How to: Boot and Run SpinRite 6.X on CSM capable UEFI Machines

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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.

    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.

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DanR

Dan
Sep 17, 2020
352
117
SpinRite 6.0 requires a BIOS-DOS environment to boot and run in, as does SpinRite 6.1

To see if a UEFI machine is capable of this, it will be necessary to go into the BIOS emulation setup.

Look for the following items:

UEFI boot (enabled)

Secure boot (enabled)

CSM (Legacy) boot – (disabled)

If all three are present, then the first step would be to disable UEFI and Secure** boot and enable CSM boot.

**Caution: If BitLocker is in use, disabling Secure boot may cause a loss of your BitLocker keys! Make sure your Bitlocker keys are backed up!

Apr 15, 2024 Edit: Please see this GRC web page ( https://www.grc.com/bootable.htm ) for important information for suspending BitLocker (for safe Secure Boot disabling) if BitLocker is in use!!!

If there is no CSM option, then SR 6.x cannot be booted/run on this machine. In this case the user would have to wait for SpinRite 7.0 with UEFI Booting.

Also check the drive/SATA controller mode options.

If the only controller option is AHCI, then there is no point in running SR 6.0 on the machine as SR 6.0 cannot see AHCI drives.
SR 6.1, however, is fully compatible with AHCI controller mode.

If there is an ATA option (IDE/Legacy on some older machines), select that for SpinRite 6.0. It is not necessary for SpinRite 6.1 but it will work just fine with that mode.

Save the changes and boot. Booting from SpinRite boot media should now work, and both SR 6.0 and SR 6.1 should run.

Caveat: The advancement of technology has not been kind to SpinRite 6.0.
Thus, SR 6.0’s BIOS dependence has created crippling restrictions for SR 6.0.
Slow BIOS I/O speed, a capacity limitation for large (>2.2 TB) drives, etc., may not permit SR 6.0 to perform as desired or in a practical manner.

Got a question? Post a Reply to ask.

Edited Oct 21, 2023 for SpinRite 6.1 applicability.
 
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Thank you for that summary - it’s very helpful. I heard on the podcast today Steve talking about 7.x having an app for Windoze. (It wasn’t 6.1 that he was talking about was it?). I don’t use dozy Windoze, I use Linux Debian derivatives and MacOS. Will I be out of luck when 7.x is released?
 
Thank you for that summary - it’s very helpful. I heard on the podcast today Steve talking about 7.x having an app for Windoze. (It wasn’t 6.1 that he was talking about was it?). I don’t use dozy Windoze, I use Linux Debian derivatives and MacOS. Will I be out of luck when 7.x is released?
You are welcome for the summary.

The 7.x versions will boot up their own working environment, just like SpinRite 6.0 does and 6.1 will do. The OS is irrelevant. 7.0 looks to be dual boot for UEFI and BIOS systems. It will boot on Windows and Mac systems. 7.1 and 7.2 will add additional features not in 6.1. Please see the SpinRite Development Roadmap for more information.

I am not sure about Linux. A quick perusal of NG postings indicates that just might be possible. Perhaps someone with Linux experience could chime in here regarding that question.

Steve has talked on occasion about a SpinRite 8 that would be a Windows app running mainly in the background while the user runs other Windows apps in the foreground. .

Steve is currently deeply immeshed in SpinRite 6.1 development, getting ever closer to an eventual SpinRite 6.1 Beta 1 test release.
 
Steve is currently deeply immeshed in SpinRite 6.1 development, getting ever closer to an eventual SpinRite 6.1 Beta 1 test release.
Wow! Over half a year later and SR 6.1 is now almost in its 5th month of Alpha testing & development. Methinks it is quite likely now weeks rather than months away from Beta. I know Steve cannot get it there soon enough, but things cannot be rushed. It's coming, people! Just be patient a little bit longer. :)
 
I am not sure about Linux. A quick perusal of NG postings indicates that just might be possible. Perhaps someone with Linux experience could chime in here regarding that question.
As you said above, 7.0 will boot it's own environment, therefore there is no reason why it should not work on a Linux machine. In fact I have been running some of the 6.1 alphas on my Linux machine.
 
