One of my disks doesn't show up.

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Brian Tillman
Sep 23, 2020
28
5
I have two USB drives on my computer. One is a Western Digital MyBook and the other is a Seagate GoFlex. The former is just under 2TB and the latter is just under 3TB. When I boot SpinRite 61 prerelease (I just downloaded it today), only the MyBook shows (BIOS port 84). For BIOS port 85 I get "This drive cannot be accessed." I thought, "That's weird because SpinRite 6.0 saw both drives the last time I used it." So I booted 6.0 and it just sat there trying to detect the system drives. I never got to the screen where I could choose the drives. I pretty sure I've used SpinRite with these two disks before. I definitely know I've used SpinRite 6.0 on this computer. Windows detects both drives and they work just fine, although the Seagate does take about 30 seconds before it spins up at boot time. That's a relatively recent occurrence. Note: I'm guessing that BIOS port 84 is the Western Digital and 85 the Seagate, but I don't have any good way to correlate what the screen shows me with which drive is which.

Any suggestions on how to figure out what might be happening?
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USB drives
DOS predates USB, so USB support is provided 100% by your BIOS. You may not get it to work, depending on how your BIOS works. (This should be different on SpinRite 7 when that comes.) If you're plugging both drives in at once, it may only show one drive at a time, in case you haven't tried it that way. Plug/unplug and play support probably doesn't work with the BIOS... so one thing to try is to plug the drive in before turning your PC on, and then see if the BIOS recognizes it and passes it through.
 
Windows detects both drives and they work just fine, although the Seagate does take about 30 seconds before it spins up at boot time.
That might be the key to the trouble. If something about that drive requires a long time for it to become ready, the BIOS itself may see it but not fully register it, and/or SpinRite might test it but then see that it's not ready.

You MIGHT still be able to get it to "kick" online if you try to select the drive and if SpinRite allows you to "try again" to access it. In some of the ways a drive "cannot be accessed" SpinRite will let you try some more. If you keep 'nudging' the drive it might get the hint and bring itself online. Anyway... just a thought.
 
DOS predates USB, so USB support is provided 100% by your BIOS. You may not get it to work, depending on how your BIOS works. (This should be different on SpinRite 7 when that comes.) If you're plugging both drives in at once, it may only show one drive at a time, in case you haven't tried it that way. Plug/unplug and play support probably doesn't work with the BIOS... so one thing to try is to plug the drive in before turning your PC on, and then see if the BIOS recognizes it and passes it through.
The two drives are always plugged in. However, I'll try the suggestions I've received and I thank you.
 
Turns out that the drive having trouble is the Western Digital MyBook. I unplugged it to see what SP61Pre might do and it behaved just as it did. Port 84 was still there. When I plugged it back in again and rebooted, it didn't show at all. Port 85 didn't appear. I unplugged the Seagate and plugged in the WD and neither ports 84 nor 85 showed. I plugged both back in again and Port 84 showed up again. No mention of 85. I rebooted Windows and the WD did not appear there either. I think it may have died. It sill spins, though. I've got things to investigate.
 
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Perhaps off topic here. but why can SpinRite 6.0 handle USB drives larger than 137 GB but SpinRite 6.1 can't?
 
Perhaps off topic here. but why can SpinRite 6.0 handle USB drives larger than 137 GB but SpinRite 6.1 can't?
SpinRite 6.0 was not CATCHING SERIOUS BUGS in the popular AMI BIOS. This was BAD. So SR6.0 is not safe to use on any USB drive that SpinRite 6.1 marks as "Yellow" and refuses to use. We have a fix for this for SpinRite 6.1 which WILL allow it to run on USB drives of any size — even on buggy AMI BIOSes. (y)
 
I did some more testing. The BIOS sees both USB drives. Windows sees them as well. SpinRite 6.1 refuses to see the WD drive. Says "This drive can't be accessed." SpinRite 6.0 locks up on the page where it's discovering the devices.

Is the fix applicable to the prerelease?
 
