SpinRite ISO Issues

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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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May 18, 2023

I came to my office this morning to discover my laptop at a bluescreen. On reboot, it's showing "2101: Detection error on SSD1 (M.2).
I'm trying to create a bootable USB, but I don't have access to a Windows system. I've run the EXE under Wine, and got an ISO. I've burned it onto a USB using ddrescue, but when I try to boot to it, it just fails (I've tried three different USBs). What is supposed to be in the ISO? I see only a copy of SpinRite.exe, not freedos or anything like that?

$ sudo mount SpinRite.iso /mnt/ -o loop
mount: /mnt: WARNING: source write-protected, mounted read-only.
$ ls -l /mnt/
total 170
-r-xr-xr-x 1 root root 173144 Jun 6 2004 SPINRITE.EXE

Is that correct?
I've confirmed that I can use that same process with an ubuntu iso and it works fine.
If it just fails to boot, it may be that your PC is not set up to allow Legacy Booting. Most modern PC's have UEFI booting and Legacy (DOS style) booting options, although the very newest PCs no longer support Legacy Booting at all. You may need to disable secure boot and enable something called the CSM (Compatibility Support Module) to be able to enable Legacy Booting. There is one potential issue... some BIOS/UEFI will clear the TPM module if you disable secure boot, and that could cause the loss of necessary keys if you were using Bitlocker to secure the PC. Hopefully your Bitlocker keys are backed up (either in OneDrive or some other way) if this is an issue you'd face.
I'm able to use the exact same process with an Ubuntu ISO, and it works fine. So I think I must be doing something wrong with the ISO. I started it (under wine, as it's my Windows system that's crashed), and selected to export the ISO.
Ah, thank you. I misunderstood. I didn't realize that was a per-iso setting.
When I get into the BIOS, I have a setting for "UEFI/Legacy Boot". It was enabled. I had to find the secure boot option, disable that, and then change it to legacy only.
Now when I boot, hit enter and select boot menu, and select the USB device, the screen goes black for 2-3 seconds, and then comes back to that menu. (Before it never went away, or came back so fast I couldn't notice).
Okay, so we'll assume your PC is now doing a Legacy Boot, so now we need to figure out why it doesn't like the SpinRite image you have. Let's try a different approach for you. Assuming you have a friend's PC (or that the Wine option will work for you) use the GRC tool InitDisk with the command line option FREEDOS to make a bootable FreeDOS USB. Make sure that will boot. https://www.grc.com/initdisk.htm If it does boot, then copy your SpinRite.EXE onto it, and you should be able to boot to FreeDOS, then invoke SpinRite.EXE from there and it should work as one would expect.
Thanks for your help. I'm struggling to find another PC or to get Wine working on my Linux system. I've ordered a new ssd for the laptop, so getting Windows up and running on it might be the fastest way.
So I also ordered a little m2 to usb converter, and I managed to get it loaded into SpinRight on my main system. This is a new issue (let me know if I should start a new thread), but when I try to scan it, it warned about some errors in the drive metadata.
Then when it gets started, it runs for a few minutes, then crashes here: