I'm Confused...

Nickerz

New Member
I’m just trying to erase everything, everything off my old laptop before I hand it over to a friend. The laptop is running XP Pro (SP3) and when I open the program, I don’t see an option to erase everything. Here are the steps I took…

1.) Clicked on “Erase Schedule”
2.) Selected “New Task”
3.) Dialog box appears, under the “Task” tab, I selected “Run Immediately”
4.) Clicked on the button “Add Data” – THIS IS THE PART I’M CONFUSED ABOUT!
5.) Dialog box appears (see attached pic)

...so according to the pic, it appears I can only select files/folders to delete, one by one. Is this true? The 3rd radio button down says “Unused disk space” – so I’m assuming this is going to delete data (if any) that my computer isn’t using, like a disk cleanup utility? Or is this in fact what I need to select to erase my laptop?

Sorry if I’m missing something obvious but like I said, I thought this program was going to wipe everything off my laptop in one step.

Please help!
 

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DavidHB

Active Member
First, you can't erase everything on the system drive. Eraser needs Windows to run, so you can't erase the Windows system.

Ways round this problem are described in the most recent (at the time of writing) post on this thread. But before you go there, go to the FAQ (link below), and read the topic on Getting to Know Eraser 6. That should serve to enlighten you as to how you can erase many files and folders in one go without even opening the Eraser program.

David
 

Nickerz

New Member
DavidHB said:
First, you can't erase everything on the system drive. Eraser needs Windows to run, so you can't erase the Windows system.

Ways round this problem are described in the most recent (at the time of writing) post on this thread. But before you go there, go to the FAQ (link below), and read the topic on Getting to Know Eraser 6. That should serve to enlighten you as to how you can erase many files and folders in one go without even opening the Eraser program.

David
Thank you for your prompt reply David!

I read through some of the info you linked, and the FAQ’s put me on the right track. So I ended up testing the method of using Windows Explorer and right clicked one folder to delete. It ran the task but “completed with errors”. So I opened the log viewer to find that every file in the folder I tried deleting said...

“…could not be erased because the file was either compressed, encrypted or a sparse file.”

None of the files are compressed and none are encrypted and I don’t know what a “sparse” file is but these were pretty basic files on my computer.

I got the same result when I tried dragging and dropping the folder into the recycle bin by the way. However, I created a new word doc and saved it to my desktop and Eraser managed to delete this! So I'm hoping I can resolve my issue I'm having with the real files/folders I need to desprately delete.

Please help.

***EDIT***

Okay, so I did a search on "sparse file" and found a thread that stated Eraser has a bug and won't erase files that sitll may be compressed or encrypted. So it seems this won't work for me. Arrrg.

Then I attempted to download the newest build (6.0.7) as I have 6.0.6 and I'm hoping this will solve my problem. When I downloaded it, selected "run" and it gave me 3 options...

1.) Change (change the way it is installed)
2.) Repair (I selected this option)
3.) Remove

...it showed it installed the most recent version of Eraser and prompted me to restart, so I did. - Please, please work...just work!

Where is the "EASY" button when you need one! lol!
 

Nickerz

New Member
NOPE - didn't work. Same dumb problem.


Well, here goes my RANT!

If Windows along with just about EVERYONE else knows that you can't erase data off your computer through a stupid, simple format of the hard drive, then WHY in the world wouldn't WINDOWS...not beta testers (who mean well but don't get the simple task of D E L E T I N G stuff off your darn PC done) create something that WILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL remove data that is NOT retrievable!!!!!!!???????????????? :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

Talk about WASTING MY TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :evil: And why is this site SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SlllllllllllllllllOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW!@!!!!!!!!!!!!?

Shakes his head...
Wow...okay, I'm back. What just happened? Seems kinda warm in here, maybe I'll go lay down and hope I can get Eraser to work tomorrow. Everyone keep at it and smoke if ya got 'em. :oops:
 

DavidHB

Active Member
Gently does it! We have no means of dealing with coronaries on the forum. And the Eraser manual does explain the issue pretty fully.