You are welcome for the summary.

The 7.x versions will boot up their own working environment, just like SpinRite 6.0 does and 6.1 will do. The OS is irrelevant. 7.0 looks to be dual boot for UEFI and BIOS systems. It will boot on Windows and Mac systems. 7.1 and 7.2 will add additional features not in 6.1. Please see the SpinRite Development Roadmap for more information.

I am not sure about Linux. A quick perusal of NG postings indicates that just might be possible. Perhaps someone with Linux experience could chime in here regarding that question.

Steve has talked on occasion about a SpinRite 8 that would be a Windows app running mainly in the background while the user runs other Windows apps in the foreground. .

Steve is currently deeply immeshed in SpinRite 6.1 development, getting ever closer to an eventual SpinRite 6.1 Beta 1 test release.
The Macs will have to be older Intel x86 machines...not the newer ARM M based computers...correct?
 
SpinRite 6.0 requires a BIOS-DOS environment to boot and run in, as does SpinRite 6.1

To see if a UEFI machine is capable of this, it will be necessary to go into the BIOS emulation setup.

Look for the following items:

UEFI boot (enabled)

Secure boot (enabled)

CSM (Legacy) boot – (disabled)

If all three are present, then the first step would be to disable UEFI and Secure** boot and enable CSM boot.

**Caution: If Bitlocker is in use, disabling Secure boot may cause a loss of your Bitlocker keys. Make sure your Bitlocker keys are backed up.

If there is no CSM option, then SR 6.x cannot be booted/run on this machine. In this case the user would have to wait for SpinRite 7.0 UEFI Boot.

Also check the drive/SATA controller mode options.

If the only controller option is AHCI, then there is no point in running SR 6.0 on the machine as SR 6.0 cannot see AHCI drives.
SR 6.1, however, is fully compatible with AHCI controller mode.

If there is an ATA option (IDE/Legacy on older machines), select that for SpinRite 6.0. It is not necessary for SpinRite 6.1 but it will work just fine with it.

Save the changes and boot. Booting from SpinRite boot media should now work, and both SR 6.0 and SR 6.1 should run.

Caveat: The advancement of technology has not been kind to SpinRite 6.0.
Thus, SR 6.0’s BIOS dependence has created crippling restrictions for SR 6.0.
Slow BIOS I/O speed, a capacity limitation for large (>2.2 TB) drives, etc., may not permit SR 6.0 to perform as desired or in a practical manner.

Got a question? Post a Reply to ask.

Edited Oct 21, 2023 for SpinRite 6.1 applicability.
Thanks for the comprehensive reply. I'll pursue this but suspect I'm SOL until Steve gets to 7.0.
 
Hi All,

THANKS STEVE, GREAT WORK and I am a very happy and satisfied user of SR6.0 and looking forward to using SR6.1 BUT I have a little issue, I have a LENOVO ThinkPad (X1 CARBON) test laptop and cannot boot from the USB.

I have done the following;
UEFI has been disabled and Legacy Boot is ON
CSM Boot is ON
Secure Boot is disabled

I have run BOOTABLE and it was successful

I have used a 4Gb, 8Gb, 16Gb USB and all the same result. Have i missed something ?

THANKS IN ADVANCE.
 
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Sounds like you failed at making a bootable USB. What did you do, precisely?
Hi thanks for the reply. As per instructions, downloaded SR6.1, run the executable, it created the USB (I can confirm) and it told me it was successful.

It's pretty hard to mess this up, so how could I have messed up making the drive bootable ? please advise, did I misread and miss a step ?
 
Hi thanks for the reply. As per instructions, downloaded SR6.1, run the executable, it created the USB (I can confirm) and it told me it was successful.

