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How to clean HDD from Windows?


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Hi guys,

in the past I did install Windows 10 on diffrent HDDs I was using / testing till I was using and installing Windows on a M2 card.Ok so far, now I have a HDD left with installed Windows I don't need anymore on it and would like to remove all Window files manually if possible without to format the HDD.My question is how to manage this in best way and what folder / files (also hidden etc) can I remove or need any CMD commands to execute etc?Below a list of folders / files I can see on this HDD from Windows without my own folders.

Dokumente und Einstellungen (lnk)
Programme  (lnk)
System Volume Information

I think I can't select them all and delete them easily right?Maybe you can tell me how I can do that "safe" without to get any trouble issues later etc or loosing access on this HDD or loose own files on it.Thank you.


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If it is a slave drive you are going to use for storage then you do not need to keep any files

Either select all & delete or format, as long as you leave the partitions intact then it will be accessible as is, however it might be worth checking your partitions to see if there is a Windows recovery partition which you could re-allocate for storage


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If the HDD is on a different PC you can try with Hirens boot and if is Win7 i remember i wiped manual system files with the own cd of Win7 which has a utility to manage file explorer without running windows and able to delete anything you want.

Edited by Top10
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Hi guys,

yes its just a storage HDD I dont need to use anymore the Windows and all files anymore.Just wanna remove all stuff I dont need anymore to get free space back.

Ok I tried to select and delete folders but I get some error message about rights (trustinstaller etc).Uhhmmm!After some internet checking I found a method to change rights on folders (just added one "Jeder") and now I can delete that folder.Problem now is it seems I have to do this for every folder in Programme folder!?When I try same with the Programme folder then I get new errors.Is there any method just to delete that normaly without that rights stuff etc?


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Why not reverse the scenario and ask yourself what it is you want to keep. Then back that up that data somewhere and format the drive.


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Yes exactly you should always have a good efficient organization system for your files.

Documents and source code should even be backed up in a repo or the cloud.  Downloads which are not personal and can be regotten should be put in a location you can curate from time to time.  Of course certain items which might not be redownload able might need a more permanent backed up place.  Apps or libraries can go somewhere easily disposable.

Organization is key.  It will save you from data loss and from difficulty with migrations.

Usually you can delete all the files in the root folder, program files and windows folder usually are not important just application files.  Program data would have hardly anything worth backing up maybe some settings for frequently used apps you would have to reconfigure.  Users folder has almost everything relevant especially check desktop, downloads and documents folders.  But anything in the root user profile folder or appdata could have useful settings.

A trick I do is install TreeSize and check cumulative folder sizes that are large anywhere.  This way I can free up the space if I see temporary or cached files.  Or I can avoid large data loss by knowing where significant amounts of data lay.  So the general advice, but also some practical tips.

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Hi guys,

so I did delete now all folders on that HDD which belongs to WIndows or are not from me.Has taken few hours to change the access rights for diffrent folder seperatly (really sucks). :( Anyway, the files are finaly gone now and all seems to work same as before too (got no trouble - yeah). :) So to format the HDD would be the best of course but I am also pretty backup lazy (in the past I used USB sticks but got broken / CRC what was pretty bad).Otherwise I store files on USB HDD (got no trouble yet with them) but I don't wanna have such HDD connected the whole time or do connect offten you know.So I am no expert how to backup / save files regularly.Just do it sometimes via connect / copy / paste / disconnect / done.Just can hope that the HDD itself dosen't get broken.But all in all nothing is safe.


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