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Recover from an incomplete Erase Free Space process System
I was thinking of all the private information that I never have time to secure delete from my trash because I'm too impatient, and I thought it would be a good idea just to run Disk Utility's Erase Free Space (35-Pass) feature overnight just for good measure. Unfortunately, it was not done in the morning, so I hit Skip, and I was in a rush, so against better judgement, I then used Force Quit. However, Disk Utility erases free disk space by simply making a giant file that is nothing but zeros or random data. It left that huge file, leaving me with 268Kb of free space, instead of 70Gb. What's worse is that I had no idea where it left that file! A reboot didn't clear it out, and I couldn't find any help on the usual Mac sites ... so I started messing around.

It turns out that the fix is simple: just throw some file away and empty the trash, and you'll get the space back. If for some reason you can't find a file to throw away, open Terminal and type touch ~/Desktop/throw_me_away. This will create an empty file on your desktop you can then delete.
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Recover from an incomplete Erase Free Space process
Authored by: kainewynd2 on Mar 28, '07 09:34:51AM

You might want to stick with the 7-pass format next time... :p



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Recover from an incomplete Erase Free Space process
Authored by: ocdinsomniac on Mar 28, '07 10:33:25AM
The giant files that are created during a free-space-erase are .sparseimage files and are stored either in:
/var/root/Library/Caches/TemporaryItems/

if erasing free space on the root volume, or in:
/Volumes/YourVolume/.TemporaryItems/folders.UIDNumber/TemporaryItems/

if erasing free space on another volume, where "YourVolume" is the name of the volume being erased, and "UIDNumber" is the UID number of the user performing the erase.

This is covered in an article on MacGeekery:
http://www.macgeekery.com/tips/quickie/recovering_from_a_failed_secure_erase_free_space

-systemsboy

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Why not just reformat the disk?
Authored by: steresi on Mar 28, '07 11:21:34AM

Interesting discussion... I didn't know about Disk Utility creating a huge file. But I must be missing something... why not just reformat the disk (this time without zeroing) if you want to get rid of the file?



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Why not just reformat the disk?
Authored by: mbenchoff on Mar 28, '07 11:31:29AM

Reformatting the disk would require a reinstallation of everything, OS included.



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Why not just reformat the disk?
Authored by: UberFu on Mar 28, '07 12:14:08PM

Why reformat an entire drive just to simply erase a hidden Temp File_

That degrades your HD for no good reason_

Gubluntu was on the right track_

That's like "oh - I installed a piece of software on my machine that i don't want anymore and instead of uninstalling it - why don't I simply reformat my hard drive" -- it makes no sense_

If you run out of gasoline in your car are you going to throw out the engine and get a new one after every tank of gas ?

Most any repair or diagnostic process will create a Temp File of some sort [which would be akin a B-Tree Directory only more complicated] so that what ever process is happening can keep track of what it's doing independently form the system that it's running on_

Norton Utilities and Systemworks did this back in the day - any Installer App does this_ Every time you download a file off the internet - it gets stored to a temporary file until the entirety of it's contents is downloaded_ Compression software does this [Stuffit Deluxe]_ SO if you goto download a file form the internet and losed your connection are you going to wipe your HD everytime and re-install your entire system ?

Read a couple of online searches - find the invisible offending file and trash it_



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Recover from an incomplete Erase Free Space process
Authored by: digitol on Mar 28, '07 02:00:55PM

Wonderful Tip! I often do hasty things like that, and it's good to know there is an easy fix.



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Recover from an incomplete Erase Free Space process
Authored by: osxpounder on Mar 29, '07 11:53:27AM

Quicker:

Click the desktop.
Do Apple-Shift-n
press Enter or Reurn
Do Apple-Delete

You just created an untitled folder and deleted it.



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Recover from an incomplete Erase Free Space process
Authored by: Aman on Mar 31, '07 10:30:09AM

+1



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Recover from an incomplete Erase Free Space process
Authored by: steresi on Apr 02, '07 06:27:04PM

Ah! We're only talking about Secure Empty Trash in the Finder!

I thought this whole discussion was about formatting a disk (with Disk Utility set to zero out the disk).



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Recover from an incomplete Erase Free Space process
Authored by: chyna4xena on Jul 30, '07 04:53:47PM

No, we're talking about the "Erase Free Space" function of the Disk Utility application, not the disk formatting function or the Finder's Secure Empty Trash command.



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Recover from an incomplete Erase Free Space process
Authored by: SBonzak on Jul 30, '07 03:38:48PM

I did the same thing and was left with no remaining memory on my hard drive. I tried your suggestions, but that did not work either. Any other hints?



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