SpinRite v6.1 Now at Release #3

  • 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.
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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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My test bench machine is a Latitude E6440 and for whatever reason it will not see the USB SATA dock that is plugged into if I boot off of a SpinRite USB stick, but will be detected if I boot off internal optical media.

Either way, I'm hoping that it may be an isolated incident with my environment and not a larger issue where people can't boot their SpinRite optical media.

Otherwise, I certainly agree, USB sticks all the way, and my tool kit is a very well worn (chrome right off the finish) Kingston SE8 DataTraveler that I've copied all my IT tools onto after SpinRite did its magic to it.
Just 3 days ago I burned an ISO to a CD using standard Windows tools (Win 11), and booted from the CD, and it worked.

I did this because I wanted to see if my Mac could boot from that CD - it couldn’t but I think that’s because I have a bad CD drive on my Mac, not because the CD I made was bad)
 
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Thanks for the confirmation, Scott... but even more, holy crap! — the work you're doing for booting SpinRite in hostile (and previously impossible) environments is astonishing!! (y)
 
Yes @Steve , it works as I have successfully used in on a SurfacePro 2 (UEFI only), and an HP laptop (in UEFI mode) that has an NVME M.2 drive. ReadSpeed reported improvements with both after running SpinRite. No MAC's here to try it on.
 
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Thanks for the confirmation, Scott... but even more, holy crap! — the work you're doing for booting SpinRite in hostile (and previously impossible) environments is astonishing!! (y)
Thanks! It's been a fun puzzle to figure out how to turn "it should work" into "here's how to make it work"! Next steps:
1. I'll add Bootable to the native "Booting FreeDOS on a Mac" instructions
2. If I ever get my hands on ARM Mac and/or ARM PC (like some Microsoft Surface devices), I'll add instructions for them. I really doubt that ARM Mac devices will ever be made to work, but I'll try whenever I get the hardware to see if that's so.
 
I'll see whether I can follow in your footsteps. But I'm curious why you chose ISO and burning a disc over setting up a bootable USB thumb drive? SpinRite v6.1 now defaults to trying to log, and the logs are much more informative than before. Would booting USB work for you?
Hi Steve, if you had time to attempt, were you able to replicate the issue?
 
Hi Steve, using 6.1 on a known failing 4tb western digital HDD with a 3.1 USD hub and when it reached the bad area with level 5, it had marked some of the on-screen blocks with a red B. Not a problem and expected. Then I noticed the dock light for the drive was off but 6.1 was still running. I restarted everything , 6.1 would not exit, but started with level 3 a few % before the bad area. This time no B's in red on-screen but in the rough area of the previous problem area the dock light was off again but 6.1 was still running and displaying it was making good progress through the disk. To confirm, I powered off the USB hub and 6.1 still continued and though it would respond to the left/right and ESC key, I could not cancel and exit, again. Had to power off the PC to restart. Just wanted to report that despite the disk being offline, 6.1 was continuing to function as though the disk was connected. As as I won't use the HDD for live use as it is failing, thought a good test to work with and try out 6.1. Thanks John
 
I downloaded the new 6.1 with the .img file, dd'ed it to a flash disk and booted it on a pc.
The program launches, presents the into text prompting me to press enter to continue. I am then at the memory check screen at which point it appears the entire PC has locked up. No keyboard inputs at all.
Running a mem test manually with memtest86, I got no memory issues.

Is this a known bug? I have a Gigabyte HT3.0 Motherboard
 
….. I am then at the memory check screen at which point it appears the entire PC has locked up. No keyboard inputs at all.
Running a mem test manually with memtest86, I got no memory issues.

Is this a known bug? I have a Gigabyte HT3.0 Motherboard
Not a known bug. There is a command line switch to bypass the memory check:
C:\>spinrite noramtest

Start with that and see if you can proceed further and if any other problems arise.
 
