Q for forum moderators - any value in formally organizing the "How-Tos"?

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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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Well-known member
Sep 18, 2020
While I was corresponding with TheBigBear on UEFI and VirtualBox, I enumerated the different variation of machines, firmware, and OSes that have somewhat differing prep work in order to run SpinRite. I came up with these 11, but they could be rearranged in some other logical way as well. I'm wondering if it makes sense to reorganize this section of the forum to a documented order so that folks can find the circumstance that applies to them easily and follow the appropriate instructions. I'm not sure if that would be @Steve or one of the other moderators (and I'm not even sure who else has the power to do so!!)

A. Variations of native FreeDOS booting
  1. Older PC from floppy
    1. Windows and Linux
  2. Older PC from CD
    1. Windows and Linux
  3. Non UEFI PC from USB
    1. Windows and Linux
  4. UEFI with CSM PC from USB
    1. Windows and Linux
  5. Older Mac (2006 to 2010) that can only boot from CD
  6. Older Mac (2011 to 2015) that can boot from USB (these can also use the UEFI virtualization solutions)
B. Variations of UEFI booting with FreeDOS and SR running in VirtualBox
  1. UEFI only PC AND newer Intel Macs (2016 to 2022) booted from Windows to Go USB with VirtualBox
  2. UEFI only PC AND newer Intel Macs (2016 to 2022) booted from Linux USB with VirtualBox
  3. Newer Intel Macs (2016 to 2022) booted from MacOS on USB device with VirtualBox
  4. ARM Macs. Possibly booting MacOS from external drive and running some type of emulation / virtualization, and running FreeDOS within that environment.
  5. ARM PCs (like the Microsoft Surface). Unknown if there’s an ARM Windows to Go or some other way to boot something externally with x86 emulation that can see the internal drives on the PC.
Unknown if ARM systems can ever work but I list them for completeness.

There are already threads for numbers A4 and A6, and I'm about to write up B1, B2, and B3 here on the forums

Comments on whether / how to do this are welcome (though I can't rearrange things, but maybe somebody can)
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