Eraser identified in causing known XP bug to show up



I have been using 5.3 of Eraser for sometime and have had it working very successfully erasing on a schedule each night.

However three or four days ago my machine started running very sluggish and on reboot reported that NTLDR could not be found (XP Pro).

I traced this to 200,000+ 1kb files in the root directory. Apparently when this many files are placed in the root directory NTLDR is shunted to another "location" and is "lost". I found this as a known MS bug and got a fix program from them which cured the NTLDR problem. I then deleted the 200,000+ files via the command line.

I thought this was a virus or trojan (I have detection in operation), but could find nothing.

The following morning Eraser was still running (7 hours+ when it usually takes much less), and I traced it's process placing 1kb files in the root directory like crazy. These are all in an 8 character file length and various 3 character extensions (e.g. 0IEC9UAH.ENF). They are also hidden so you need to do the attrib command at the command line to unhide them - this is far quicker as the number of files means that accessing them via windows explorer is *very* slow.

I also found that this morning Eraser had created a new folder called ~ERAFSWD.TMP with over 200,000 files in it. On killing the process the files stopped and I was able to tidy up.

I plan to try Eraser again manually and watch it like a hawk, but I don't think I can trust it again. Incidently I have been using this particular program downloaded from for over 12 months with no problems.

I do not expect an answer to this problem, unless the Eraser guys can give me some(!), but I hope it will help anyone similarly affected to retreieve their system without a rebuild especially if they think a virus got through their AV program. FWIW I use ZoneAlarm AV and Firewall.


Staff member
The latest version of Eraser is 5.7 and downloadable from our site at
Incidentally it works with XP on freespace erase, which the older versions don't do.

When Eraser erases, it starts to create these temporary files that you mention - that's the way it's supposed to work. It deletes them at the end, but if it is teminated all these files will be seen in ~ERAFSWD.TMP (hidden folder). Erasing it will get your diskspace back.




Thanks for this. I didn't think of that.

I will upgrade, I have meaning to for while!

Thanks again.