eraser stalled


New Member
this is at least the second time this problem has occurred. eraser stalls at a ~90% complete. the implication i take from the stall is that, due to no free disk space, eraser cannot complete its task. previously, i've cancelled the running instance of eraser and manually erased the files created by eraser. also, i ran eraser as administrator (from the quick launch area, not the programs menu) and still did not have permission to erase the cluster tips of many, many files. (i've also read the 'getting to know eraser' section of the faq).

if it helps, the erasure progress window is indicating a completion of 89.71%, and has for several hours.

status: erasing unused disk space.
item: old resident file system table files
pass 3 of 3
time left: unknown


The first point is that there are two quite different issues here. The fact that (particularly on a system drive) there are many, many system files that cannot be accessed (and so have their cluster tips erased) is just a function of the way Windows works. Of course, the fact that those files cannot be accessed makes it rather unlikely that identifiable user data is stored in the cluster tips in question ...

Your main concern is with Eraser stalling. This is a known problem, particularly if the drive has been used for some time. I recommend that you search the forum on "old resident" to find Joel's advice to other users with the same problem, which is potentially somewhat complex.

Joel's most consistent advice is to let the erasing process run to completion, provided that the computer is still showing disk activity. To this I would add the precautionary advice that running a disk check before you re-start the erase will at least ensure that there are no problems in the disk system.

I also think that, if you have a third party defragmentation program (the one built into Win 7 and Vista is really only designed to run in the background, and should be disabled before you run a third party alternative), this should be explicitly run, especially if it has a capability to defragment the MFT.

thanks, david, for the reply.

you're right, i have two separate issues that i kinda mushed together. my bad. i will now disregard the 'system file/cluster tip' issue.

for the 'stall' issue, i will do the following:

1. run chkdisk at startup. if all's well, i will...
2. reboot...
3. stop all active programs. (btw, are there any background/resident programs, other than virus/security/monitoring software, i should specifically disable?)
4. re-run eraser and let it go unto completion, assuming that's ^= perpetuity.

for informational purposes:

1. i do not have any background defragmentation active. i use defraggler, specifically set to 'manual start' and it replaces vista's defragmenter.
2. my laptop/hard drive is ~3 yrs old. i don't know how this fits your qualification of a 'drive has been used for some time'.
3. i'll let you know how things progress.

thanks again for your help.

Your plan is a good one. It might not provide a solution, but will eliminate a fair number of possibilities. If Defraggler is working, by the way, the chances are that there is nothing much amiss with your file system.

For this test, make sure you use a single pass erasing method. There is no point in artificially prolonging the process.

As to disabling running programs, anti-virus is certainly the main candidate. It's also good to disable anything that does a lot of disk accesses; I'd guess that Defraggler, if you run it in the background, will be OK, because most defragmenters pause until the machine is idle.

And three years in regular use is indeed a long time in the life of a hard drive. There was a time when that was reckoned to be the typical service life of a drive, but I think things have improved in that regard over the last few years.

started eraser, went to bed, got up, it had finished...with 'cluster tip access' errors, of course. other than that, it appears all went well. no stalling.

thanks again for your advice.

Sounds good. Glad to help.