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  • 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.
  • Be sure to checkout “Tips & Tricks”
    Dear Guest Visitor → Once you register and log-in please checkout the “Tips & Tricks” page for some very handy tips!

    /Steve.
  • 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.

    (You may permanently close this reminder with the 'X' in the upper right.)

USB Floppy Drive Support

#1

ShadowMeow

ShadowMeow

USB Floppy Drive Support in SpinRite 7.0


#2

peterblaise

peterblaise

" . . . Bring back Floppy Drive support for both types of Floppy Drive (USB and Non-USB) . . ."

It never went away, fully available in the current SpinRite 5 and SpinRite 6.

OK, maybe not for testing diskettes in USB diskette drives . . . unless someone has a configuration success story to share.

Anyone?


#3

Steve

Steve

It's worth noting that we only have diskette support while we have a BIOS. Once the BIOS is gone, so will be the ability to boot DOS and thus the ability to run SR5 for diskette support. On the other hand... what UEFI-only machine would have diskette hardware? I doubt that any would. So that would mean USB diskette drives only. That would be possible and probably even likely under SR7. But for anyone who was serious about diskette maintenance and recovery (as opposed to someone who's just asking for features that serve no clear purpose) grabbing an older machine from eBay with a native diskette drive would be the way to go. (y)


#4

P

PHolder

This makes me think someone with some "info graphic" ability (so not me ;) ) should create a small "history of SpinRite" info graphic which shows the changes/evolution of SpinRite and the drives it's supported over those years, and provides the advice to use the old version for older hardware.


#5

peterblaise

peterblaise

". . . This makes me think someone with some "info graphic" ability (so not me ;) ) should create a small "history of SpinRite" info graphic which shows the changes/evolution of SpinRite and the drives it's supported over those years, and provides the advice to use the old version for older hardware . . ."

Like . . .

MFM/RLL drives --> SR1, 2, 3, 4, 5

IDE/ATA PATA --> SR6, or SR6.1, SR5 OK but not preferred

Diskettes --> SR5 is recommended, SR6 is good, too as a 2nd choice, if you've got SR1, 2, 3, or 4, OK, but . . .

Drives accessed via drivers --> SR6

USB --> SR6, or SR6.1 with USBCHK

List the reasons to use each SpinRite, where and how to boot, how to access a drive, and workarounds with adapters to get them to be seen by SpinRite one way or another.

SpinRite 5, 6, and eventually 6,1 are all that's available now, unless someone is reselling their old copies on eBay or Craig's List, or someone inherits a box of diskettes (don't throw anything away, people ! ).

Yes, I definitely see the need for an all-encompassing Wiki page on that, maybe even Wikipedia, if we can find published reference citations for each "SpinRite version x is good for" claim.

We have to test, duplicate, and document that each SpinRite version can access each drive type, but I can speculate on older versions that I probably can't easily test completely - I ain't got no MFM/RLL setups, for example.

SCSI, SAS, and so on.

Great idea.

Thoughts?

Thanks.


#6

Steve

Steve

I am SO TICKLED that you found/reminded me of that! It's going to be a lot of fun to update that page!! THANKS!


#7

peterblaise

peterblaise

". . . I am SO TICKLED that you found/reminded me of that! It's going to be a lot of fun to update that page!! THANKS! . . ."

At that link, I especially like:

Quick-Run diskette operation . . . advanced DynaStat Data Recovery to floppy diskettes . . . SpinRite 4.0 allows diskettes to be recovered without requiring a clean boot. The command line option: "DISKETTE" jumps the user directly into SpinRite for operation on the A: or B: diskette drives. Operation on hard disk drives is suppressed, since this continues to be unsafe without a clean system reboot. But diskettes can now be recovered much more easily and quickly. (And with surface analysis that's about seven times faster on diskettes!)​

Imagine that for ANY non-boot drive, even under Windows ( I presume that above was a hard drive booting to DOS ), and of course, I like the 'no clean boot required'.

And:

Miscellaneous interactions resolved . . . During the three years of SpinRite 3.1's existence, we encountered miscellaneous operational interactions with obscure hardware and software. Rather than pointing fingers, we've simply solved these problems by incorporating various work-arounds. As a result, SpinRite 4.0 was more able to operate with anything it encountered than any SpinRite before.​

Workarounds.

Gotta love 'em!

Wow, and that needs an entire SpinRite 6 section, as well as SpinRite 6.1, SpinTest, ReadSpeed, InitDisk ad infinitum!

We witnessed history in the making.

Now to document it.

Thanks as ever, @Steve.


#8

peterblaise

peterblaise

". . . Pokes Steve . . . Did you know using "DIR A:" before "SR5.EXE" fixes the issue I had? ..."

That makes perfect sense - waking up the system to talk to the diskette in the drive, then SR5 sees a prepared connection.

Like Abort Retry Ignore errors where the system holds stuff in cache but needs to re-read the drive to refresh, like reloading COMMAND.COM, I guess.