Is the fix applicable to the prerelease?
Yes. Basically you need to "certify" that you know your BIOS isn't problematic, or if it is, that you have applied the fix developed by a 3rd party developer as DOS TSR (terminate and stay resident) application. It will patch the problematic instruction(s) in the BIOS to prevent the problem. You then need to use a command line parameter to make SpinRite aware that you don't want it to enforce the 137G boundary protections. I don't know if the process is officially documented in a FAQ or not, so perhaps @Steve or @Paul F (the creator of the patch) will chime in.
 
". . . I did some more testing. The BIOS sees both USB drives. Windows sees them as well. SpinRite 6.1 refuses to see the WD drive. Says "This drive can't be accessed." SpinRite 6.0 locks up on the page where it's discovering the devices. Is the fix applicable to the prerelease? . . ."

OK, SpiRite 6.1 sees the drives if it comments on it.

At this point in the cascade of this thread, you seem to be verifying that something on the WD drive has died.

Does it behave the same when connected to other computers?

Does it even spin up on its own anymore when just plugged into a USB charger?

Thanks.

.
 
Is the fix applicable to the prerelease?
The most recent release that's now available (5.06) has added a command-line option specifically for this case. The command-line option is “skipverify”. It forces SpinRite to “trust the force” and not perform its usual startup drive transfer verification tests. It appears that those startup tests are dropping that drive into “Device Fault”, thus preventing SpinRite from ever getting the chance to work with it further.

So...
  1. Power everything down (to clear any previous Device Fault state).
  2. First power up and finicky drive and give it plenty of time to get itself online and ready.
  3. Then, with that USB-connected drive already connected, power up the PC.
    With the drive freshly powered up, started and ready, the PC's BIOS should see the drive.
  4. Then run the latest pre-release of SpinRite, adding the command-line option: “skipverify” to force SpinRite to just find the drive but not ask anything of it before SpinRite starts to run on the drive.
  5. And finally, start SpinRite in the drive to see what it finds.
And please note that ANY drive that SpinRite knocks offline into “Device Fault” should no longer be trusted to hold anything, important or not. We are learning that a drive like that CAN probably still be read from — until you touch one of its “sore spots” — but its days are likely numbered (and that number may not be large.)
 
I tried again with these steps. Whether or not I use the /skipverify switch, the 2TB Seagate GoFlex shows in yellow but appears available for SpinRite. The 3TB Western Digital Digital appears in orange (or pink - I can't tell), had no information about it and when I press Enter shows the following. Yet it works just fine in Windows 10.
 

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During our testing we discovered that popular BIOSes had a seriously bad bug in their USB handling that caused main memory to be altered. This occurs when accessing any drive past their 137GB point. So when SpinRite encounters a driver larger than 137GB connected through USB, it flags the drive in yellow and when that drive is selected it will explain to its user that only the first 137GB of the drive can be tested. This is an annoying limitation of SpinRite today that will disappear with SpinRite 7, but working through the BIOS, in general, is much less desirable than directly.

Whatever it is that's going on with your other drive, shown in that picture, it and your system's BIOS do not appear to be getting along. And since SpinRite still accesses USB drives through the BIOS, that also hampers SpinRite's ability to work with that drive. :(
 
I don't think it's an AMI BIOS. I have a Dell XPS 8500 and AMI isn't mentioned. I'll try again with the newest prerelease.
 
It IS the BIOS. There is nothing that SR 6.0/6.1, Steve, or you can do about it.

Your BIOS may be limited to 28 bits of addressing in a PC as old as yours. If so, what the BIOS sees for max drive capacity and what the drive may be declaring to SpinRite 6.x may not match - in which case SpinRite 6.x will not touch the drive(s).

Windows has no problem because it uses its own native drivers for accessing the drives. (The BIOS is not involved)

SpinRite 7.0 will also have native USB drivers (And NO BIOS limitations!) and will have no problem accessing these drives.

You are seeing a limitation of your BIOS. There will be no solution for this – until SR 7.0 is here.

I would concur with trying the newest SR development release. It might tell you more about the BIOS situation in this PC.
 
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