Techie Beyond Description
Join Date: Jan 2005
The World's Premier Magnetic Storage Data
Recovery, Repair, and Maintenance Utility.
To obtain direct, low-level access to a system's mass storage drives, SpinRite runs under MS-DOS, or any MS-DOS compatible operating system. The open-source FreeDOS operating system has been incorporated into SpinRite and it will be automatically booted from any boot diskette, compact disc, diskette image, or other bootable media configured by this program. Alternatively, SpinRite may simply be run from the command prompt of any MS-DOS compatible operating system.
(Note that the "Copy" button below may be used to copy all or part of this text to the Windows "Clipboard", where it can be pasted into "WordPad", Microsoft Word, "Notepad", or other text editor for saving or printing.)
Creating a bootable SpinRite diskette
For most users, the simplest way to run SpinRite is from a boot diskette created by this program:
Place any standard, non-write protected, 1.44 mb, 3.5 inch diskette into your system's A: drive, then click the "Create Boot Diskette" button below. The diskette will be formatted, written, and verified with all of the files required to boot and run SpinRite.
Leave the diskette in the drive and restart your computer to boot from the diskette instead of from the system's hard drive. The FreeDOS operating system will start and automatically run SpinRite.
If your system continues to boot your regular operating system, you may need to enable diskette booting in your system's BIOS, or change the boot order to place your system's diskette drive before any hard disk drives. Immediately after powering up the system, you should see instructions on the screen for entering the BIOS setup configuration. This generally requires pressing <F2> or <Del> when prompted. You should check with your computer vendor's technical support facility if you are unable to determine how to configure your system to boot from a diskette.
In case of diskette creation trouble
If SpinRite complains that it cannot get exclusive access to your diskette drive, try temporarily shutting down anti-virus software before creating SpinRite's boot diskette. If SpinRite still cannot gain exclusive access, restarting Windows (with anti-virus software shutdown) usually resolves the trouble.
SpinRite's diskette creator uses some of SpinRite's surface analysis technology to be rather critical of the quality of the diskette. This is what you want if your system's hard disk gets in trouble and you need your SpinRite diskette to boot reliably. Retrying the creation with the same disk will often work to push past a problem area, but please try using another diskette if SpinRite continues to stop part of the way along to complain about the diskette's recording surface.
If SpinRite continues to refuse to create a diskette, you might try reformatting the diskette first with Windows before giving it to SpinRite.
If you are still having trouble, you can use the "Install SpinRite on Drive" action with a formatted diskette rather than the "Create Boot Diskette" action.
Please check the GRC Web site SpinRite FAQ and Usage Tips page (Frequently Asked Questions) if you are still having trouble with diskette creation.
Creating a bootable SpinRite compact disc
SpinRite may also be booted and run from a compact disc (CD), which is useful for systems without a diskette drive. SpinRite cannot, itself, "burn" compact discs, but it creates a standard-format ISO "image" file that should be useable with any compact disc recording software to create a bootable SpinRite CD-R or CD-RW disc.
As with a bootable diskette, if your system's BIOS is configured to boot from its CD-ROM drive, restarting the system with the SpinRite boot CD in the drive should automatically boot the FreeDOS operating system and start SpinRite. If this does not happen you may need to change your system's BIOS settings to boot from the system's CD-ROM drive before hard disk drives. Your computer vendor's technical support facility will be able to assist you if you cannot determine how to do this yourself.
Creating a bootable SpinRite diskette image file
If this computer does not have a diskette drive, you may create a diskette image file containing the "image" of a bootable SpinRite diskette. This file may be moved to a machine running Linux or any other non-Windows operating system and, with the use of a diskette imaging program for that operating system, a boot diskette can be created on that machine.
Installing FreeDOS and SpinRite onto any other media
If your system's BIOS supports booting from other media -- such as a USB flash drive, a Zip, LS-120 drive, or anything else, SpinRite's "Install SpinRite on Drive" option can be used to make any media bootable with FreeDOS and SpinRite.
When instructed, depress and hold down the keyboard key corresponding to the drive letter onto which you wish to have SpinRite installed.
Note that anti-virus programs operating in the background of the system can become quite upset when they see programs changing boot sectors and modifying system files, as these functions of SpinRite were designed to do. If you encounter problems installing SpinRite to other media, a temporary shut down of any anti-viral watchdogs will usually resolve any trouble.