I have a 160GB HD on my computer here. Since I have absolutely no use whatsoever for that much HD space, I took the freeware program TrueCrypt and created a file container the size of which only left me with slightly under 21GB of freespace. (See screenshot). Eraser doesn't "see" any freespace in the encrypted container if it's not mounted when a freespace wipe is run on "C:" drive, so it skips over it quickly. (The container itself can be freespace-wiped by Eraser, but only if the container is mounted at the time).
Seemed to speed up the erasing process, for sure. Pete
"When a file does not fill up the last cluster (group of sectors) it is using, an incomplete sector is filled in with a bit of what is in RAM, so this part is called RAM slack. The rest of the unused sectors in the cluster are called drive slack, since any info in them is what was written on the drive previously. The combination of the RAM slack and drive slack are called file slack (since it is contiguous unused area, but still associated with the file).
"File slack" and "cluster tip" are the same thing, referring to the unused portion of the incomplete cluster." - Gralfus
Good lordy, what part of "It depends on how much free space versus used space there is" was not clear.
If you really want to know how long it will take for your hard drive, start a free space wipe (with out cluster tip erasing as that doesnt give an estimate) wait a few seconds and it will tell you how long it is estimated to take. Once you know how long it will roughly take you can cancel the wipe. (Make sure you turn on cluster tip erasing when you go to actually run the wipe)
If you can't do that but still want to know how long it will take, I'll happily give you a PO Box to ship your hard drive to...
1-1/2 DAYS [you read that correctly "DAYS"] and it's only about 55% complete. USB 2.0 External 1-TB drive being cleared. Default settings used. Does this sound right? Is there a better way?
Also I did an USB 2.0 External 100-GB drive three times and it kept coming back "Completed with Errors". No explanation what the errors were.
Crazy making for sure.
Additionally, I want to make sure the drives are clean when finished. I work in the medical industy in Los Angeles / Hollywood, and have some patient data on these drives that I'm required to keep private U.S. "HIPAA Laws". And several of the patients are celebrities, so I want to be certain their info is not recoverable.
The errors will be in the log. If you don't know where that is, read the FAQ post called "Getting to know Eraser 6". If you are using Eraser 6.0.x, it might be flagging up errors that aren't in practice errors at all (Joel has changed the categorisation a bit in the development version).
Erase time is a function primarily of the amount of free space being erased, drive (that is drive plus interface) speed and the number of passes. For erasing free space, use a single pass method. Al;so, disable antivirus and other background programs to reduce the number of disk accesses during a free space erase.
Without knowing more details of your setup, it is difficult to be precise about why the erase is taking so long. On my desktop machines, I would expect a 1TB erase (single pase) to take hours rather than days.