System Restore puzzlement


New Member

I've been using Eraser recently, and I like it a lot. I originally wanted Eraser because it could handle multiple drives, but I've found the program to be very comfortable in everyday use. So thank you for that.

I've also been looking at the Heidi forums--filling in some of the gaps in my understanding of magnetic data security on a PC. And I've several times seen comments about deleting the contents of the Windows System Restore file(s).

I didn't really appreciate how much data System Restore was saving until I used it this week to try and un-do a poor software choice. Unfortunately, I didn't decide to try System Restore until about a week after I'd installed the software that was not working well.

I was VERY surprised that System Restore reconfigured the DATA FILES on my different hard drives. I had only expected System Restore to reconstruct Windows and, possibly, some of the applications.

Included among the items that System Restore put back on my drives were FOLDERS and FILES that I had previously deleted using one of Eraser's 7-pass methods. This was a very bad development.

The items that were restored by System Restore (that had been previously deleted with Eraser) were mostly empty folders. Still, they were named folders. BUT there was also one huge block of mixed files on an EXTERNAL DRIVE that was returned completely--not just named FOLDERS but also FILES--about 60 GB of data files and executable programs.

I left this experience with quite a bit of new information. (1) System Restore was not what I'd thought it to be, and I've used System Restore previously maybe 6 times on this computer. (2) I now wonder if ANY data overwrite program is going to do much good unless I clear out the System Restore files. I wonder, actually, why this is not a routine option for the Eraser. Maybe everybody else knows to do this?

My questions for you, please:

I would like to use Eraser to empty my System Restore files. But I need to be careful. Could you tell me exactly which folder(s) I need to overwrite to do this?

OR . . . maybe I should just use the Windows "Delete" for these files and then follow that by wiping all of the free space with Eraser? In one of the other forum topics, it was advised that the System Restore files be deleted, but I can see no obvious (easy) way to do this on my machine. I see how I can turn off System Restore on the drives, but I don't see anything about deleting the saved files.

Looking at the Heidi Eraser, I see that each drive has a folder named System Volume Information, which includes a folder named "_restore{ . . . }". Are those the folders I need to delete, the ones named "_restore{ . . . }"?

Also, each drive has a folder named RECYCLER. Would it help anything if I deleted the contents of these with the Eraser, too?

Thank you for your help,

Perhaps I can help by revealing how I Erase all but the most recent System Restore files on my Vista pc C: drive.
Right click C: drive. Click Properties, then Disk Cleanup. Click the More Options tab. Under "System Restore and Shadow Copies" click Clean up.
Follow any instructions. This method does not permit cleaning up individual files!
Afterward perform a complete Erase of unused space.
Well system restore just stores information that can help recover your PC in the event of such problems. It so happens to be very opaque to developers too, and with reason - if the system is documented, programs will just fiddle with it and defeat the purpose of System Restore. Therefore, Eraser, like most other programs, is denied access to the system restore files. What GregM said about cleaning old system restore files will work, but rmeember that leaves one last system restore entry - the latest snapshot taken. You may want to completely disable system restore, erase free space and re-enable it to completely get rid of all snapshots.

RECYCLER is used by Windows XP to store old recycle bin files. When you run a recycle bin erase all files that belong to your current user will be erased. Files belonging to others will not be erased, however.

Interesting development!