Bizarre Issue with Eraser


New Member

I've been using Eraser for years without problems, but Eraser 6 has me banging my head against the wall! I have Eraser installed with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OS.

After installation, Eraser will not load on Windows startup. However, I can start it from the shortcut and it runs just fine. The only way I can get Eraser to load on bootup is to turn off "Run as administrator" under the executable's "Compatibility" tab. But once that is turned off, all tasks finish with the "Completed with errors" message, and the log error states "The program does not have the required permissions to erase the unused space on disk. Run the program as an administrator and retry the operation."

I've searched through the FAQ and Forum, and I couldn't find anyone else that has ever reported this problem. Any suggestions will be appreciated!

Leave the setting on the compatibility tab turned off. Right-click on the Eraser icon in the tray, and choose 'Exit Eraser' to close the running instance. Now right-click on the Eraser desktop icon and select 'Run as Administrator', and try again. Does that work?

Note that, if you are wiping free space on a system drive (C:) and leave the option to erase cluster tips checked, you will almost certainly get a vast number of error messages in the log, as Eraser tries and fails to access protected system files. At your first attempt, you might reasonably leave the cluster tips option (which, for most people, probably does not add significantly to security) turned off.

It's issues like this that demonstrate how Microsoft's concept of computer security takes little or no account of issues of user privacy. How wiping free space could ever be sensibly thought of as a security problem quite defeats me.

DavidHB said:
Leave the setting on the compatibility tab turned off. Right-click on the Eraser icon in the tray, and choose 'Exit Eraser' to close the running instance. Now right-click on the Eraser desktop icon and select 'Run as Administrator', and try again. Does that work?

Hi David...

Thanks for the quick response!!!

Yes, that works, but it doesn't solve the problem. Let me try to clarify the issue.

Every night, a Task Scheduler task is run at 11:30pm to do nothing more than restart my computer. I do this so that all automated overnight maintenance starts with a fresh reboot. At midnight, my AV kicks in with a scan, and it always finishes in less than an hour. Then at 1:30am (once a week), Eraser is scheduled (using its built-in scheduler) to erase unused space (1-pass/NO cluster tips).

The default installation of Eraser (with the EXE and Shortcut "Run as Administrator" unchecked) will load at Windows startup. I can run any file erase task (either manual or recurring) with no problem. However, an erase unused space task will not run (without error as stated in OP above) unless Eraser is started with "Run as Administrator" (either with right-click as you described OR the EXE/Shortcut Properties>Compatibility>Privilege Level>Run as Administrator checked).

For my automated purposes, I must use the EXE/Shortcut Properties>Compatibility>Privilege Level>RaA checked method, so that Eraser will load upon Windows startup at the elevated level. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, checking this box prevents Eraser from loading at startup.

I have looked at the Bootup Event Logs, and there are no errors reported. The bootup registry key HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run is set to "F:\PROGRA~1\Eraser\Eraser.exe" --atRestart. I have tried disabling this key and placing a copy of the Eraser shortcut (with RaA set) in the Startup Folder, and Eraser will not load on startup from there either.

I've run out of ideas. Hopefully, this expanded explanation will help sort out a solution.

Thank you for the explanation.

The problem is created by the deliberate decision of Microsoft, in versions of Windows from Vista on, not to allow an automated logon with administrative privileges (as happened by default with XP), and then (bone-headedly) to treat a free space wipe as a task needing administrative privileges. I suspect that Microsoft has gone to some trouble to block stop any program running at startup with administrative privileges. You can understand the security concerns that prompted this approach, but, in typical Microsoft fashion, the feature has been implemented in a way that restricts functionality.

Joel will advise, but I would be very surprised if all versions of Eraser are not affected in the same way.

I cannot think of a way round this problem at present, although Joel may know of one. The plan is that future versions of Eraser will run the core functionality as a service (rather than as a process as at present), and that this will get round the more frustrating security restrictions.

That said, do you really need to run a free space wipe as often as weekly? Wiping is quite stressful on hard drives, and, while I would not assert (as some people have done) that frequent wiping shortens drive life, it is possible that a wipe may push a disk that is starting to fail over the edge.

Hi again David...

Thanks for the info!

I changed the startup shortcut (for one of my normal progams) to RaA, and Win7 would not start it either. It looks like you're correct about the 'protection' MS has built into Vista/Win7. Hopefully, Eraser 6.2's services-based incarnation will handle the situation.

Workaround removed by author


PS ... Oops, forgot your erase unused space frequency question, David. I really don't need to do it weekly. The scheduling was a holdover from my old XP machine. I did a 3-pass (w/cluster tips) unused space erasure on a weekly basis for 6 years, with no HD problems. Matter of fact, that old workhorse is still in perfect working condition. It is currently boxed up in the closet, as a backup system, if my new system ever goes down. But I understand what you are saying, so I've taken your advise and rescheduled Eraser on the new computer to once a month.
Thank you. This is useful. Indeed, it might be worth making this thread 'sticky'; I'll check with Joel.

Hi David...

That would be great, glad I could help! If sticky status is applied, please feel free to change the thread subject to something a bit more descriptive of the problem/solution.

That does work, but I'm not going to place it as a supported thing. Mucking around with system configuration like that isn't for everyone, I don't want to open another can of worms. The erasing as an administrator is only required for unused space erasures, for most files, you shouldn't need Eraser running as an administrator. Not to mention that with UAC on, running a program as an administrator disables dragging and dropping.
Joel said:
That does work, but I'm not going to place it as a supported thing. Mucking around with system configuration like that isn't for everyone...
Wow! I didn't realize that authorizing one executable to run as administrator and creating one task to run it at a user logon constituted mucking around with system configuration. :roll:

The registry entry removal was optional. It could be left as is, because it didn't run Eraser (with RaA set) at startup anyway. I just thought it would be cleaner to remove it.

Anyway, I've removed the workaround from my previous post. :(

I was hoping you'd leave it, I just won't sticky it... it's good for those who know what they're doing, just that putting it as a sticky may cause people who may not be making an informed decision problems, which then becomes a support nightmare!

Is there an undo button somewhere...
In the circumstances, I'm sorry I floated the 'sticky' idea. I think that your solution should be documented; by it's nature, it is probably something that only a reasonably computer literate person would attempt.