Bootable - Can't get to the DOS prompt

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NickRD58

New member
Mar 18, 2024
3
0
Bootable - Can't get to the DOS prompt.

I'm having a problem launching the dos prompt from a bootable USB created using "Bootable".

When booting the machine from the USB, the message comes up saying I have booted to FreeDos and that Spinrite will work on this machine. But… when I "press any key to proceed to Dos Prompt", I get a message saying "Input Not Supported". (If I install Spinrite 6.1 on the USB and boot, I see the Spinrite splash screen, then the same result, "Input Not Supported".)

Here's what I've done to try to troubleshoot this….

  • First, I confirmed in the machine's BIOS that there was no setting for UEFI vs Legacy. (assume it is pre-UEFI).
  • I've also disconnected everything (USB Mouse, speakers, etc.)from the back of the machine, except the keyboar
  • The only additional board that is in the machine is a wireless Nic card. (I haven't removed that yet.)

The hardware is…
Dell Inspiron 620S
Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2320 CPU @ 3.00GHz 3.00 GHz
Harddrive is Seagate Firecuda 2TB hybrid drive
(replaced with regular spinner Samsung 500GB Model HD502IJ and I get the same result)

Any advice you can give would be appreciated. Forgive me if this is not in the correct forum or if I could not find something that's already been answered.

NickRD58
 
Hi Nick! (@NickRD58)

You're definitely at the right place. Could you snap a photo of the screen that's showing you that message? I've never seen anything like it and it's obviously important! Thanks! (y)

Could this be something to do with the display mode of the monitor?...and the "input not supported" is a not a FreeDOS message, but a message from the monitor itself? Also, I searched the specs on that machine and looks like it is circa 2011, but there is a BIOS update (available from DELL) dated Jun 2020, not sure if a BIOS update would be recommended (per DELL, it is "optional") but I usually put most of my systems on the latest BIOS.

Regards,
Thomas
 
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I'd bet that's a good guess, @TProbst67. It would definitely make sense. That fact that Nick is seeing the "FreeDOS booted and this machine can run SpinRite message, which is in 640x480 x 16 color mode, suggests that that mode is supported. Then, when a key is pressed, I switch the machine into standard generic 80x25 text mode, which appears to be the source of the trouble.
 
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Steve & Thomas...
First, thank you!!! Not just for the quick response, but for leading me to the solution!! Just for the record and any documentation you might like, I'll go thru the steps I took based on your suggestions.

You had asked for an image of the message I got when it failed. This image slowly bounced around the screen....
image0 (1).jpeg

Next suggestion was about upgrading the BIOS. Yes, I was one version behind. So I attempted to upgrade to the latest version from 2020 that Thomas referenced. (I don't claim to be a super techie, more of a hobbyist that has listened to Security Now for many years.) I tried running the install from both windows and from CMD shell using Admin mode. I never got any response. My son suggested looking in even viewer, but I was not talented enough to find anything useful there. when

Next, I went into the monitor's settings and chose to reset to default. Still "input not supported". FYI, the monitor is Acer Model No. V246WL ydp.

The step that fixed the issue was switching out the monitor to use one that I have on an older machine. (Dell Monitor P2212Hb) With this monitor plugged in, Spinrite 6.1 is off and running. Thanks to both of you!!

Maybe I should start another thread, but I'd like one more piece of advice. I did say this was a hybrid drive. Using SpiRite, should I just not use Level 3 on the drive at all? Is there a way to know where the SSD portion ends and the spinning portion starts? Any advice?

Again, thank you for my first issue.... and for all the years of SN advice and entertainment!!!
 
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@NickRD58: Thanks for your follow-up (and Thomas... good call!). I've opened an issue in SpinRite's GitLab issue tracker to follow-up on this once I get caught up with everything else that's going on. Thanks again!!

Hey @NickRD58 glad you got it worked out...even if it meant replacing the monitor! :cool:
As for the BIOS update -- you could probably go into the "BIOS setup" and check the version # there.
It looks like the 'hotkey' to get into setup on that machine is "F2", according to the manual, there is a prompt on screen at bootup, something probably like "Hit F2 for Setup", and it's only probably on screen for a few seconds, so you have to be quick to hit it before the machine starts to boot into the OS. Once in Setup, you should be able to determine the current BIOS version and date. FYI - here's a link to the Service manual to your DELL in case you don't have it...



Hey @Steve -- As for the original ACER monitor mode, I found the user manual online, and it lists the video modes supported but doesn't mention 80 x 25 text mode...I don't know if it's something you want to take a quick look at (I'll attach the manual to this post), seems strange as this monitor is circa 2015. If we can confirm that it will NOT work with SpinRite 6.x, maybe it could be added to some kind of hardware "blacklist". (I thought you were keeping such a list, but I could be wrong.)

Regards,
Thomas

UPDATE: ACER user manual PDF is too large to post, so I'll just include the link to it...

 
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you could probably go into the "BIOS setup" and check the version # there
When I want to check a machine's BIOS version while it is running Windows and I don't want to reboot it just to check, I use CPU-Z for that. When I set up a new machine I create a C:\Temp\ folder and I export the text version of the CPU-Z report and leave it in that folder. It has lots of useful information you might want to know later.
 
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Very likely is the BIOS writers removed that mode switching, likely to get some extra room, or it was optimised out as a code path that is never used with a GUI setup screen.
 
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Very likely is the BIOS writers removed that mode switching, likely to get some extra room, or it was optimised out as a code path that is never used with a GUI setup screen.
Right... except that changing to a different monitor solved/resolved the trouble. So it more appears to be something funky about that particular monitor. I wonder whether instead of changing monitors he had just turned it off and back on, that might have worked, too?
 
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If monitor then the EDID data does not cover that particular mode, so the video card cannot find a match, so no output. Similar reason, the designer removed it to fit more modern modes into the limited EDID space in the 24C02 eeprom.
 
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Right... except that changing to a different monitor solved/resolved the trouble. So it more appears to be something funky about that particular monitor. I wonder whether instead of changing monitors he had just turned it off and back on, that might have worked, too?
Thank everyone for all the brainstorming. I did try, just now, turning the monitor off then one after receiving the "Input not supported" notice... with no success.
 
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Thank everyone for all the brainstorming. I did try, just now, turning the monitor off then one after receiving the "Input not supported" notice... with no success.
@NickRD58: One last thing to try would be removing the invocation of SpinRite's "splash screen" (SRSPLASH.SYS) from the boot-up CONFIG.SYS.

GRC's "EDIT.COM" text editor is there. So you could just place "REM" (short for REMark) at the front of the line "device=config.sys". Save the file then reboot. Does SpinRite then come up and run?

Thanks!
 
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When I want to check a machine's BIOS version while it is running Windows and I don't want to reboot it just to check, I use CPU-Z for that. When I set up a new machine I create a C:\Temp\ folder and I export the text version of the CPU-Z report and leave it in that folder. It has lots of useful information you might want to know later.
I like the "Speccy" app for the same purpose. Used to offer portable so you Might be able to copy it onto USB. I just copied the Speccy folder to a Thumb drive and ir ran Ok so can go portable :)
 
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