How To: Run SpinRite on a UEFI-only machine (Part 5B of 5 - Create your own Virtual Machine)

  • 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.)


Well-known member
Sep 18, 2020
This How To is in multiple parts:
  1. Introduction
  2. Using Windows to Go as the base OS for your bootable VirtualBox system
  3. Using Kubuntu Linux as the base OS for your bootable VirtualBox system
  4. Using MacOS as the base OS for your bootable VirtualBox system
  5. Downloading or Creating your VM and moving files in and out of the virtual drive
    1. Part 5A - Download a pre-built Virtual Machine instead of creating your own
    2. Part 5B - Creating your own Virtual Machine (this article)
    3. Part 5C - Copying files to and from the VM hard drive

Creating the base SpinRite Virtual Machine​

  1. Directions between Windows, Linux, and MacOS are fairly similar, so I'll combine them all into this one post
  2. If you will be proceeding to build your own Virtual Machine, you must create the SpinRite floppy Image, currently only possible via the SpinRite executable running on Windows. You may have done this already, if not:
    1. Go to and download your personal copy of SpinRite
    2. Run the SpinRite executable in Windows
    3. Use the option to "Create ISO or IMG file"
    4. Click on "Save a Boot Image File"
    5. Dialog box comes up; change the Save as type entry to: IMG (for making boot diskette)
    6. By default it's called SpinRite.img, change the name to SPINRITE-FD.img and save it
    7. Close the status message then Exit SpinRite
    8. Copy that file to a USB flash drive and put it aside, you'll use it later
  3. On your Target Machine, boot from your HostOS flash drive containing VirtualBox
  4. Start VirtualBox as previously noted (graphically on Windows or Linux, via sudo virtualbox on MacOS)
  5. Create a new VirtualBox Machine
    1. Name: SRDOS (or whatever you want)
    2. Type: Other
    3. Version: DOS
    4. Base Memory: 128 MB
    5. Processors: 1
    6. Virtual Hard Disk Size: About 100 MB (this space is for logs, so whatever size you want)
      1. NOTE: The Virtual Hard Disk will be connected to a virtual IDE controller as Primary Device 0.
  6. Finish
  7. This will create the ‘VirtualBox VMs’ directory underneath your home directory, if it's not there already
  8. Insert that 2nd USB drive from the Windows PC noted above
    1. Open the USB drive from the desktop
    2. Copy theSPINRITE-FD.imgfile to the VirtualBox VMs directory
      1. On Windows, you'd use Explorer, on MacOS, you'd use finder, and on Linux you'd use the Dolphin File Manager
  9. We also need a FreeDOS 1.3 boot disk
    1. Using your browser, go to
    2. Download from the "Live CD", button, and unzip the downloaded file
    3. Take the FD13BOOT.IMG file and copy it to the "VirtualBox VMs" folder
  10. Open the Settings for your virtual machine
    1. Make sure the Floppy controller has two devices, device 0 and device 1 (you may have to add an empty device)
      1. In Device 0, attach the SpinRite disk, SPINRITE-FD.img
      2. In Device 1, attach the FreeDOS disk, FD13BOOT.img
  11. Click on Start. The Virtual Machine should boot up from the SpinRite disk, which is Drive A
  12. The system will automatically boot into SpinRite. As soon as you can, hit Escape to terminate SpinRite and get back to the A:\> prompt
  13. You should now be at the A:\>prompt
  14. Change to the B: drive
  15. From root directory:
  16. cd \freedos\bin
    1. Copy the following files to A:\
    2. fdisk.*
    3. sys.*
    4. format.*
    5. fdapm.*
  17. Now enter A:to go back to the A drive
  18. edit config.sys
  19. Exit and save
  20. edit autoexec.bat
    1. REM the SPINRITE line
  21. Exit and save
  22. You'll now create a one line shutdown.bat file
    1. edit shutdown.bat
      1. /poweroff
    2. Exit and save
  23. from the A:\> command prompt:
  24. fdisk
    1. Question on Large Disk support - answer Y
    2. Choose option 1. Create DOS Partition or Logical DOS Drive
    3. Choose option 1. Create Primary DOS Partition
    4. Use max size: Y
    5. Partition will be created
    6. Press ESC
    7. Press ESC
    8. Message regarding restart. Press ESC
  25. Back at the A:\>prompt
    1. shutdown
  26. From the Settings:
    1. Remove the FD13BOOT.img from the floppy controller
  27. Start the VM again
  28. From the A:\>prompt:
    1. format c: /s
    2. at prompt that all will be deleted, type YES
    3. Enter volume name as desired
  29. Back to the A:\> prompt.
  30. Copy all files from the A Drive to the C drive
    1. copy *.* c:\
  31. Copy hidden files mkeyb.exe and srsplash.sys also
  32. type shutdown to end the virtual machine session
  33. Go to Settings | Storage:
    1. Remove attachment for SPINRITE-FD.img on the floppy controller
    2. Remove attachment for the Optical Disk connected to the IDE controller
    3. Add an AHCI controller
  34. Start the Virtual Machine
  35. It should boot to the C drive
  36. You can start SpinRite, it should only see the boot drive but it should work!!
    1. C:\>spinrite
  37. Shutdown the virtual machine
    1. C:\>shutdown
  38. That's it!!
  39. Now return back to your instructions for your Host OS to learn how to map the drives on the host into VirtualBox:
    1. Part 2B - Windows to Go Host OS
    2. Part 3B - Kubuntu Linux as Host OS
    3. Part 4B - MacOS as Host OS
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