Secure Erase Free Space Error Message

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I cannot complete a Erase Free Space in Disk Utility on my Mac desktop (Mavericks 10.9.5). I have never had an issue. I get the response on all drives “mac secure erase free space failed error message couldn’t create temporary file.” My drive has plenty of room to create the temporary file, so its not a question of inadequate drive space.

Steps taken so far:
1. Under Disk Utility, did full repairs and verifications and repairs on all drives
2. Made sure all my permissions were open to “Read & Write”
3. Went into /private/tmp folder, deleted any temporary files, and rebooted in case there was an issue of not enough space on the drive
4. Did full system cleaning with Onyx
5. Pram Reset
6. Safe Boot Restart, then regular startup
7. SMC Reset

A little leery of going into Terminal and playing around. I’m not clueless when it comes to computers, but not a techie either. Also, I don’t have a Time Machine version to go back to (my Time Machine disk was full, so I had to delete it, then re-backup, but this was after I couldn’t erase free space in Disk Utility) and I don’t have the original software disk. I wouldn’t want to re-install my system for this problem anyway since it is not a major issue that effects the usage of my computer. But I do want to be able to Erase Free Space and always have been able to up until this point. Any ideas?
 
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Try booting from your Recovery HD when rebooting holding the command+R keys and try using DU to do the job on your main volume while its unmounted.

PS: I'd want to have a backup of some sort regardless and would't do anything until I did!! ;)
 

chscag

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I get the response on all drives “mac secure erase free space failed error message couldn’t create temporary file.” My drive has plenty of room to create the temporary file, so its not a question of inadequate drive space.

That error is probably telling you that you don't have enough "continuous" free space in order to create the temp file for secure erase. It does not necessarily mean there isn't enough total space. And it would be a good idea to make sure you have a backup. When I do those sorts of things, I don't entirely trust Time Machine but instead make sure I have a cloned copy of my hard drive. Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper is what I recommend.
 

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@nyc00nyc Chscag's suggestion about not having enough continuous free space space is well worth investigating. I am also wondering about the total amount of space available. I know you think there is enough space but some operations take significantly more space than expected.

Just out of curiosity what are the drive space numbers for one of the drives you're having trouble with? How much free space is there and what is the total space on the drive? Probably not the source of the problem since it affects more than one drive but it's worth a thought.
 

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Thanks for the additional information. I didn't think that overall lack of space was the issue since it seemed to affect more than one drive but it was with a look.

You can't really access/recreate the free space directly. What has happened is that as files have been written they have been written/updated deleted etc. there are gaps in where things are written not the drive.

There are a couple of ways to get more continuous free space:
1. Use a program such as iDefrag to rearrange files on the drive creating more continuous free space.
2. Use something like Carbon Copy Cloner, SuperDuper or even Disk Utility to "clone" the drive. Then boot from the clone and once you are sure its working erase the original drive. Now repeat the cloning operation moving things from the clone back to the original drive.

Either way the files will be together leaving more continuous free space.
 

chscag

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I agree with Slydude. The latest version of iDefrag fully supports Yosemite and will actually create a bootable USB flash drive with the program on it. That way, iDefrag has complete control over the hard drive as it's optimizing. With as much data as you have on your hard drive, iDefrag will probably need to run overnight. You may be better off using CCC the way Slydude pointed out as it will be faster and less expensive than having to buy iDefrag.
 

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Most users can run for years without needing that kind of ability. The OS does a pretty good job cleaning up00 after itself but ti doesn't a;ways result in the best arrangement for contiguous space. That limitation does come into play in situations such as these, Bootcamp installation, or audio/video editing where large blocks of contiguous free space are needed.
 
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I have always used as Slydude suggests with his #2 suggestion in post #6, with the addition of doing a one-pass secure erase or one-pass zero out on a HDD before cloning back with CCC.

But I guess that doesn't always apply these days as only the traditional (100%) hard drives (not "Fusion Drives" or "Hybrids") can be securely erased, and nothing that has any flash memory.

PS: Doing so also maps out any bad blocks so it should always be done when possible.
 

chscag

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But I guess that doesn't always apply these days as only the traditional (100%) hard drives (not "Fusion Drives" or "Hybrids") can be securely erased, and nothing that has any flash memory.

You definitely don't want to do that procedure on a Fusion drive or a SSD. The folks who develop iDefrag will tell you the same thing. Personally, I have avoided hybrid drives and Fusion drives.
 
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Secure Erase fail solution

I had the same problem. Here's what I did, and it worked:

Restart, and while machine is restarting, hold down Command key and the R key simultaneously. Hold these both down until the Apple icon appears, then release both keys. Four options will come up-- choose Disk Utility. Continue with Erase Free Space procedure as usual.

First attempt worked for me, after 6 months of frustration.

Best of luck! Tim
 

chscag

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Pretty good for a guy who is familiar with Tachikawa, Japan. ;D
 
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Maybe they're just the old TachikawaTim Location: Southwest Colorado that was on some Mac discussion boards some time ago. :D ;)

At least they picked up a good Mac procedure to use when needed. :)
 

chscag

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I've been to Tachikawa, Japan and believe me, it's nothing like Southwest Colorado! Great place to do shopping, just bring plenty of Yen. ;D
 
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Hi Tim,

Apologies for the incredibly late reply, but thanks for the advise. It worked. Been so busy that yesterday was the first chance I got to actually try your recommendation. Surprised that this advise didn't come up sooner when I first posted in 4/15. Thanks again and take care.


I had the same problem. Here's what I did, and it worked:

Restart, and while machine is restarting, hold down Command key and the R key simultaneously. Hold these both down until the Apple icon appears, then release both keys. Four options will come up-- choose Disk Utility. Continue with Erase Free Space procedure as usual.

First attempt worked for me, after 6 months of frustration.

Best of luck! Tim
 
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Hi Tim,

Apologies for the incredibly late reply, but thanks for the advise. It worked. Been so busy that yesterday was the first chance I got to actually try your recommendation. Surprised that this advise didn't come up sooner when I first posted in 4/15. Thanks again and take care.


Hmmm…??? I'm even more surprised that you didn't seem to even notice or acknowledge my same advice I posted 4/10!! And I'm sorry even that took so long, at a whole 30 minutes, but you've been too busy to have tried anyway, so no rush needed at all!! ;) :\
 
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Also, nyc00nyc, there is no need to erase your posts and replace them with dots. Leaving them on the board gives someone else who may have the same problem a way to search and find the answer and not have to post. So from now on, just leave them there...thanks! (assuming, of course, it was you who did that)
 
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Secure erase free space

Very helpful thread. Is there any way of knowing whether the "erase" (i'm aware it is actually a write-over) has worked?
Thanks
 
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Very helpful thread. Is there any way of knowing whether the "erase" (i'm aware it is actually a write-over) has worked?
Thanks

Your easiest way is to waste your time using some data rescue software and see if you can "recover" the secure trashed file(s)/folder(s), or get hold of some specialized forensics software that can attempt to do the same.
 

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