Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

May 16th, 2008:

A Gunk Issue With Eraser 5.7

I'm over at my sister-in-law Kathy's house, taking a look at her Dell SX270 computer, which I installed here last summer. She asked me to look at it because it had suddenly gotten sluggish, and I was prepared to find viruses or spyware. Instead I found a 40 GB hard drive that was 98% full, when the last time I was here it was less than 50% full. That was mighty suspicious, and I ran TreeSizeFree to tell me where all that file space had gone. It had gone into a single folder under C: called ~ERAFSWD.TMP, which was hogging a staggering 21 GB of disk space in many hundreds of very large files.

The ~ERAFSWD.TMP folder, as it turns out, is created every time the free Eraser file shredder app begins an erasing run, and is deleted when Eraser finishes. A week or so ago, the machine's video driver crashed for reasons unclear, and had the bad karma to crash when Eraser was doing its default daily scheduled run erasing unused disk space. So Eraser had never released the temp space it allocated while it was running.

The solution is simple: Exit Eraser (it's a tray app) and delete ~ERAFSWD.TMP. Then (to make it less likely to happen again) remove the scheduled erase run, which is set up by default when Eraser is installed. Eraser is most useful when emptying the Recycle Bin, and installs a Recycle Bin context menu item for that purpose. Unless you work with a great deal of confidential information, daily scheduled free space erasing is massive overkill. I do a free space run on demand every few months.

It was my own damned fault, as I had installed Eraser on this machine last summer without removing the daily scheduled run. Sometimes even a master degunker generates massive gunk. Mea culpa.