is insecure. And it has nothing to do with your question. Considering the MCT or ISO can be used to directly create an installer on a separate system (or same system prior to wiping) with no other need for anything else.

If you feel Windows is an insecure OS, why use it in the first place?
This is simply an absolutely absurd and illogical question as if one has to do with the other. First of all, you're the one claiming it is insecure with no sort of relativity on what that means. Second of all, regardless of how secure or insecure, it does not change any factor it is being weighed against in regards to justification for usage. So who even knows what you are talking about? Definitely not yourself unless you can explain the question. As it makes completely zero sense.
 

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CountMike

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) don't understand why such push for zero fill in situations where it's not necessary like clean OS installation or (factory) reset obliterates FAT/GPT table and makes data inaccessible to all but deepest forensics and even that is hampered with SSDs because data is scattered all over the place so anything looking for it would have hard time to put it back together even if it could find all or any parts That makes data salvage much more difficult to impossible comparing to HDDs. Part of and eventually all deleted data will be zeroed by Garbage Collection built in firmware. Some older SSDs may not have GC in FW but they are practically extinct. Trim, built in FW and modern OS is also one of triggers for GC.
As opposite to volatile memory (like RAM) where every transistor is NO (Normally Open) switch when no voltage/current means 0, non-volatile memory (like EEPROM) has two states, Open=0 and Closed=1 and has to be forced to either state by applying power, closest analogy would be push on - push off switch on a lamp.
 

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sourcecode

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What can we do to wipe the drive completely clean if the BIOS (UEFI) does not have this capability?
Just to get back to your question here as I recently ended up having no choice, but to use an external tool to wipe a drive.

I created directions on it here:
 

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Haydon

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@sourcecode It would be nice if you could do a similar writeup for wiping the drive with BIOS (UEFI)

@CountMike It is free info on the Internet, why not have it with the usual caveats.
 

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spapakons

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Since I still don't get it and I don't have the time to read all your posts again, please explain in simple terms why we must wipe the disk and not just delete all partitions and proceed. Most of us here say it is not vital. Why you think it is? We find it paranoid to wipe the drive before each installation.
 

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    2x Kingston Hyper-X Blu 8GB DDR3-1600
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    Patriot Burst Elite 480GB SSD as system disk, Western Digital Caviar Purple 4TB SATA III (WD40PURZ) as second
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Winuser

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I wonder if zeroing the drive could provide an additional layer of protection when donating or returning a computer. Another way could be encrypting the drive. BitLocker, for example, could be set to encrypt only the used part of the drive, minimizing impact (then do the clean install or factory reset)
For the average home user, unless they have something to hide from the authorities, deleting all partitions when doing a clean install is all that's needed.
 

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AddRAM

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Agreed :D There is no reason to wipe a drive you are using to reinstall windows on, the installer will format the install partition or drive.
If you are going to sell or give away your PC, just keep your windows drive.
 
Last edited:

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NavyLCDR

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I just can't imagine any reason at all to zero an entire drive, ESPECIALLY an SSD which WILL shorten its life, simply to re-install the OS for one's personal own use.
 

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Haydon

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Well, I am an average homeowner but I still do not want the NSA to be able to snoop around and about me without me spending $ on a new drive when I decide to donate or return a computer, for example.

It is also a test of the strength of info tossed up around here and I'd like to encourage @sourcecode to respond (y) and I'd like to encourage us all to listen (y) (all within reason of course)
 

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Winuser

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Well, I am an average homeowner but I still do not want the NSA to be able to snoop around and about me without me spending $ on a new drive when I decide to donate or return a computer, for example.

It is also a test of the strength of info tossed up around here and I'd like to encourage @sourcecode to respond (y) and I'd like to encourage us all to listen (y) (all within reason of course)
Why would the NSA want to look at your drive? Unless they suspect you're involved in some sort of illegal activity they couldn't care less.
 

My Computers

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  • OS
    Windows 11
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    PC/Desktop
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    PowerSpec B746
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-10700K
    Motherboard
    ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming 4/ax
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    16GB (8GB PC4-19200 DDR4 SDRAM x2)
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 TI
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    Realtek Audio
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    Samsung SAM0A87 Samsung SAM0D32
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
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    NVMe WDC WDS100T2B0C-00PXH0 1TB
    Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB
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    750 Watts (62.5A)
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    PowerSpec/Lian Li ATX 205
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    Logitech K270
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    Logitech M185
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    Microsoft Edge and Firefox
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    ESET Internet Security
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    HP Envy x360 15-ds1083cl
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    AMD Ryzen 7 4700U 2.0GHZ
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    16 MB DDR 4-2666
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    AMD Radeon
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    15.6"
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    1920x1080
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    PCIe NVMe M.2 512GB
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    ESET Internet Security
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