[v6] Need Help after Erasing Unused Disk Space


New Member
I am running Eraser on XP Home SP3 on a laptop.

I ran task erasing unused disk space including cluster tips for about 10.5 hours & about 90-95% complete but had to abort due to time constraints. The built in stop did not appear to work so I had to abort the program itself. My problem is that it left behind a hugh folder (about 330 MB according to my defrag software) and that appears to be overwhelming my Explore program so I am having trouble deleting that file because it never finishes loading the file list within that folder for Explore to read and it keeps my hard drive running & bogging down my entire computer for other programs.

Any simple work around idea's from anybody to remove that huge folder. I tried directly from DOS prompt but the filename appears to be a problem with that method. Tried renaming it through Explore but it tell me it is in use by another program & cannot rename it. Thanks in advance.
Tricky. You probably need to free up some memory so that Explorer can load sensibly. Try starting in Safe Mode (which will load only minimal drivers and no startup programs), to see if Explorer will then load. Another approach, if you have a rescue disk or Linux boot disk with some sort of file manager is to boot from that and see if you can delete the folder from there.

With this machine (which I'd guess is quite limited on RAM), you could try uninstalling Eraser 6 and loading 5.8.8, which might work a little better. But a free space wipe on a slow machine will always take a long time, and be particularly slow at the end of the process; it's an overnight job, and you need to ensure that the machine does not go into sleep mode halfway through.

Thanks David,

I have about 1.12 GB RAM. I estimate the folder Eraser created ended up with about 275-325k files in that single folder which I believe is the problem. I have since determined that the files finally display in Explore but it takes about 45 minutes to load the file list. With a slow work-around, I have been able to delete about 19k files so far but I have to reboot quite often probably because of memory constraints. I will try the "safe mode" reboot next to see if that helps. Any other suggestions would still be appreciated.

Just a thought for the developers ... aside from this problem, the program appears to work fine so far. I have minimal programming experience but I wonder aloud the following:

a) Is it possible to create and delete these files it creates in RAM rather than on hard disk and delete each as it is used if that is how the program works? I would suspect this would speed the entire process & eliminate the problem I had. Not sure exactly how the software works so this is just a thought.

b) If (a) above is not possible, is it possible to create a loop of some sort so that once this folder the program creates reaches a certain file size such as maybe 2-3 MB, it clears the folder of contents and begins again with a fresh folder?

c) Also, is it possible rather than erasing the entire disk all at the same time, can it be broken down into something like 10ths? In other words, if there was a menu option to do the first 10th today; the second 10th tomorrow; the third 10th the next day; and so on, but not necessarily in that order.

Thanks in advance.
I thought that limited RAM might be an issue. We used to think that XP ran fine in 512MB, but Windows Service packs and newer software seem to have increased the requirement. I upgraded my old XP laptop to 2GB, and that gave it a new lease of life, particularly when I did a complete restoration of the system to factory condition. If you can backup your data, that might also be your fallback position; it is possible that the problems you have had with Eraser have simply brought to light the fact that the Windows on your machine has become 'tired'.

Unfortunately, your ideas on how the program might work are not feasible. The free space wipe works by writing random (nonsense) files to the drive until it is full, thereby overwriting any data that was left in the free space. So Eraser has to fill the disk before it deletes its files; when that goes wrong (or is not allowed to complete), and Eraser does not clean up the files, the user has to delete them manually. Usually (I speak from quite a lot of experience!) that is not a problem. In your case, the problem has, I think, come together with other issues on your system to make things more difficult.

Thanks for your help David. I was able to resolve this after some research by running off the DOS prompt as previously attempted. I was using the wrong COMMAND program & wrong syntax the first time I tried. For future reference if anybody else has this problem, following are brief instructions:

CAUTION: This will delete all files in a folder. Be sure you know what you are doing before proceeding. This process may take 2 hours or more on a very large folder with many files.

- Locate the folder name you want to delete files from & write down the folder name exactly as displayed including spaces, etc.
- Click START
- Click RUN
- Type CMD.EXE
- Click OK
- NOTE -- A DOS window will pop up
- Type CD\
- Press ENTER key (returns you to the root directory on your default drive)
- Type DEL "C:\FOLDERNAME\**" (including the quote marks)
- NOTE -- Substitute C with your desired drive letter
- NOTE -- Substitute FOLDERNAME with the name of the folder exactly as displayed including spaces, etc.
- Press ENTER key (the delete process will begin immediately)
- NOTE -- Pressing CTRL + BREAK should halt the process at any time prior to completing the process
- When process completes, type EXIT at the DOS prompt
- Press ENTER key (to close DOS window)

Hope this may help somebody else with a similar problem.
Thanks Rich; this is most useful. I'd like to append this procedure to the FAQ thread on recovering disk space. Before I do so, please can you confirm: by 'batch', you simply mean the (often quite large) set of files in the Eraser folder that you are deleting. From your description, you are not running a batch file as such; nor, indeed, can I see any reason why you should do so.

Hi David,

You can substitute the word "batch" with "process" or anything with similar meaning. Glad that can be of use to someone.

I cleaned up the previous post a bit.
Hi David,

Maybe you could append these instructions to the same FAQ post regarding the elevated command prompt:

Instructions for accessing the elevated command prompt in Windows Vista & Windows 7 are at the following links:

Windows Vista: Use Method 3 at the link below

http://www.winhelponline.com/articles/1 ... Vista.html

Windows 7: Use Option Two at the link below

http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/37 ... rtcut.html

I think both are actually the same. Continue with the previous instructions after "NOTE -- A DOS window will pop up"
Thanks for that. I have re-posted the links as you suggested.

I think that the instructions in the links are fine, especially for a newcomer to the Command Prompt. My 'old hand' method is to put a shortcut to the Command Prompt on the Desktop (or, in my case a folder of shortcuts to utilities on the desktop), then right-click on the shortcut and run as administrator.