Simultaneously wipe multiple hard drives?


New Member
My work and hobbies often center around high definition video editing, where just 1 minute of uncompressed video is measured in gigabytes. I need very fast read/write (a single HDD can't keep up with the data being written), maximum data integrity, and long drive life - this means my only option is a RAID in every work computer, an extra large RAID array for a full nightly backup of works in progress, along with even more drives for long-term storage. Then there's my separate OS SSDs which for maximum safety must be periodically replaced.

To help defray all these costs, obviously I sell the good-condition used drives as they're replaced. While nothing I work on is extremely confidential, I consider it only proper due diligence to ensure that any customer or personal information has absolutely been cleared before I sell or dispose of them. This leads to me occasionally having a TON of hard drives to multi-pass wipe; I'm presently in the process of wiping:

- 2x 3 TB
- 3x 1.5 TB
- 1x 1 TB
- 2x 2 TB
- 1x 0.5 TB

Unfortunately, Eraser does not appear to support parallel operations even on separate disks. This makes the process extremely time-consuming... just to make things worse, yesterday we had our first power outage in almost a year and it happened during the wiping process. It had already been running for over two days, but I was uncertain where it had left off so I had to start the whole process over again.

Is there any possibility you might be able to support parallel operations on separate disks in the future?
You are correct in your analysis. Eraser 6 was designed to be a simple as possible for users, and there was a deliberate decision to run tasks sequentially rather than concurrently, which is optimal for the single drive that most computers have, but not for separate erasing tasks on different drives.

I haven't searched through Trac, but my recollection is that Joel agreed to review this policy, to see if concurrent erasing on separate drives could be implemented.

Incidentally, I would advise that modern drives such as those you have would, on the best evidence currently available, only require a single pass erase to put any data on then beyond recovery. The 35 pass Gutmann method, for instance, was designed to deal with the range of hard drive technologies extant in the mid-1990s, with not only used different encoding methods but also positioned their drive heads much less accurately than today's drives with their far greater storage densities. I only use a single pass for free space erasing.

The Eraser 6 code had to "force" users to channel all their erase requests to one program instance first, so that hopefully in later versions I can write code to let Eraser intelligently schedule them. It's the halfway point between free-for-all and optimised erasing. Hope you can be patient with me... I don't have all the time in the world to write features! Though as of now I already have a conceptual idea of how to implement this... just no time to sit down and translate it to code.