I had no activity on the screen what so ever.
I ran it inside a VM (Vmware Workstation 17) just now to see what its supposed to do, and it seems as if it just keeps checking ram indefinitely until you press enter to continue?
I found it strange however that it locked up on me again in the VM when I did a benchmark on a VM harddrive.
Starting to think maybe the flash drive I used may have issues? (Im accessing the disk as a raw disk in VMware, so I am running off the flash disk)
Ill write the image to a different flash drive and see if I get the same results.


Edit: Same results on a different flash drive.
Starting with noramtest gets me past, but I question the reliability of the tool on this system if it cannot past the ram test without locking up.
 
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Starting to think maybe the flash drive I used may have issues? (Im accessing the disk as a raw disk in VMware, so I am running off the flash disk)

Edit: Same results on a different flash drive.
Starting with noramtest gets me past, but I question the reliability of the tool on this system if it cannot past the ram test without locking up.
Running in any virtualization environment is unsupported and not particularly well tested. You’re the first person I’ve seen who’s even attempted running in VMWare. I wrote all the VirtualBox instructions and had good luck on all 4 of my machines under VirtualBox but if I hit a failure point I wouldn’t consider it a SpinRite problem unless it was seen in native mode.

Is your system able to boot FreeDOS natively?
 
Running in any virtualization environment is unsupported and not particularly well tested. You’re the first person I’ve seen who’s even attempted running in VMWare. I wrote all the VirtualBox instructions and had good luck on all 4 of my machines under VirtualBox but if I hit a failure point I wouldn’t consider it a SpinRite problem unless it was seen in native mode.

Is your system able to boot FreeDOS natively?
I only opted to run in vmware after it froze multiple times on a physical machine. I wasn't sure if the ram test was supposed to do this or not, so I ran in a vm and found out that no, it was supposed to actually do something on the screen. The system is booting FreeDos for sure because spinrite is actually starting and running.
I have no idea what would cause this system to lockup on the ram test portion. Ram was fine being tested with memtest86
 
Now that Release 3 is out maybe you should change the prompts that are still pointing everyone (ie Registered users) to the Pre-Release page to download v6.1. The Pre-release page now just shows a generic 404 error, with no guidance as to where to go.

Even the big "v6.1 Release 3" banner at the top of EVERY forum page still instructs people to go to the Pre-Release page [https://www.grc.com/prerelease.htm]." A few posts have been made across the forums directing the confused to the the Customer Service page - so most will eventually find the correct page. But there are multiple links across many threads still pointing people to the Pre-Release page - all resulting in a confusing generic 404 error page. A simple option would be to reinstate a Pre-Release html page with a link to the Customer Service page (and a brief explanation) - or just program an automatic redirect.
 
Now that Release 3 is out maybe you should change the prompts that are still pointing everyone (ie Registered users) to the Pre-Release page to download v6.1. The Pre-release page now just shows a generic 404 error, with no guidance as to where to go.

Even the big "v6.1 Release 3" banner at the top of EVERY forum page still instructs people to go to the Pre-Release page [https://www.grc.com/prerelease.htm]." A few posts have been made across the forums directing the confused to the the Customer Service page - so most will eventually find the correct page. But there are multiple links across many threads still pointing people to the Pre-Release page - all resulting in a confusing generic 404 error page. A simple option would be to reinstate a Pre-Release html page with a link to the Customer Service page (and a brief explanation) - or just program an automatic redirect.
This is on Steve's "To Do" list and is part of the overall GRC website SpinRite 6.1 documentation work remaining to be done.

But first is getting the new GRC email system finished and running. :)

 
But I'm curious why you chose ISO and burning a disc over setting up a bootable USB thumb drive?
I keep seeing this and similar comments. I think the primary reason should be obvious. A disk cost pennies and a thumb cost dollars, and few people have surplus thumbs on hand that can be dedicated to spinrite boot media. Although I have to admit the thumb alternative seems to be much more reliable as a bootable media.