Windows 10: Factory Reset leaves traces of previous users

  1.    12 Jul 2018 #1

    Factory Reset leaves traces of previous users


    I did a full Windows 10 Reset and loaned my machine to a Polish friend. When he returned it to me, I did a Full Windows reset including wiping the drive.

    When the machine finished the reset process, the first Windows 10 setup screen offered me English or Polski(Polish) as a language selection.

    There are files relating to the Polish language (and other traces of his activity) in the %WINDIR%\System32\oobe directory and in the registry hkey_user entries.

    How do I erase all traces of previous users?
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  2. Posts : 1,381
    W10 pro x64 and W8.1 x86
       12 Jul 2018 #2

    I'm sure someone will ask this as its important.

    Did you do a 'Factory Reset' or a Windows Reset ? A factory reset consists of restoring the PC from a hidden partition provided by the manufacturer and it is usually run by pressing a combination of keys at boot. That takes the PC back to 'as new' and 'out of the box' state.

    A Windows Reset is purely under control of the operating system and reinstalls W10 but allows options to keep your files.

    They are two very different things.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    12 Jul 2018 #3

    Thanks for your response.

    The reset process was as follows:

    1.Press and hold the Power key for 5 seconds to power the system off completely.
    2.Press the Power key to turn on the computer.
    3.Press the Alt and F10 keys at the same time as soon as you have pressed the Power button. Your system should boot to a blue screen that says Choose an option.
    4.Select Troubleshoot.
    5.Click Reset your PC.
    6.Click Next, then select clean the drive fully.
    7.Click Reset to begin the reset.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 15,048
    Windows 10 Pro
       12 Jul 2018 #4

    Resetting Windows 10 removes all installed software and user profiles, restoring Windows system. Language packs are system files and will not be removed when you reset Windows.

    Most probably your Polish friend had installed Polish language pack to be able to use Windows in his native language. When computer now after reset boots to OOBE, simply select English and continue Windows Setup. When on desktop, remove Polish language in Settings > Time & Language > Language, and you are done.

    To get a screenshot for this post, I just did a reset on a virtual machine which runs UK English Windows 10 and has Swedish language pack installed. When reset is done, I can select in which language to setup Windows. If I want to continue using Windows in English, I just select it and continue setup:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    (Svenska = Swedish, Sverige = Sweden)


    Short: no worries. Select English, finish Windows Setup, remove Polish language pack. His user account and files will not be there.

    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    12 Jul 2018 #5

    Thanks for this.

    Regretfully, no additional language packs appear to be installed:

    Click image for larger version. 

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      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 15,048
    Windows 10 Pro
       12 Jul 2018 #6

    Bluehorizon said: View Post
    Regretfully, no additional language packs appear to be installed:
    That is weird, but OK, nothing to regret. You should be good to go, just check that C:\Users only contains profile folders for you and Public, plus the hidden Default user profile. Your Polish friend's folder shouldn't be there.

    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    12 Jul 2018 #7

    Here are a couple of interesting screenshots (The machine was reset again this morning using the method above):

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	195430
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 15,048
    Windows 10 Pro
       12 Jul 2018 #8

    The second screenshot shows your friend had Polish language added (folder pl-PL) but most probably uninstalled the language pack before returning computer to you.

    It is completely safe to remove that pl-PL folder.

    Registry: I'll bet that one of those SIDs starting with S-1-5-21-277... ends with -1001, and the other -1001_Classes. If so, the computer only has one user profile (yours) and you really are good to go and can stop worrying.

    If any doubts, simply perform a clean install.

    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 

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