XP hangs at what looks to be 98 percent left wipe free space

JRunner01

New Member
Hi...

I ran into an issue while trying to wipe the free space on an XP SP3 machine. The hard drive is about 120 gig and I would say only about 40 to 45 gig of it was full, rest empty. I started the manual job (35 passes) on Sunday evening around 11pm EST and it was still running by Thursday 8 AM EST when I killed the job. It had been on what appeared to be 98 % completion, two bars away from full progress bar, for a full 24 hrs which led me to believe it was hung. I do run Bitdefender Total Security suite which I am not sure if it had anything to do with this issue. Has anyone seen this happen before with XP?

If it was the Bitdefender software causing the issue, i guess one would think to try the same job with it off, disabled, but thats not always an option in some systems, like where IT doesnt allow you to disable the security suite. The eraser software I would think should be able to handle these scenarios as they are pretty much software on all windows systems.

Thanks in advance...
 

DavidHB

Active Member
Re: XP hangs at what looks to be 98 percent left wipe free s

There are several possible causes of this. The most obvious one is that the task is really taking that long. I'm not sure that the progress bar is necessarily all that accurate (Joel may wish to comment), but what is sure is that the limiting factor in a free space erase is hard drive performance, and that a 35 pass erase takes (pretty much) 35 times as long to complete as a single pass.

Your drive is, presumably, a few years old, and disks have become a bit quicker in the intervening period. Also, leaving Bitdefender (or any other security program) active during a free space erase can slow things down, especially on a slower machine. And Eraser would have to work a bit harder to erase the last bits of free space if the drive is very fragmented. But, in the absence of other evidence, I'd say that the chances are that using 35 pass erasing, rather than the default single pass, is the most likely cause of your problem.

The Gutmann 35 pass method was designed to deal with traces left as a result of tracking inaccuracies in the MFM and RLL drives that were in use before IDE and its successors became universal. Current thinking is that, on today's drives, a single pass erase is sufficient to put the erased data beyond recovery. That is particularly true in the case of a free space erase, which also clears the unused file table entries, so it is virtually impossible to know what has been overwritten.

Try running the erase with the single pass method, the option to erase cluster tips un-checked, and Bitdefender temporarily stopped. If the Erase still hangs in those circumstances, we'll look at other options.

David
 

JRunner01

New Member
Re: XP hangs at what looks to be 98 percent left wipe free s

Thanks for the detailed reply and explanations !

Can you explain what this option does and why I dont need it checked?

"the option to erase cluster tips un-checked"

Also, note I was listening to the drive during that 24 hr period before killing it, during different intervals, and it was silent. It usually noisey when its "doing something" and was the case when the bulk of the work was done, during the first 2.5 - 3 days since Sunday.

Thanks...
 

DavidHB

Active Member
Re: XP hangs at what looks to be 98 percent left wipe free s

JRunner01 said:
Can you explain what this option does and why I don't need it checked? "the option to erase cluster tips un-checked"
By default, cluster tips (the spaces between the ends of files and the ends of the spaces allocated to them) are erased as the first action of a free space erase. The two processes are quite separate, but it makes sense to do them together. If you haven't already done so, please read the 'Getting to know Eraser 6' FAQ topic, which explains the basics of creating a task in the schedule. The 'add data' window, when you set the task to be the erasing of free space, gives you the option to erase cluster tips, which is ticked by default. I suggested un-ticking this to simplify what was going on, so that, if you still have problems, we have a better idea what to try next.

JRunner01 said:
Also, note I was listening to the drive during that 24 hr period before killing it, during different intervals, and it was silent. It usually noisy when its "doing something" and was the case when the bulk of the work was done, during the first 2.5 - 3 days since Sunday.
Normally, drive noise is indicative of (usually quite rapid) disk head movements. If the heads don't need to move much, you can't hear much either. As whether the heads need to move is more or less random on a well-used drive, your observations may or may not be significant. If you do the test I suggested, we'll know for sure.

David
 

Joel

Active Member
Re: XP hangs at what looks to be 98 percent left wipe free s

If your drive is at 98% completion, it is clearing the MFT/FAT directories. This can take a while -- it completely depends on how fragmented your MFT/Directories are (in terms of the number of empty entries)

It could be faster, and I should be pushing a new release with bug fixes like these soon. I'm looking at http://eraser.heidi.ie/trac/ticket/370.
 

JRunner01

New Member
Re: XP hangs at what looks to be 98 percent left wipe free s

Thanks for the replies and feedback.

I am trying 3 pass now with bitdefender AntiVirus off, however I left tips on. Let's see what happens. If still unsuccessful I will try again except with tips off.
 

DavidHB

Active Member
Re: XP hangs at what looks to be 98 percent left wipe free s

Thanks for the response; your plan sounds like a good one.

Joel's idea was the next one on my list (honest!). A fragmented MFT or FAT is a bit of a problem. Until Joel makes the change he is planning; the only way I can think of dealing with it with Eraser as it is is to back up the data you wish to keep, format the drive (or, better yet, remove, re-create and format the partition), run Eraser free space erase on the whole drive, and then restore from your backup. This assumes (from what you say) that the drive in question is not the system (C:) drive; in that case, things get a bit more complicated.

There is more information about the fragmentation issue here. You can see from this that the way Eraser currently works does add to the problem. But Microsoft's suggested solution is at least as complicated for a non-system drive as my approach.

David
 

JRunner01

New Member
Re: XP hangs at what looks to be 98 percent left wipe free s

Just to be clear... this is the C drive... where windows is installed.

The above job finshed but with errors. I tried to view the errors in the log but it wouldnt let me scroll to the right of the UI to see the full content of the error. I will try to later today. I kicked off another job this time without tips to see what happens... same 3 pass.
 

DavidHB

Active Member
Re: XP hangs at what looks to be 98 percent left wipe free s

If you are erasing cluster tips on the C: drive, that will generate lots of 'errors', which aren't really errors at all but Eraser telling you that it couldn't erase cluster tips on a whole load of system files that are (over-) protected by Windows. Chances are that the actual free space erasing completed successfully. Which would in turn suggest that my first thought was the correct one.

You can select, copy and paste lines from the log into a text file. In the 6.1 builds, the whole of the selected line is shown in a tooltip.

David
 

JRunner01

New Member
Re: XP hangs at what looks to be 98 percent left wipe free s

Without Tips, no errors with 3 pass.

I will assume the 35 pass at 98 % issue could be simply due to the performance of the system / drives as was stated and\or the bug (fragmented MFT/Directories) that was referenced earlier that is being worked on for a future release.

Thanks !!!
 

DavidHB

Active Member
Re: XP hangs at what looks to be 98 percent left wipe free s

Stick with one or three passes, and you should be fine ... :)

David
 
Top