The facility for dealing with compressed and encrypted and sparse files was deliberately removed as a safety feature; Eraser 5 could cause file corruption with these files. Joel has plans to re-instate the capability, but that will require a lot of work. Also, it is important to know that the files in question are those that are compressed (or whatever) by the file system. Your ordinary .zip, .rar, .7z or whatever files are not compressed in this sense.

The main reason why users encounter the Eraser error is that the drive has been set to compress files to save space. If this is your issue, you now know that the compression comes at a cost. It is reversible, if there is enough space on the drive.

At the moment, the best workaround is to delete the files in Windows, and then erase free space. Because of the time it takes to erase free space, this is less than ideal. But it can be done from time to time.

David
 

Nickerz

New Member
DavidHB said:
...The main reason why users encounter the Eraser error is that the drive has been set to compress files to save space. If this is your issue, you now know that the compression comes at a cost. It is reversible, if there is enough space on the drive.

At the moment, the best workaround is to delete the files in Windows, and then erase free space. Because of the time it takes to erase free space, this is less than ideal. But it can be done from time to time.

David

So it sounds like my two options at this point is to:

1. Reverse the compression feature. Do you have steps how to do this? How do I confirm this is in fact happening to every file I save?

2. Delete files in Windows, then run the "Unused Disk Space" erasure, right? So deleting files in windows is simply choosing a file and pressing delete.
 

DavidHB

Active Member
Nickerz said:
1. Reverse the compression feature. Do you have steps how to do this? How do I confirm this is in fact happening to every file I save?
Compression is set in a check box towards the bottom of the drive properties box, accessed by right-clicking on the drive in (My) Computer, and selecting properties. If the check box is ticked, the drive is using compression. If not, that's not your problem. Untick the box to disable compression; as far as I know (I've never had to try it), the files are immediately uncompressed. Note that this is not a sensible thing to do if the drive is already more than, say, two thirds full. In that event, it's really time to fit a bigger drive.

Nickerz said:
2. Delete files in Windows, then run the "Unused Disk Space" erasure, right? So deleting files in windows is simply choosing a file and pressing delete.
Yes, but the file then goes into the Recycle Bin (if you press Ctrl+Delete, the files are deleted immediately). You can try Erasing the contents of the Recycle Bin, but you may get the same problem, in which case you will need to empty the Bin before erasing free space.

David
 

Nickerz

New Member
DavidHB said:
Nickerz said:
1. Reverse the compression feature. Do you have steps how to do this? How do I confirm this is in fact happening to every file I save?
Compression is set in a check box towards the bottom of the drive properties box, accessed by right-clicking on the drive in (My) Computer, and selecting properties. If the check box is ticked, the drive is using compression. If not, that's not your problem. Untick the box to disable compression; as far as I know (I've never had to try it), the files are immediately uncompressed. Note that this is not a sensible thing to do if the drive is already more than, say, two thirds full. In that event, it's really time to fit a bigger drive.

Nickerz said:
2. Delete files in Windows, then run the "Unused Disk Space" erasure, right? So deleting files in windows is simply choosing a file and pressing delete.
Yes, but the file then goes into the Recycle Bin (if you press Ctrl+Delete, the files are deleted immediately). You can try Erasing the contents of the Recycle Bin, but you may get the same problem, in which case you will need to empty the Bin before erasing free space.

David

Thanks again David!

Another question...

If I remove programs (via Add/Remove Programs in XP Pro SP3) from my PC, is this as good as gone or is there another step I need to take with Eraser that will permanently delete these programs and the contents of them (i.e. Outlook - since there are so many emails that I wouldn't want anyone to recover, etc.) from my PC?
 

DavidHB

Active Member
Nickerz said:
If I remove programs (via Add/Remove Programs in XP Pro SP3) from my PC, is this as good as gone or is there another step I need to take with Eraser that will permanently delete these programs and the contents of them (i.e. Outlook - since there are so many emails that I wouldn't want anyone to recover, etc.) from my PC?
When you uninstall programs, the files are deleted, not erased, and so can be recovered. Mostly this is not a problem.

