An off the map testing page
  • SpinRite v6.1 Release #3
    The 3rd release of SpinRite v6.1 is published and may be obtained by all SpinRite v6.0 owners at the SpinRite v6.1 Pre-Release page. (SpinRite will shortly be officially updated to v6.1 so this page will be renamed.) The primary new feature, and the reason for this release, was the discovery of memory problems in some systems that were affecting SpinRite's operation. So SpinRite now incorporates a built-in test of the system's memory. For the full story, please see this page in the "Pre-Release Announcements & Feedback" forum.
  • Be sure to checkout “Tips & Tricks”
    Dear Guest Visitor → Once you register and log-in please checkout the “Tips & Tricks” page for some very handy tips!

  • BootAble – FreeDOS boot testing freeware

    To obtain direct, low-level access to a system's mass storage drives, SpinRite runs under a GRC-customized version of FreeDOS which has been modified to add compatibility with all file systems. In order to run SpinRite it must first be possible to boot FreeDOS.

    GRC's “BootAble” freeware allows anyone to easily create BIOS-bootable media in order to workout and confirm the details of getting a machine to boot FreeDOS through a BIOS. Once the means of doing that has been determined, the media created by SpinRite can be booted and run in the same way.

    The participants here, who have taken the time to share their knowledge and experience, their successes and some frustrations with booting their computers into FreeDOS, have created a valuable knowledgebase which will benefit everyone who follows.

    You may click on the image to the right to obtain your own copy of BootAble. Then use the knowledge and experience documented here to boot your computer(s) into FreeDOS. And please do not hesitate to ask questions – nowhere else can better answers be found.

    (You may permanently close this reminder with the 'X' in the upper right.)

GRC Forums ‑ Tips & Tricks

The Top Two Tips: “What's New For Me” and “Forum Search”

The first most useful tip here is the “What's New For Me” menu item at the top of these pages. Since it's actually “what's new for you” (since YOU were last here) it's a great way to quickly catch up. You can also set custom What's New content filters for your account and they will be remembered.

The second super-useful tip is the use of this forum's full content search. There is a LOT of material here already, and the full site search allows you to find what you're looking for. When you start to create a new thread, you'll be shown similar threads that may be better than creating your own new thread. But if you're looking for answers, keep this forum's search in mind!

Notifications by Mail

These forums are configured to notify you – by email – of activity on threads you create or threads you participate in unless you disable it. This is done by "auto-Watching" threads that have involved you. You may disable watching any single thread or you may change your account's default behavior if you do not wish to receive email without asking for it. Under your account / preferences (that link will jump you there) you'll find all of your account's current settings.

Anywhere you see a “Watch” button, you can click it to tell the system that you want to be informed of anything that happens there. You can choose to have it watch at the whole forum level for any new threads created – this is what you would want to watch Steve's blog, since he would be posting new blog topics – and/or also granularly for any new postings to threads:


In this example, you would visit Steve's blog page (https://forums.grc.com/forums/blog/) and click the “Watch” button in the upper right to obtain this dialog. The default is “Alerts” which should be changed to “Emails” to allow the forum system to reach out to you in the future. You can, of course, “Unwatch” at any time.

Notifications by RSS Feed

Those who prefer receiving notifications of events via RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication) may use RSS instead of, or in addition to, email. The footer of this site has an RSS icon which can be used to obtain a feed of the entire site. It has this URL:


But you can easily create RSS feeds for individual forums, like Steve's blog. This is done by appending “index.rss” to the end of the page's URL. Since the URL for Steve's blog is:


... the URL for the RSS feed is:


Reporting Nonsense & Abuse

We have a team of terrific volunteer moderators who work to keep things clean and useful here. But we also rely upon reports from our registered users. Everyone who is registered will find a “Report” link at the bottom-left of every posting. PLEASE feel free to use that link to bring anything you find questionable to the attention of our volunteer moderation staff. We will examine the issue and deal with it as soon as it comes to our attention.

Dark Mode & Font Size

You will find a “Style Chooser” at the bottom-left of the page. This will allow you to set dark mode which is preferred by some, and also to increase the system's font size, which may be useful for those with higher resolution screens.

Your Custom Title

If you look at Steve's posts, you'll notice that beneath his avatar/photo and name it says “(as in GRC)”. And you may notice that other members have chosen to show their real name, their location, or other secondary information below their user ID. This is done by setting the “Custom Title” field under your “Account details.” You might consider doing this to provide a bit more personalization to your posts than just “Member” or “New Member”


Your Signature Line

Signatures are useful and can add personality to posts. But excessive, multi-line signatures can be a problem. They are inherently repetitive and if they are large they can consume a great deal of vertical screen space. For this reason the system limits signatures to a single line. But since that line may include a link, you're welcome to link to your profile where you have far more latitude to express yourself.

Username (UserID) Changes or Tweaks

If you're unhappy with any aspect of your UserID – its capitalization, punctuation, format or whatever – it's possible for it to be edited in any way that doesn't conflict with someone else's UserID. When that happens, all prior references will also appear changed. You can use the “Contact Us” link in our page footer, or initiate a conversation with Steve to explain what you'd like to change.

Anything else?

If you've discovered a useful tip or trick that might be of interest interest to others, drop Steve a note with your idea for possible inclusion here. And thanks so much for your interest in these forums and GRC's work!