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Cannot erase files on external HD back up

By ntoren
Feb 17, 2009
  1. I am trying to erase files with no success on an external HD. I used Vista's Back Up software that comes with Home Premium. Can see the drive, a Western Digital Passport Elite, and navigate to the folder and file in question. However, if I select the file and right click to delete it, it vanishes only to reappear next time I open same folder. This is an external HD partitioned into 3 partitions and the file in question came from a different computer. Is this the issue? Many thanks!
     
  2. Ididmyc600

    Ididmyc600 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,415

    ive seen this happen on USB drives before, once you have deleted the files use the safe removal icon by the clock, unplug the USB drive and the replug it in and the files will be gone.
     
  3. ntoren

    ntoren TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    I wish it were that easy! Tried it several times but no luck. A friend of mine suggested emptying my trash but that did not help either.
     
  4. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Hmm.. i've never heard of that problem before. I'd start by first running chkdsk to verify the external drive's filesystem integrity. Click here
     
  5. ntoren

    ntoren TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    I'll give that a shot. Does the same help article apply for Vista? This one appears to be geared towards XP users.
     
  6. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Yes. will be the same for Vista. And i'll add the following notes:
    => Be patient. Especially on larger drives, chkdsk may "appear as though it's hanging" but in fact it just can be very slow.
    => If you're watching % complete give it at least 30+ minutes if % complete doesn't change before even suspecting it might be hanging

    And specific to Vista see this
     
  7. ntoren

    ntoren TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    Still no love. Did a check on all three partitions and no errors found. Someone mentioned erasing files from the Terminal (terminal line?) but this is beyond my expertise. Is this simple?
     
  8. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    I'd recommend trying following (in the order listed)
    1. Force Windows to uninstall all disconnected USB drives. This forces a new, clean re-install when you plug it back in next time
      => Unplug all USB drives, install and run the DriveCleanup tool Reboot. Insert drive and try delete again
    2. Make sure the drive is being installed correctly (drive corruption issues can result in improper installs)
      => Redo step 1 above. Before you reinsert, refer to Initial Troubleshooting section in Part 1 Troubleshoot: Windows Won't Recognize Your USB Hard Drive. Verify the re-installation steps
    3. If you continue to have problems, I'd try one of the Partition Managment tools next. You can post back if you need more info should you need to try them
     
  9. ntoren

    ntoren TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    I'm considering erasing everything (reformatting) on the external and then re-backing up each of the three computers to their respective partitions. Do you know if I can erase files on one partition at a time? or is this an all or nothing operation?
     
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