Spinrite - Cannot see my USB drive

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New member
Jul 14, 2023
I boot to Spinrite 6 with a USB stick, but for some reason Spinrite cannot see the drive I want to recover, which is a USB hard drive. Spinrite only sees the USB stick it is running on and not the USB hard drive I want to recover. Is there anything I can check? I am using Level 2.

The drive I want to recover is a 5 TB USB HDD which is NTFS formatted. The drive has bad sectors I wish to recover. But other than that, Windows can see the drive just fine.
cannot see the drive I want to recover, which is a USB hard drive
This is a function of your BIOS. At a minimum, a lot of BIOSes only see devices that existed at power on, so try plugging both drives in to start if you haven't already, In fact you can try that, and just check if the BIOS lists both devices (even without running SpinRite.)

Even SpinRite 6.1 does not bring its own USB drivers... that won't happen before 7.x. Until it comes with direct SpinRite driver support, the scanning will be slower because of how BIOS limits. The faster approach, for now, is to extract the drive inside an external case, if that is possible. (That's not possible for USB sticks, and may not be possible for all drives.)
USB drives are not listed in BIOS. This is a WD My Passport and has a USB 3 port integrated directly into the drive's board, so there is no SATA port on the drive for me to connect it to the SATA connector on the motherboard.

I've tried plugging in both drives prior to power on, but unfortunately, having both connected causes Spinrite to not want to boot. So I tricked the BIOS into booting Spinrite by plugging in the damaged drive soon after power on but before Spinrite loaded. Since I still cannot see the USB drive, the trick does not work. I will try to find another computer to see if Spinrite will boot while both drives are plugged in prior to power on.

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During the period of computers where 32-bit was the norm, I had a motherboard that when I had something plugged into a USB port (forgot what it was), it wouldn't post. And the oddest thing was to boot off a USB drive, I had to use a digital camera as an SD card reader. Best case, you can find an updated BIOS that will fix the boot issue. Worst case, forced to use another computer.
having both connected causes Spinrite to not want to boot
BIOSes are complicated when it comes to boot decisions. Some BIOSes will let you choose boot order by type of device, and then choosing one of each type to be the top of the list. You'd need to spend time in your BIOS to see if you can play around with any boot orders.

There is another problem with USB... it doesn't always allow for the level of control that SATA would. It's still possible for SpineRite to do reads and writes, but many USB interfaces seem to just hang on errors, and so SpinRite would potentially hang as well.

Hopefully you can find a way to get something to work for you.