Issues Running Spinrite for the First Time, and the Solutions.

I recently bought Spinrite for two reasons:

  1. To help support Mr Steve Gibson from GRC, the creator of Spinrite and also the host of my favourite podcast, Security Now!
  2. I love nerdy things, and I have many hard drives that I wouldn’t mind running some maintenance on.

I then used Spinrite to set up a bootable USB drive, and fired it up.  My computer began booting, and quickly stopped at an all-text screen with the error:

“…bad or missing command interpreter”

This is an issue with Freedos.  It can easily be fixed by creating a bootdisk based on MS-DOS.  The easiest way to do that is to grab a copy of “Rufus” (here), and using it to turn a USB into the MS-DOS bootdisk we need.

  1. Download Rufus
  2. Use it to turn a USB drive into a bootable MS-DOS disk
  3. Copy Spinrite.exe onto the root of your bootable drive

Now when you boot into MS-DOS via this new disk, simply type

> Spinrite.exe

And we can now let Spinrite run!

A while into a scan….

“Division Overflow Error!”

Spinrite has a known issue with large drives. But this can be fixed with BIOS settings.

If you have SATA drives, look for the settings in your BIOS that control the mode these drives are in.  For me, what worked was switching the mode from “IDE” to “AHCA”, but my Googling has lead me to believe that Legacy-type modes have worked for others, so try that one if AHCA doesn’t work.

And finally, after the above two issues, I was another very happy user of Spinrite.  Using it to gain significant performance out of my laptop.

3 thoughts on “Issues Running Spinrite for the First Time, and the Solutions.

  1. jay joffe

    why is freedos suddenly broken? what’s going on when selecting drive for use and it blinks working… forever?


  2. Em

    If you are having the issue and don’t have other options, try Viva/ViVARD on the UBCD, it’s in the hdd tool list.
    I had this issue with a raid drive a few weeks ago, different machines, dos, freedos, bios settings, nothing changed.
    But it also happened at the same point the raid rebuild was failing. Hoping to get the raid back I went looking for similar programs and found the above.
    I suggest you use spinrite and viva together. The interesting thing for me was VIVA didn’t crash at the same point, it completed overnight and remapped a bunch of sectors.
    It was at this point, I had some hope and plugged the drive back into the raid, which failed at the same point. Arg!
    I plugged the drive back into spinrite and it progressed further this time and then overflowed ~10% down the line. Arg?
    Plugged it back into the raid, it rebuilt another 10%. Woo!
    At this point I realized the drive is having a bad time, gave it luck for the punishment that’s ahead and plugged it back into Viva, which remapped some more sectors.
    This cycle repeated for 5 or 6 times before the raid was rebuilt , I then dropped that drive for a new one and let it rebuild again without issue.
    I don’t represent any author in anyway, just offering a potential solution if someone else faces it.
    Viva alone wasn’t solving the raid problem for me, but if sure did help spinrite get over it’s overflow problem which then did fit ix.


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