Warning - Free Space Erase can Destroy Data


New Member
This is my first and last ever post. I won't be using eraser again so there's no point in saying anything beyond describing what has just happened to me.

From time to time I need to do a secure erase of customer data on my PC's second drive.

I installed Eraser under Windows 7 64 bit (Fully Updated). However, without thinking I merely deleted my customer date so I decided an erase of the free space (50gb of a 250gb drive) would be the next best thing.

Eraser started the task and appeared to finish correctly, but on closer inspection it had deleted the contents of every directory on the drive (luckily a secondary drive not my main one) in alphabetical order, up to and including the letter p (directories beginning with the letter S and later were left intact)

When I clicked on the Eraser icon in the task bar it THEN proudly announced that it had completed with errors. Data recovery software revealed that my entire code repository from university had been securely deleted along with a large picture archive containing pictures of my friends and quite a few other archives.

Diagnostic software reported no errors with the drive.

I think I will not ever use Eraser again. My confidence in it has been severely shaken. Even if this is a one time bug with software like this, one time is one time too many.

Consider this a warning to everyone thinking of using Eraser under Win 7 64 bit - your data is NOT safe with this software.

My System (in case it's important)

Core 2 Duo E6750
4gb Crucial Ballistix Ram
ASUS P5N-32E SLI Plus Lifestyle
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB drive
Samsung SP2504C 250gb drive.
nVidia 9800GTX+

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit Fully Updated.
The OP says he will not post again; fair enough. It is also fair for me to express my opinion, that he is mistaken in his diagnosis. If Eraser as a program were capable of removing files during a free space erase, a number of years of use of the various versions would have produced many, many more reports of this happening. But a free space erase only writes files to disk and clears unused MFT entries; it cannot do anything else (and it uses the.NET runtime functions for file handling in any case).

The OP does not give enough details for me to guess at the cause. It is possible that his MFT was damaged in some way before the erase, and it was that that made the problem apparent. (If he didn't have backups, a file recovery program such as Recuva could then, if used immediately, recovered much if not all of his data, by using the redundancy built into the NTFS file system). A sequence of events does not necessarily indicate a direct causal relationship.

This does not necessary happen. I did it on the same operating system (on a laptop) and it worked just fine.
No files were destroyed.
My speculation would be that users mistakenly erase a drive, instead of erasing the unused space of a drive. Other users have warned of this before... but I think it only gets as effective as Windows prompting you a Yes/No when pressing shift+delete on files.