As to you losing HD space. If Eraser is locking up / being forced to quit , while it is trying to do an erase. It doesn't get a chance to delete it's temp files / folders (~ERAFSWD.TMP and ~ERAFSUD.TMP ). So look on your HD and if you find them delete them, and you should reclaim some of your HD...
Sorry for this late reply ,but not everyone has WinME and some maybe hesitant to suggest something on a OS they know little / nothing about.
Anyway , as to your free space procedure,
1. Shutdown all running programs
2. Run scandisk (Standard)
3. Run freespace erase
4. Run defrag
You can use Eraser on a CD-RW, however you only need to use one pass, as only magnetic media needs multiple passes. You can't use Eraser on CD-R, as they write protect themselves after the first write. The only way to secure a CD-R is to destroy it and then melt down the pieces.
I think Eraser is at least partially incompatible with Windows 2000 SP4. I did not have trouble erasing with "data streams" checked in preferences or erasing the recycle bin via right-click until I installed Microsoft's SP4 patch . Ever sense, file erase ( right-click file - erase ) many times...
One overwrite pass, is enough to prevent the recovery from STANDERED, undelete programs . However there are programs out there that can recover parts of files from 'magnetic echoes' these echoes require 7+ passes to be corrupted securely.
Because of the possibility of Disk errors especially on a Fat drive, you should ALWAYS do a scandisk first.
Then a free space.
Then a defrag.
and if you really want to be therow, because defrag sometimes leaves bits of copies of files its moved , do another free space.
When you did a 'free space' was there a list of untouchable directories?
Are these files in one or more of those untouchable directories?
If Yes the there is little that can be done at these point because there are always directories that Windows denies access to (locks), mainly 1) The...
If I understand correctly USB drives are still magnatic, they basicaly use USB for transfering the data , instead of a cable, and use magnetics for storage.
So the answer is yes, I would use muti-passess on a USB drive.
Eraser uses the registry to govern things that happen at bootup / login. I think that somehow the entry got 'left behind' when you tried to delete the task. Download Startup Control Panel - http://www.mlin.net/StartupCPL.shtml
It lets you see all of you startup items and lets you edit /...
It probably has something to do with Win2000 being a more secure OS then 95/98. I think it is more aggressive in 'locking' ( denying access to ) files and directories.
The main problem directories ( at least for me ) are :
1) Any directory that has file(s) that are 'in use'
I posted the spyware info links, because there are many forms of spyware that either 'invite' or 'leave the door open' to Trojans / viruses/ and other nastyies. A form of ‘locking the door before the horses escape’.