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Wiping with Eraser

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CraigS
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Wiping with Eraser

I tried to wipe free space with Eraser.

Information:
Statistics:
Erased area = 0 bytes
Cluster tips = 0 bytes
Data written = 0 bytes
Write time = 0.00 s
Failures:
Error: Erasing the Free Space of a drive requires elevation
Error: Erasing the Free Space of a drive requires elevation

What does that mean? I already have administrative privileges on Windows 10.

John T. Haller
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Run as Admin

Run the app as Admin. In the platform right click and select run as Admin or do the equivalent in explorer

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

CraigS
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Thanks. That got it to run

Thanks. That got it to run and I learned something.

I tried wiping the free space on a flash drive. Unfortunately, it trashed the drive. Fortunately, I did not lose anything important.

So I won't be using Eraser again unless I can understand why this happened and have some reason to think it won't happen again.

My only thought is that when I saw that the process would take about an hour I went away and left the computer. When I came back the computer was sleeping. The thought occurs to me that perhaps the computer timed out and went to sleep before Eraser was finished even though it was still running and that caused the problem.

What do you think?

CraigS
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I repeated the experiment,

I repeated the experiment, taking care not to let the computer sleep while Eraser was working, It, again, left the flash drive in an unusable state. Most of the drive is now occupied by a hidden, read only folder of garbage files. And the drive itself is now set to be read only so it is impossible to fix or reformat the drive (in Windows 10).

I see no way that Eraser can safely be used to wipe free space.

Any ideas would be appreciated.

John T. Haller
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Overheating Drive

The way Eraser works when wiping free space is to fill up the drive with random bits and then delete them. That way it bypasses any wear-leveling to ensure all the free space is cleaned. Unfortunately, consistent writing of that much data can cause some USB drives to fail, usually due to overheating. You may find that after you set the drive aside for a bit and use it it will be able to format again.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

CraigS
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I did not note that the drive

I did not note that the drive was warm. In any case, waiting did not cause it to change.

Once the drive is set to "read only" it cannot be formatted (with Windows 10).

Whatever Eraser is doing, it is failing in a very dangerous way.

What is the difference between Eraser and EraserDrop? Are they identical in function?

John T. Haller
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Drive Issue

If your drive is no longer format-able at all, then the drive likely overheated and broke. This is a flaw in the drive itself. Any 'wipe' utility will work the same way, so it isn't something specific to Eraser at all.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

CraigS
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It is not that it is "no

It is not that it is "no longer format-able at all." It's that it can't be formatted with Windows 10 after Eraser leaves it in read only mode. I have to take it to another computer to reformat it. Then Windows 10 will recognize it again. [I don't understand exactly how this works. Apparently, Eraser sets something in the drive to make it "read only." This makes it unusable by Windows 10 and there is no way in Windows 10 to change that condition. I think there is some disk partitioning utility I could run from the command line that will fix it. But I am more comfortable just taking it to a different computer that will let me reformat the drive.]

Perhaps this behavior of Windows 10 is the reason Eraser fails. Once the drive is set to read only it can't be changed back using Windows 10. Then when Eraser tries to do so to erase all the space filling files it has created it can't.

If another wipe utility did not set the drive to read only mode (why would that be necessary?) then it might not fail like Eraser does.

AlexMail
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Try this alternative solution...

Eraser is not designed to completely wipe flash drive. Read-only means the full wipe is not completed correctly. If your purpose is to sanitize the flash drive, I would recommend to encrypt the whole flash drive and "throw away" the encryption password.

CraigS
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Wouldn't that be equivalent

Wouldn't that be equivalent to reformatting the drive?

I didn't want to wipe the whole drive. I just wanted to wipe the free space on the USB and keep the data stored on the drive.

Since Eraser made it necessary to reformat the whole drive to restore usability it destroyed all my data. Trying to use Eraser was a catastrophic failure. Fortunately, I was just running a test and didn't lose anything important. However, now I don't dare use Eraser on any other drive since I have no confidence that it will not ruin it.

BillB
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Wiping with Eraser - "Elevation"

This refers to UAC in WIN10 or similar MS O/S - i.e. User Access Control.
You gotta' go to: Control Panel | Administrative Tools | System Configuration | Tools | Change UAC Settings - Press the "Launch" button.
Move the slider down to "Never notify" at the bottom. This turns off the block, implementing the "Elevation". After you are done wiping the disk, It is HIGHLY recommended you return the slider to the original setting to obtain continue protection against disaster.

That is Part 1. Now, in my experience, this did not fix Eraser. However it DID fix a competitive free disk eraser, Disk Scrubber 3.3 by Summit Computer Networks.

So Part 2 is that I would like to report a potential bug in the Eraser version in Portable Apps. The release of UAC SHOULD have fixed Eraser as well.

It would be good if someone could verify this problem in the version of Eraser on PortableApps.com. Maybe PortableApps.com could add Disk Scrubber to their suite of Security Software since it seems to work fine.

--BB

CraigS
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File Shredder seems to be a

File Shredder seems to be a simple utility that works well and does not suffer from the dangerous problems that Eraser has.

http://www.fileshredder.org/

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