InitDisk

  • SpinRite v6.1 Release #3
    Guest:
    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.
    /Steve.
  • 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!

    /Steve.
  • 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.)

Did you try the Regedit fix? I'd backup the registry first.
From EaseUs:
  • Step 1: Press Windows + R keys to bring up the Run dialogue, type regedit in the search box and hit Hit.
  • Step 2: In the Registry editor, navigate to the key:
  • Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies
  • Step 3: Double-click on the WriteProtect value in the right-hand pane of Regedit.exe. Change the Value data from 1 to 0 and click OK to save the change.
  • Step 4: Close Regedit and restart your computer.
 
Did you try the Regedit fix? I'd backup the registry first.
From EaseUs:
  • Step 1: Press Windows + R keys to bring up the Run dialogue, type regedit in the search box and hit Hit.
  • Step 2: In the Registry editor, navigate to the key:
  • Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies
  • Step 3: Double-click on the WriteProtect value in the right-hand pane of Regedit.exe. Change the Value data from 1 to 0 and click OK to save the change.
  • Step 4: Close Regedit and restart your computer.
Thank you but already tried that.
 
Do you know the history of your USB stick? Has it been heavily used or lightly used, for example? I wonder if it locked itself because it has reached an internal state where it has written too many times, and has no reserve space left, and so the drive logic feels it would be unsafe to allow further writes.
 
I just had a Kingston 16 Gb Data Traveller become read only. After trying initdisk and various utilities on windows, mac and linux to clear the read only status, I finally concluded what some had suggested. That when a Kingston drive is failing, the firmware marks it as read only. I made an image of the drive and plan to restore it to another to see what data can be recovered.
 
can I safely use initdisk to reformat a drive which I randomly found in a parking lot

No. A usb stick found on a parking lot can be infected with 'things' that will autorun on your machine before you have a chance to run anything on it, or pretend to be a keyboard to do evil thing (check "badusb" for instance).
 
I may have the answer to this "Read-Only" issue.

Some of the Kingston Data Traveler product line up are encrypted from the factory, meaning they have two hard coded partitions on the drive:
1. A Read-only partition that contains a program which is supposed to auto-launch upon insertion. That program will ask for your credentials, and if successfully entered, the program will the mount the other partition on the drive
2. An encrypted partition that can only be accessed after the proper credentials are entered in the program from partition 1.

Take a look at the Kingston Data Traveler product page, and note that some are encrypted, and some are not (really would have been better if they used a different brand name for the encrypted ones!!).
https://www.kingston.com/unitedstates/us/usb-flash-drives

And here's a review from Anandtech explaining the day-to-day operation of such a drive.

Given the hard-coded nature of the partitioning of these drives, I don't think they can be reformatted by InitDisk either for use as a plain data drive or as a boot drive. @Steve , perhaps you can at least identify these drives and tell the user they are out of luck! Not sure how best to identify them, either by behavior or by identifying the firmware chipset in the drive (the review notes the use of a Phison 2313 controller in the tested drives)
 
Last edited:
@Scott : I believe that I have a bunch of those drives, and that InitDisk does, indeed, blow away all of that Kingston “specialness” without any trouble. But I'll check again once we get back to packaging up the “ReadSpeed” benchmark. Thanks!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Barry Wallis
@Scott : I believe that I have a bunch of those drives, and that InitDisk does, indeed, blow away all of that Kingston “specialness” without any trouble. But I'll check again once we get back to packaging up the “ReadSpeed” benchmark. Thanks!
@Scott I too had issues with a few new drive like this. Here is what worked for me (Windows)

I can't state enough to be very careful with this you don't want a mistake.
  1. Open DiskPart Elevated
  2. List Disk (to locate the disk number of the USB)
  3. Select Disk # (the number you Identified)
  4. Clean
Now create a partition in any manner you would like. Prior to this I had issues with everything to do with getting rid of these tough partitions. Now it is a piece ok cake.

I hope this helps.

One update: I did need to use "attributes disk clear readonly" on one drive so far.
 
Last edited:
Initdisk is amazing. I've just gone through over 30 usb sticks accrued over the years and they are all wiped, except one. This last key, initdisk is sitting there and the little drive light is flashing and nothing going on. If the inability to do anything with this usb stick is of interest, let me know what if any actions I can take to contribute.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Barry Wallis
So sorry for tardiness in keeping up with this thread. Family issues.
I was asked about the history of this drive. It was used by Window 10 as a backup drive on a system I was looking at. Using Windows own backup facility. After this it showed as locked.
 
Initdisk is amazing. I've just gone through over 30 usb sticks accrued over the years and they are all wiped, except one. This last key, initdisk is sitting there and the little drive light is flashing and nothing going on. If the inability to do anything with this usb stick is of interest, let me know what if any actions I can take to contribute.
Just gave InitDisk v5 a whirl and this stubborn 64mb ( yep megabyte ) usb stick has now been InitDisk'd. woohoo
 
  • Love
Reactions: Steve