failure on 2 computer


New Member
I've tried unsuccessfully to run Eraser on 2 computers that I need to wipe clean. 1 is running XP Professional SP2, the other is running Vista Ultimate SP1. Do I need to upgrade these to higher service packs in order to make Eraser work, or would there be any other ideas to help? Thanks for any assistance.
The Eraser web page specifies XP SP3, but does not seem to require any Service Pack for Vista. My instinct is that this is not your underlying problem.

What do you mean by 'tried unsuccessfully' and what do you mean by 'wipe clean'? We need to know more about your problem. Unfortunately, it is likely that responses to queries will not be as forthcoming as usual over the next week or so, unless another helper steps in, as both Joel and I have other things going on in our lives. Please use the link to the FAQ in my signature; it is quite possible that your answer will be there.

by wipe it clean, I just mean to permanently erase all the personal data on my hard drive

tried unsuccessfully, just refers to running the program on 2 different machines to erase my c:, and in both cases, I got a message saying Eraser has stopped working..A problem has caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available. (which then next says that there is no solution available)

thanks for any assistance you can provide

I think what you are doing here is the wrong approach. Eraser cannot erase the OS it is running on. you should erase all personal data, a bit at a time, then do a full unused space erase. if you cannot isolate the personal data, you will probably need to DBAN the drive.
Ok, forgive my ignorance... so I should delete all files, then empty the recycle bin...then run Eraser on the unused space. do I have that right? I'm not trying to erase the OS, just the data on the hard drive. And can you elaborate on "DBAN the drive"?

thanks so much!
Yup that sounds about right.

DBAN is a software that runs on its own without an OS which will erase every single drive (or a selection of drives) attached to your computer so that even Windows can be erased securely. This is of course destructive, hence DBAN = Darik's Boot and Nuke...
got it, thanks. so is there a valid reason I should DBAN it? My main concern is that the new owners of these laptops will be unable to retreive anything personal I have on it, but that it will be otherwise usable for them.
I'd recommend it if you have the ability to restore the computer to its factory state, i.e. you have either the recover partition or CD containing your OS and other associated programs. That's the safest since everything with "you" in it will be erased. If you can't then the best is to go over every single file in your hard drive and then erasing those which may contain personal data, being careful not to erase program and system files accidentally. After which, complete a full system erase.

I believe there is a FAQ entry somewhere which deals with this, but the list is, as always, non-exhaustive.