It's pretty hard to mess this up, so how could I have messed up making the drive bootable ? please advise, did I misread and miss a step ?
I have the same problem with my late 2013 Mac (currently running Linux). I wasn’t able to get the USB to boot, so I converted the img file to iso and burned it to a disc. It boots, but I get to the “press enter to start SpinRite” screen and nothing happens when I press enter. So you might try burning it to a disc.
 
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It's pretty hard to mess this up, so how could I have messed up making the drive bootable ? please advise, did I misread and miss a step ?
I agree. THAT is a mystery to me. The process of creating and running "BootAble" and "SpinRite 6.1" are effectively identical.
One thing you could do, since you were able to get BootAble to boot, would be to copy your SPINRITE.EXE to the BootAble drive, boot it, exit to DOS, then run SpinRite. (y)
 
Hi All,

THANKS STEVE, GREAT WORK and I am a very happy and satisfied user of SR6.0 and looking forward to using SR6.1 BUT I have a little issue, I have a LENOVO ThinkPad (X1 CARBON) test laptop and cannot boot from the USB.

I have done the following;
UEFI has been disabled and Legacy Boot is ON
CSM Boot is ON
Secure Boot is disabled

I have run BOOTABLE and it was successful

I have used a 4Gb, 8Gb, 16Gb USB and all the same result. Have i missed something ?

THANKS IN ADVANCE.
Do you have any other computers that you could try your flash drive on? If it works anywhere else, chances are you didn't mess up the process.
 
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It's pretty hard to mess this up
I agree, and it sounds like you took the right steps. I can't understand how Bootable would work and yet SpinRite would not, they should be using pretty similar tech to produce the USB stick.

So now the question is, I guess, how are defining failing to boot? Perhaps it is actually booting the USB, but not generating an output that you expect? There is a splash screen that SpinRite tries to output during booting, and maybe that is not showing up (or the display is not getting to a happy state) and you're unable to see what happened/happens?

As Steve suggested above, if Bootable boots for you, you can copy your SpinRite.exe onto that Bootable created USB device and run it directly...
 
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I agree. THAT is a mystery to me. The process of creating and running "BootAble" and "SpinRite 6.1" are effectively identical.
One thing you could do, since you were able to get BootAble to boot, would be to copy your SPINRITE.EXE to the BootAble drive, boot it, exit to DOS, then run SpinRite. (y)
Hey Steve, THANKS HEAPS, I will give that a try.... By the way, Security Now ROCKS, I wait for it every week and throughly enjoy it.. THANK YOU
 
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I agree, and it sounds like you took the right steps. I can't understand how Bootable would work and yet SpinRite would not, they should be using pretty similar tech to produce the USB stick.

So now the question is, I guess, how are defining failing to boot? Perhaps it is actually booting the USB, but not generating an output that you expect? There is a splash screen that SpinRite tries to output during booting, and maybe that is not showing up (or the display is not getting to a happy state) and you're unable to see what happened/happens?

As Steve suggested above, if Bootable boots for you, you can copy your SpinRite.exe onto that Bootable created USB device and run it directly...
Hey @PHolder no... sadly. I get the F12 boot menu (on the LENOVO X1 Carbon) I select the boot device and about 2-3 seconds later, I get the same boot menu.... sigh ! Ill keep playing and follow the suggestion that steve made and post the results at some point over my weekend. THANK YOU
 
That's a great suggestion!
Hi Steve, not at home presently (I got rid of all of them prior to my house move....) This is definately on the cards and will try next week, when I am at one of my clients site that have some "spare" systems to test on....
 
I have the same problem with my late 2013 Mac (currently running Linux). I wasn’t able to get the USB to boot, so I converted the img file to iso and burned it to a disc. It boots, but I get to the “press enter to start SpinRite” screen and nothing happens when I press enter. So you might try burning it to a disc.
OK, I have an external CD Burner here in my lab so I will try that too. THANK YOU