Can I interrupt the erasing process?
Time of erasing hard drive may vary but it will not go unreasonable, and if the wiping process spends too much time on the same percentage, there must be something wrong with the hdd, it is likely that there're bad sectors. When such things happen, it is time to interrupt the erasing process and it is safe, but if you're using the very complex overwrite method (35 passes, Gutmann's algorithm), it is a normal case and it may take days when you want to wipe everything on the computer.
User Basename from tomshardware said some program wiping his 1TB HDD for more than 14 hours and has no signs of complete; he wondered how long it will take to finish the wiping progress. Although we don't how many passes he had chosen in the program to wipe the HDD, it is abnormal for 1 pass overwriting or zero filling method; but it is a regular time for complex and very complex overwriting plans.
Check the settings again and just interrupt the process when you found it is simple or advanced overwrite, (don't what's it called in his program, but we can single pass overwrite as simple overwrite and 2-3 passes as advanced overwrite.)
Advanced overwrite methods are more time costing than simple overwrite methods, but not that long, another user of from the same community shared his story:
At the moment the thing is running for around 46 hours, and it is showing 105%, and that it is doing Pass 1 of 3., he used the same program as the above user we mentioned, almost two days spending on wiping a 2TB hard drive, in DoD 5220.22M 3 passes standard, which means it may spend another 90 hours to completely wiping.
That's make no sense, the reason why it took so long to fully erasing data on the hard drive may be: 1. The 2TB hard drive went wrong; 2. The software has wrong algorithm on DoD wiping methods. Most likely it is the hard drive's problem; it may have been physically damaged.
More about interrupting erasing process:
1. Interrupt Erasing Disks/ Drives
If you're interrupting the erase disks or drives process, it is OK, what has been overwritten is gone and what leaves is still there, you can erasing them again with different wiping plans or more time-saving algorithms, but if you're interrupting the process of wiping system disk or system drive, the operating system will not boot either, because essentials parts of booting system have already been erased.
2. Interrupt Erasing free space.
That's also OK, no problem, free space or deleted space or unused space, has nothing but traces of previous files, and interrupting erasing on such space is safe. But traces can still be used by data recovery software to get the original files back, although the chances are slim, it is still a chance.
3. Interrupt Erasing files and folders.
Before you interrupt the erasing files and folders process, you should know that files or folders will become broken or discontinuous; they are not completely erased and still have a high probability to be recovered by data retrieve and recover programs. So if you're to chance security standards from complex to simple overwrite method, you're free to interrupt it.