Illegal characters in path during erasing unused disk space

eus

New Member
Hello. I installed Eraser 6.0.9.2343

I want to erase unused disk space on my flash drive 16Gb FAT32. During erasing I got the error: "Illegal characters in path". What is the problem and how to solve it?

I made screenshots(see attachment) of TC after this error and found on my drive many files with possibly "illegal" characters. Before erasing, my disk was clear(no files on it), that's why these are eraser's files. Why does eraser use these illegal characters instead of letters and digits for example?
 

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DavidHB

Active Member
Re: Illegal characters in path during erasing unused disk sp

Well, I can pretty well guess what is happening, and Eraser does provide a solution to the problem, but I don't really know why the problem should occur on your machine and not on others. It may have something to do with language settings or the use of Unicode, but I'm guessing; Joel may have a better answer.

To take your last question first, Eraser by default uses randomly named files for erasing so that they cannot be traced back with certainty to the erasing process. Fair enough in one way, but those file names stick out like a sore thumb; no file names generated by humans look like that. So Eraser provides another free space erasing scheme to provide 'plausible deniability'. You can find this in the settings pane. The Eraser Manual explains how you use this setting.

By selecting this scheme, you can select a set of files or folders on your system that can be used to overwrite free space. The files and folders themselves will remain unchanged, but they will be repeatedly copied to the free space until it is full, and then the copies will be deleted. In that way, the free space is all over-written, and in effect erased. As the overwriting files are already on yours system, there should be no file naming problems.

David
 

eus

New Member
Re: Illegal characters in path during erasing unused disk sp

DavidHB said:
To take your last question first, Eraser by default uses randomly named files for erasing so that they cannot be traced back with certainty to the erasing process. Fair enough in one way, but those file names stick out like a sore thumb; no file names generated by humans look like that.
For me, it doesn't matter if somebody will know that there were files. The main aim is that they should be all erased, all contents must be safely erased. For me it is enough. Maybe Joel will add this optional functionality: 2 options of erasing of unused free space?

DavidHB said:
So Eraser provides another free space erasing scheme to provide 'plausible deniability'. You can find this in the settings pane. The Eraser Manual explains how you use this setting. By selecting this scheme, you can select a set of files or folders on your system that can be used to overwrite free space. The files and folders themselves will remain unchanged, but they will be repeatedly copied to the free space until it is full, and then the copies will be deleted. In that way, the free space is all over-written, and in effect erased. As the overwriting files are already on yours system, there should be no file naming problems.
I changed settings as you advised me and ran a new task but Eraser still makes the files about 200Mb and they are not named as the replaced file. Seems to be this option is not for the erasing of unused disk space but only for erasing files.
 

eus

New Member
Re: Illegal characters in path during erasing unused disk sp

With another free space erasing scheme that provide 'plausible deniability' the same problem: "Illegal characters in path".
The problem still exists!
 

DavidHB

Active Member
Re: Illegal characters in path during erasing unused disk sp

Certainly, on any machine on which I have tested Eraser (and it's now quite a few), I have never seen this problem. But, of course, all of my machines have English language settings. There is a possibility that something is wrong with your .NET installation, but that's just another guess.

I'm very sorry, but I shall have to leave this one for Joel (who is at present, I think, using what time he has for Eraser to finalise Version 6.0.10, so may not be on the forum every day).

David
 

Joel

Active Member
Re: Illegal characters in path during erasing unused disk sp

I'm quite certain that if you disable cluster tip erasure the error wouldn't manifest.

Anyway, do you use this flash drive on other computers not running Windows (notably Linux) -- they could have made a few file names which Windows doesn't like. If you still don't, then is there a lot of data on the drive? If so, you can try moving data off to another drive and repeating the erase (with cluster tip erasure on) until you find the folder causing the error. It'll then be great if you could list the file names of the files in that folder (a helpful tool, if you are familiar with the command prompt, is tree /f).
 

eus

New Member
Re: Illegal characters in path during erasing unused disk sp

I don't understand how Eraser works.

I have no files on my drive. Just before it was formatted. What about cluster tips do you speak?
But when I run the task unknown files and folders with illegal characters appear.
Eraser makes these files itself and reports about error :)! It is very strangely, Do you disagree?

If there are no files on my disk, there are no any cluster tips, so if Eraser with checkbox "Erase cluster tips" tried to do it this is a BUG of the program. Nothing more. And it is very bad because now I very much doubt to trust Eraser operation with important and sensitive information.
 

DavidHB

Active Member
Re: Illegal characters in path during erasing unused disk sp

Let me be clear. I have on dozens of occasions tested Eraser (both file/folder and free space erasing) and then used a file recovery tool (typically, but not always, Recuva) to attempt to find and discover erased material. On no occasion have I found evidence that Eraser has failed to erase what it has been instructed to erase, when the task has been logged as completed (in the 6.0 versions, this means that the log is blank or only contains messages not relevant to erasing). If anyone were to find such evidence, the Eraser Team would want to know about it, soonest.

This means that, once Eraser tells you that a file is erased, you cannot recover it. I believe you can rely on that, with one important exception, which I discuss below.

To return to your problem, if Eraser logs messages related to cluster tips, there are files on your drive, even if they are hidden from Explorer. I have noticed that you are trying to erase a flash drive. It is well documented (for example in several FAQ topics on this forum) that conventional file/folder erasing will not work on flash drives and SSDs, or rather that it does work but its effect is nullified by the wear levelling systems on these drives. Free space erasing (which fills the whole drive) does work. The best method of erasing a complete drive is to quick format it, and then run a free space erase. If that is what you want to do, try that procedudure and come back if you still get problems.

David
 

eus

New Member
Re: Illegal characters in path during erasing unused disk sp

DavidHB said:
he best method of erasing a complete drive is to quick format it, and then run a free space erase.
eus said:
I have no files on my drive. Just before it was formatted.
 

DavidHB

Active Member
Re: Illegal characters in path during erasing unused disk sp

eus said:
DavidHB said:
he best method of erasing a complete drive is to quick format it, and then run a free space erase.
eus said:
I have no files on my drive. Just before it was formatted.
Just so. The way you did it is the opposite to what I described.

David
 
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