Can't boot new USB or ISO

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  • 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.

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cheshirex

New member
Mar 1, 2024
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I've got an old desktop that I definitely have used in the past to run 6.0. I recall there was some HP USB tool to create a Bootable USB. I can't find that utility anymore - nowadays searching for HP USB tools gives plenty of results for unrelated stuff (well, useful for HP computer owners in sure, but not for me).

However, both prerelease and final release versions refuse to boot on my machine - my BIOS offers both UEFI and legacy boot options, but when I try it just gives me a "non system disk" error. I tried Ventoy, which starts up nicely, but it gives me the same error when I try to start the ISO image. Same for the new Bootable utility.

Any ideas on what to try? I might dismiss it as the computer just not being able to run it, but the fact that I have in the past and can't now just frustrates me.

Thanks!
 
So... I'm still curious about ideas what could be wrong, but I have found a workaround. As I mentioned it's an old computer. With a DVD burner that I haven't touched in about 10-15 years. And I have a stack of blank CDs that I haven't touched in the same time frame. And I have an ISO of Spinrite...

I Booted off the CD, worked perfectly. And now my 2TB drive is getting the TLC that I've not been giving it anywhere near often enough because of how long 6.0 took.

I can't believe how long I spent trying to figure out the USB approach... Although I guess since this is the only computer I've touched in so long that still has such drives. Apparently posting here jogged the right brain cells to awaken that memory...
 
Hi @cheshirex :

I tried Ventoy, which starts up nicely, but it gives me the same error when I try to start the ISO image.
VenToy is definitely incompatible with SpinRite. I've researched this thoroughly since I wanted them to work together. But VenToy's A: drive emulation conflicts with SpinRite use of "flat real mode". What does work is a "super-set" tool known as “Easy2Boot” which you can find here: https://easy2boot.xyz/.
 
@cheshirex I think this is the HP tool you are referring to.

May at least be useful to see if MS DOS runs on there at least.
 
curious about ideas what could be wrong
Make sure you have the very latest version of SpinRite. (i.e. go cleanup any old version(s) and download it again.) There was some issues with one of the recent versions that might have caused the problem you experienced. Please let us know here if you get the same problem with the current release #2.

EDIT: More info here: https://forums.grc.com/threads/6-1-hangs-on-dell-8300.1507/
 
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Thanks for all the replies!

Steve, I've prepared an easyboot USB drive to try out when I get a chance, hopefully tonight. I'll note that you mentioned Ventoy on the podcast, and IIRC had said you were going to fix it so that it works with Spinrite with release 2. I didn't catch any further mention about it on the episodes since then -- might be worth at least bringing up that Ventoy doesn't play nicely with it, even with the update, just to be fully on record about it.

DarkwinX, thanks for the link. That does appear to be the right tool, but when I ran it under Windows 10, it refused to do anything with the USB drive I gave it. I think the last time I used it was back under Windows 7, so maybe something about the infrastructure changes caused it to no longer work for me. It's interesting but not critical enough to be worth chasing down, since I have an alternative for now.

PHolder, yup, I was using 6.1 release 2 at the time.
 
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I could really use some help as I am LITERALLY 😰 at my wit's end trying to get 6.0 or 6.1 to run on my Toshiba Satellite P55W-C5316 laptop with Windows 10 (it "too old" to install Win11).

I have to shamefully admit that it's been years since I ran SR 6.0, but when I did, I had ZERO issues running 6.0 from DVD ISO image. Fast forward to 2024, and I can't get either 6.0 or 6.1R3 to run from either USB or DVD ISO. I ran the USB and ISO creator from SR.

I also ran InitDisk, Bootable, and ReadSpeed on the USB drive from my Microsoft Surface Pro 9 (Windows 11).

I updated the boot order on the Toshiba to have it boot from USB first before HDD (
) and disabled secured boot.

I even ran Rufus on the USB drive, but I am still striking out when it comes to get SR to run.

I like to think that I am technical enough to know better, but I am really stumped why I can't get SR to run from USB or ISO. I am sure that I am overlooking something stupid - what rocks am I missing in terms of overturning? I used to have older ISO images that have wondered off to parts unknown.

Steve, I can also go 1-on-1 with you if you want in order to cover particular details that you want to keep off of the forum. Thanks in advance for your patience!
 
@VBSailorGuy : Do you know whether that machine will boot from USB? I would imagine that it should. So the most straightforward way to get SpinRite running would be to have SpinRite under Windows to setup a USB drive for you. I don't think we've ever seen that fail. Your machine will need to have "Secure Boot" disabled and legacy boot support (BIOS support, sometimes known as CSM). Then during the boot process you'll need to hit a key to interrupt/intercept the normal boot from internal drive. And that should work.

You ought to be able to search for the key to hit to intercept the machine's normal boot.
 
Steve, Dan, PHolder,

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! Switching from UEFI to CSM was the last piece of the puzzle that I was missing. I would not have even thought of that one - at least, not right away! Somehow the UEFI/CSM tip did not come up initially in my Google searches. As I type this note, I am happily watching SpinRite run level 3 on the Toshiba.

I went back to the beginning by installing 6.1 on the USB from the menu without having to use InitDisk, Bootable, or ReadSpeed.

