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Easy erasing

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Back in August of last year, I wrote about QuickErase, a utility that makes it easy to erase rewriteable discs. (As their names imply, rewriteable discs—a.k.a., CD-RW and DVD-RW discs—can be reused, unlike standard CD-R and DVD-R discs, which can be burned only once.) Although you can erase rewriteable discs using OS X’s own Disk Utility, the process is a bit of a hassle: Insert the disc, launch Disk Utility, select the disc in Disk Utility’s list of volumes, click the Erase button in the Disk Utility toolbar, and then respond to the Erase Disc dialog that appears. As I noted back then, I can burn a disc directly in the Finder, so why can’t I erase it?

QuickErase makes this process a bit easier: With a rewriteable disc in your Mac’s optical drive, launching QuickErase immediately presents you with Disk Utility’s Erase Disc dialog. But this still isn’t convenient enough for some people (including me), because it requires you to launch an application. So I kept looking for a better solution, and I think I’ve found one: soft ’o’ matic’s free EraseCMPlugIn 1.3.1 (   ; download link ). With EraseCMPlugIn installed—it’s a contextual menu plugin, so you place it in ~/Library/Contextual Menu Items if you want it to work only in your own account, or in /Library/Contextual Menu Items if you want it to work in all accounts on your Mac—Control/right-clicking on a rewriteable disc in the Finder will present you with a new “Erase” item in the Finder’s contextual menu; choosing this item brings up the Erase Disc dialog. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

EraseCMPlugIn menu

Erase Disc dialog

(If you’re curious about the Erase Disc dialog’s Quickly vs. Completely options, I summarized them last fall: According to Apple, the former “prepares the disc so that you can write over the existing data but it doesn’t actually erase the data.” The latter overwrites the entire disc with zeros—a process that is more complete and secure, but takes significantly longer.)

EraseCMPlugIn also includes a configuration application that lets you decide whether newly-erased discs should be ejected immediately or appear in the Finder for use. (There are actually two such applications included with EraseCMPlugIn—one in English, one in French. The former is called , the latter .) Simply double-click this application and then click the appropriate button in the dialog that appears:

EraseCMPlugIn setup dialog

EraseCMPlugIn’s functionality should be built into the Finder’s own contextual menus. Until then, EraseCMPlugIn fills the gap nicely.

UPDATE May 1, 2006, 7pm PST: Edited to reflect the inclusion of English-language Setup utility.

EraseCMPlugIn is compatible with Mac OS X 10.3 and later; it currently does not work on Intel Macs.

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