Creating bootable USB stick to run spinrite

  • Be sure to checkout “Tips & Tricks”
    Dear Guest Visitor → Once you register and log-in:

    This forum does not automatically send notices of new content. So if, for example, you would like to be notified by mail when Steve posts an update to his blog (or of any other specific activity anywhere else), you need to tell the system what to “Watch” for you. Please checkout the “Tips & Tricks” page for details about that... and other tips!

    /Steve.

francoisdelisle

New member
Nov 5, 2020
2
0
Hi,
Yesterday I bought a copy of spinrite.
I had trouble creating a bootable USB stick to run it. I finally use Rufus to create a bootable USB stick with freedos and copy spinrite exe on it.
Is there a better way to create a spinrite bootable USB stick ?
With the technique i used, am i able to use all of spinrite features ?
The computer i am using to create the USB stick is running Windows 10.

-Thanks
 

JulioHM

Active member
Oct 25, 2020
37
16
Hi, @francoisdelisle.

Have you ever tried Ventoy? Windows and Linux setup tools are supported. It creates a bootable USB drive that can boot other ISOs from the same storage device. All you need to do is copy a full ISO into the Ventoy USB stick, like any other regular file. When you start the computer, it will present a list of ISO files you can choose to boot from.

 
  • Like
Reactions: Phil G. and danlock
Upvote 0

Lob

What could possibly go wrong?
Nov 7, 2020
99
20
www.grc.com/readspeed

Download the installer, it formats and prepares your USB device for ReadSpeed. Copy spinrite.exe to the drive and press ESC when it boots. Type sp then press F3 for it to autofill the filename.

Blissfully simple :) I've switched to this now. Two tools in one :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Phil G.
Upvote 0

francoisdelisle

New member
Nov 5, 2020
2
0
Thanks i will do this, create a readspeed usb stick and copy spinrite.

Ventoy will be usefull for other needs, i will keep the information.
 
Upvote 0

PHolder

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2020
769
2
359
Ontario, Canada
The disk formatter that was used in ReadSpeed.exe was actually developed standalone as an application called InitDisk.EXE. It will just format/blank a USB device if invoked without any command line option, but if you supply the option FreeDOS (from a command line) it will install a bootable FreeDOS image that you can then use to copy the SpinRite.EXE onto. SpinRite runs in Windows to help you format/install for DOS. The exact same executable (it's "dual runnable" under Windows or DOS) will do what SpinRite does when invoked from DOS. https://www.grc.com/initdisk.htm
 
Upvote 0

DanR

Dan
Sep 17, 2020
205
52
I had trouble creating a bootable USB stick to run it. I finally use Rufus to create a bootable USB stick with freedos and copy spinrite exe on it.
Is there a better way to create a spinrite bootable USB stick ?
Yes. ReadSpeed: https://www.grc.com/readspeed.htm

ReadSpeed creates a specialized FreeDOS environment for ReadSpeed to work in. This environment would be better than the more vanilla environment created by Rufus (my experience).

Just copy SpinRite.exe to the ReadSpeed created USB stick, boot from it, hit ESC at the RS splash screen to get to a C:\ prompt, then run SpinRite.

Please note: You will be subject to the various limitations of SpinRite 6.0 until SpinRite 6.1 is released. And, No, there is no specific release date for SR 6.1.
 
Upvote 0

SteveY

The only Brit in the Village
Sep 23, 2020
2
0
Except that SpinRite 6 when running in Windows will only install to a floppy, whereas InitDisk installs to a USB.
I have SpinRite 6 installed on a USB key, been so long I forget how I did it
 
Upvote 0

drwtsn32

Active member
Sep 19, 2020
36
11
Get the ISO version of SpinRite and use a tool like YUMI to put it on a bootable USB. I prefer YUMI cause it lets you add many ISOs....

 
  • Like
Reactions: Lob
Upvote 0

rfrazier

Well-known member
Sep 30, 2020
320
100
This thread piqued my interest and strained my memory to remember how I did this a decade ago. I debated on how to share the info. I decided to copy this text from the box that pops up when I run SPINRITE.EXE in Windows 7. It speaks of how to install SpinRite on diskette, CD, or other media like a USB stick. I don't know if I've ever tried the latter. If anyone reading this doesn't know, SpinRite is commercial copyrighted software and it's serialized to the owner. So, only make copies of what you own. But, here's part of the text that popped up when I ran the program in Windows 7.

Tried to put this in a CODE section and it didn't work. So, I'm improvising.

QUOTE ON ->

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.

<- QUOTE OFF

If I were going to put SpinRite on a USB stick, I'd probably use something I can write protect, like they have here:


That company also has lots of cool secure memory products.

May your bits be stable and your interfaces be fast. :cool: Ron
 
Upvote 0

rfrazier

Well-known member
Sep 30, 2020
320
100
@AlanD You have a point. I've always run SpinRite from CD so I never could write to that anyway. I always check the SpinRite log before shutting down and I always run only 3 partitions or gaps at a time so the log doesn't overfill. (Something @Steve has said he'll fix.) That log might be more useful on ReadSpeed, and I have that on a USB stick. Easier to share here, etc.

The idea of using writable media to troubleshoot a potentially defective or breached or infected computer has always made me nervous. I realize that, with SpinRite and ReadSpeed, only DOS is running. I don't know if a rootkit could be operative in that environment. But, if you put your diagnostic USB stick in while windows (or Linux or Mac OS) is booted, even briefly, it could be attacked. So, I tend to use write protected diagnostic media.

That's why I still shop for laptops with optical drives. ;)

May your bits be stable and your interfaces be fast. :cool: Ron
 
Upvote 0

AlanD

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2020
210
69
Rutland UK
The idea of using writable media to troubleshoot a potentially defective or breached or infected computer has always made me nervous. I realize that, with SpinRite and ReadSpeed, only DOS is running. I don't know if a rootkit could be operative in that environment. But, if you put your diagnostic USB stick in while windows (or Linux or Mac OS) is booted, even briefly, it could be attacked. So, I tend to use write protected diagnostic media.
Whilst I have many of my diagnostic tools on USB, I also have the "master" copies safely stored on my PC. If I have any doubts about whether a USB stick has been "attacked", I can wipe it and put fresh copies of the tools back.
 
Upvote 0