The top row of keys with the Escape key and all the function keys is kaput, which explains why I couldn't get the F2 and F12 keys on the Toshiba to interrupt the boot up process. I have a wireless keyboard that I was using with this laptop for a while, but I have no idea where I squirreled away the keyboard. (Don't worry - this Toshiba is a "hangar queen" that is no longer my main working machine.) Fortunately,the video at
talked me through getting to the boot up menu by going under Settings.

In addition to disabling secure boot, I also disabled TPM - maybe that part is overkill?

After SpinRite is done tonight, I am going to use this machine to install a dual-boot Windows 10 with Manjaro Linux. Should I leave secure boot off until I am done installing Manjaro? Should I re-enable TPM before I install Manjaro?

I thought I had stumbled across the SR user guide somewhere, but now I can't find it. For us Windows users, it will be a big help to add in tips about disabling secure boot and switching from UEFI to CSM. I just happened to stumble across the disabling secure boot piece today, but I don't know how long it would have taken me to figure out the CSM trick (if at all!).

Thank you for saving my sanity!

You can mark this issue resolved!
 
@VBSailorGuy : Congratulations on getting that all resolved. To answer your questions:
  1. You can re-enable TPM. The "Trusted Platform Module" is something that Windows desperately wants to have around and since you plan to dual boot Win10 & Linux you'll need TPM to keep Win10 happy.
  2. My guess is that you can leave secure boot disabled and you may not have any choice in any dual-boot setup since Windows is jealous of any other OS being around.
  3. And, yes... I first need to get GRC's eMail system up and running so that I can send v6.1 announcements to all v6.0 owners. Since that will be a slow process (so as not to appear to be spamming the world) while that's underway I'll be working on documentation which is currently completely missing. So the UEFI vs CSM issue will figure highly there. (y)
 
Steve,

When I rebooted my Toshiba this morning, it won't boot from the HDD. Since my function keys are kaput, I had to use ctrl-[ to escape out of SpinRite. When I run dir on c:, I just see autoexec.bat, config.sys, edit.com, spinrite.exe, and the srlogs directory. Unless I can find where I stashed my wireless keyboard (or get a new one!), I have no way to select F2 (which the screen says to do), and I have no way to get back into the BIOS menu. Any ideas on how to boot from the HDD and get back into Win10? Fortunately, I've already ported off everything I need from this laptop.
 
I think getting a keyboard (Finding your old one, or getting a new one) is your best bet. If you need to enable UEFI, Windows won't boot until you can do that, which requires the F2 key.

EDIT: I just remembered something. A laptop I have likes to default the F# keys to the media keys (prints with blue ink), so to use the F# keys in this state, I would need to hit FN+F# to use the F# keys. Anytime I do a firmware/BIOS update, I have to remember to reset it to default to F# and not the media stuff (I think it does a reset of the CMOS when I update the firmware).
 
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Any ideas on how to boot from the HDD and get back into Win10? Fortunately, I've already ported off everything I need from this laptop.
If you remove the SpinRite USB drive the machine will likely revert to booting as it once did. But otherwise I agree with @miquelfire that having a working keyboard is just about as important as having a working power supply! (y)
 
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@Steve yeah, I had initially thought that the laptop would have booted back up just fine once I removed the USB drive (with the boot-up sequence being USB then HDD), which is why I wasn't initially concerned when I was running SR the other night. I have had success with other laptops booting up just fine with the boot order being USB first then HDD. I also didn't have to disable UEFI in order to get SR to run on those machines, which is why switching to CSM was a new trick for me (and, I maintain, not necessarily intuitively obvious to everyone ... although I am now that much smarter!). I think those other machines were Windows 7 and earlier - they were definitely not Windows 10 machines for sure. Alas, such was not meant to be for this machine!

Fortunately, my wife found a secretly stashed external keyboard that our child #2 never ended up using for an art project. I was able to use F2 to get into the BIOS menu, revert the boot order to HDD in first placed, and reenabled UEFI over CSM. The laptop still seems a bit sluggish, but at least it's back up and running. Now I am off to dual-boot install Manjiro - fingers crossed!

Thanks again for your patience and help!
 
I think getting a keyboard (Finding your old one, or getting a new one) is your best bet. If you need to enable UEFI, Windows won't boot until you can do that, which requires the F2 key.

EDIT: I just remembered something. A laptop I have likes to default the F# keys to the media keys (prints with blue ink), so to use the F# keys in this state, I would need to hit FN+F# to use the F# keys. Anytime I do a firmware/BIOS update, I have to remember to reset it to default to F# and not the media stuff (I think it does a reset of the CMOS when I update the firmware).
@miquelfire, the problem with my Toshiba is that the whole row of function keys is dead as a door knob with no way (as far as I can tell) to work out around the issue (believe me - I tried!!). As soon as I plugged in the external keyboard approximately 15 minutes ago, F2 on the external board did the trick.
 
I have a Huawei Mate Pro X. In bios I only see Secure Boot (enabled). If I boot and press F12 I get a boot device menu, but the usb is not in the list of bootable devices. Does this mean I can not run spinrite on this machine?
 
I only see Secure Boot (enabled)
You would need to disable secure boot. (Caution if you use BitLocker [whole] disk encryption as disabling this can sometimes cause you to lose the keys, so make sure they're backed up first before you mess with the setting.)

If you disable secure boot, you may or may not see other options related to Legacy Booting and CSM. You would need to enable the CSM to enable legacy booting, if the device is capable. (My Google's on it seem to indicate it can do Legacy Booting, but I am not completely sure.)