When you uninstall Outlook, Outlook Express or pretty much any other mail program, the message store will not be deleted, and so must be separately found and erased for privacy. If you really want to erase all your emails permanently, I suggest that you search the web for a page giving details of the location of your email store (it varies from program to program and between versions of Windows). Erase the files/folders (there may be more than one) which comprise the store.

David
 

Bonez0r

New Member
If you just want to erase the whole OS drive, maybe using DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke) is an idea. There's a section here on this forum for DBAN support, here.

The DBAN site itself can be found here.

This is what it says in the "about" section:
About DBAN

Darik's Boot and Nuke ("DBAN") is a self-contained boot disk that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction.

DBAN is a means of ensuring due diligence in computer recycling, a way of preventing identity theft if you want to sell a computer, and a good way to totally clean a Microsoft Windows installation of viruses and spyware. DBAN prevents or thoroughly hinders all known techniques of hard disk forensic analysis.

DBAN is a free software product that can be used at home or in a business at zero cost. The only official place to obtain DBAN is by download at this web site. We do not sell DBAN media.
 

DavidHB

Active Member
DBAN is (from experience on the small number of occasions I have had to use it) very good at what it does. But, as it contains its own small OS and has not been updated for (I think) four years, it does not work with all modern hardware. And it is really only for those occasions when one wants to erase the whole of the system.

David
 

tennguy

New Member
After many attempts to use Eraser, I think I'll go to plan B: The sledgehammer.
 

Nickerz

New Member
Thank you for sharing the info on Dban! This sounds like what I need!

I was also looking at some other programs that would work like Eraser but actually work. I did a google search and found this http://www.squidoo.com/erase-computer-history

So then I looked at the top 2 of the 4 programs in that link...

1.) Privacy Control:
It's #1 but didn't have any live support like chat when I had some questions, so then I moved on to #2...

2.) EvidenceEraser:
They have 24/7 chat but when I tried going to their website, my browser said it was dangerous. I asked the chat rep about this and they were not helping, they said they were legit and to try back in a few hours, but I did but it still didn't work. I waited a few days in fact, still couldn't visit their site. Another person told me they probably have spyware and malware in their program. When I pressed the chat rep again about them being legit, they kept asking me to buy and gave me a link...which didn't work. So I'm really suspicious of both of these.

Looks like I'll try Dban unless anyone else has any other programs that I can BUY or get FREE but at this point, I need to wipe the entire PC before I hand it over. ASAP!!!!!!!!! Anyone got more suggestions within the hour or so as I'll be up late tonight and it's only 8:26pm PST right now on Tuesday.
 

Nickerz

New Member
Also!

If I use Dban, will I have the OS (XP Pro) still on the PC at least? It came preinstalled and I don't have any disc.
 

DavidHB

Active Member
Nickerz said:
If I use Dban, will I have the OS (XP Pro) still on the PC at least? It came preinstalled and I don't have any disc.
No. DBAN wipes everything.

If your machine is a laptop (this is also true of some branded desktops), there may well be a recovery partition, together with a utility to restore the machine to factory condition (including drivers etc.). This will format the drive as part of the process; if, after the recovery, you install Eraser and run a free space erase, this should give you what you want.

David
 

Bonez0r

New Member
Ah yes, sorry. I was under the impression that you wanted to wipe *everything* on the drive. I assumed that included the OS. As David said, don't use DBAN if you want to keep anything, like Windows or any other OS.
 

Nickerz

New Member
David,

Yes, it is a laptop (HP but it's 5-6 years old). Is there a way to know for sure if it has a "restore to factory settings" utility after I use Dban?

This would be the ideal solution!

Thanks!
 

DavidHB

Active Member
You should find the HP documentation online. There may be a utility to create a bootable restore disk. You can, I believe ensure that your restore partition is left alone when using DBAN, but use it only with great care, and having created backups and external recovery media first.

David
 

Joel

Active Member
Be careful that DBAN doesn't wipe the partition containing your system recovery information... that's almost happened a few times for me.
 

DavidHB

Active Member
Joel said:
Be careful that DBAN doesn't wipe the partition containing your system recovery information... that's almost happened a few times for me.
Which reinforces my point.

David
 
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