Savvy, nice workaround.

If SpinRite 5 ( or 6 ) can't 'see' a drive, exit, get DOS to list the contents of the drive you want to test, then try SpinRite again.​

We love to learn about workarounds.

;-)

Thanks.


#9

Steve

Steve

Diskettes seem quite "retro" at this point. And doing things just to be doing them doesn't make sense. It takes time away from adding other features and delays a release. Also... One of the reasons SpinRite v5.0's diskette recovery was SO GOOD was that it had direct hardware access to the drive. It's unclear how a USB interface would perform. And... v5.0 will always remain available even to SRv7 owners... So if diskette recovery was ever really needed, any old machine from eBay could be used for that purpose.


#10

S

SpinnerMan

I found a Spinrite Roadmap, Release 4 - January 17th, 2021, and it says that Spinrite 6.1 will remove floppy support. Just FYI…


#11

ShadowMeow

ShadowMeow

Diskettes seem quite "retro" at this point. And doing things just to be doing them doesn't make sense. It takes time away from adding other features and delays a release. Also... One of the reasons SpinRite v5.0's diskette recovery was SO GOOD was that it had direct hardware access to the drive. It's unclear how a USB interface would perform. And... v5.0 will always remain available even to SRv7 owners... So if diskette recovery was ever really needed, any old machine from eBay could be used for that purpose.
If RTOS has USB drivers, surely they would support USB floppy drives? Windows 11 still supports USB floppy drives because Microsoft thought it made sense. Linux still supports USB floppy drives. Just saying...


#12

S

SeanBZA

They support USB floppy drives only to the extent that they will read a sector, write a sector, support a FAT12 file system, and format a blank drive. They might not actually support direct access to the heads, stepper drivers, and the index pulses correctly. FDD support works directly with the hardware itself, running through 2 abstraction layers is harder, as the USB connection only has to emulate the diskette structure, and respond to OS calls only, not actually convert it to the raw code in the machine, and send to an IO port. It probably only has a diskette change bit, write protect, and the rest is up to the actual USB driver to do.


#13

Fuzzball

Fuzzball

v5.0 will always remain available even to SRv7 owners...
I thought it would be prudent for me to download SR5 to put on my SR6.1 thumb just on the odd chance I needed it. I found somewhere the instructions to go through the process of getting SR6.1.EXE download URL and changing the filename in the URL to SR5.EXE, but that wasn't working for me.

Can someone point me to the right SR5 download instructions? Technically I didn't buy Spinrite until 6.0 was released. I believe it was Christmas, 2005 when my Dad's hard drive crashed. Could that have something to do with it?

Also, will SR5 run on the latest FreeDOS thumb drives?


#14

ColbyBouma

ColbyBouma

Can someone point me to the right SR5 download instructions?
It's at the bottom of the FAQ: https://www.grc.com/sr/faq.htm

However, I just tried it, and it didn't work. It probably broke when Steve updated the server to deliver 6.1 instead of 6.0.


#15

P

PHolder

However, I just tried it, and it didn't work
@Steve
Yeah I also tried it and it didn't work for me either.


#16

ColbyBouma

ColbyBouma

I was just informed by private message that it has changed from sr5.exe to sr50.exe. I tried that, and it worked. I compared its hash to the copy I downloaded in 2018, and it matches.


#17

D

DanR

I was just informed by private message that it has changed from sr5.exe to sr50.exe. I tried that, and it worked. I compared its hash to the copy I downloaded in 2018, and it matches.
Change sr50.exe to sr60.exe instead to get SpinRite 6.0 (latest released version). :)


#18

ColbyBouma

ColbyBouma

SpinRite 6.0 (latest released version)
6.1 Release 3 (6.1.8863.0) is the latest released version.


#19

D

DanR

6.1 Release 3 (6.1.8863.0) is the latest released version.
Right. So?

My post was for anyone desiring to get a copy of SpinRite 6.0 to add it to their tool box.


#20

ColbyBouma

ColbyBouma

Ah, sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying.


#21

D

DanR

Good to know I am not the only one misunderstanding things! :)


#22

Steve

Steve

Thanks for figuring this all out, guys. I still have a lot of catching up and documenting to do. It's looking like I'm going to be needing to also make a directly downloadable .ISO for non-Windows people -- similar to the .IMG. I was hoping to avoid an .ISO, since I was mostly focused upon Linux people for whom the .IMG would be sufficient and also because .ISO's create a read-only (no logging) envrionment. But there's been a strong interest from Mac users who really want an .ISO, and that annoying VenToy is what everyone knows (though it's necessary to divert them to "Easy2Boot". (y)


#23

Fuzzball

Fuzzball

I was just informed by private message that it has changed from sr5.exe to sr50.exe. I tried that, and it worked. I compared its hash to the copy I downloaded in 2018, and it matches.
Thanks. Got it.