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win7-64 won't run spinrite utility
January 27, 2013 - 1:37 pm
Member Since: June 26, 2011
Forum Posts: 6

Hello-Jim and All,

I've used Steve Gibson's spinrite utility for years on my xp and even win8 systems...Works great. tech support in the KB-SATA suggests you might have to change the bios to reflect legacy or compatibility mode????  I know enough about that to stay far, far away from something I'm NOT skilled at.

I see nothing in my bios to change the sata controllers to ide.  Some forums say it's trivial OR you can brick your machine, if you don't know what you're doing - that's ME!!

System: Dell win7-64 home premium - WD TB drive.

Suggestions/help greatly appreciated.

John in Dallas.

Jim Hillier
January 28, 2013 - 5:00 pm
Member Since: August 9, 2011
Forum Posts: 2702

Hey John - Apologies for the late reply. Been under siege from massive storms here. Long periods without power or internet. My main machine was fatally damaged during the initial power failure so I'm working on a much older "spare".  Our town (Bundaberg) is now completely flooded. Fortunately for us we live out of town and have not been directly affected by the flood waters but, we have been busy helping others, family and friends.

Okay, that's probably the longest apology you ever heard.

I know very little about Spinrite but, the info on the site seems to suggests that the utility still works okay with SATA drives but will not pull SMART data under some configurations:

SpinRite performs full maintenance and data recovery operations upon all SATA drives. But some default SATA configurations can limit SpinRite's ability to also obtain and display the drive's SMART data. While this does not limit the strength of SpinRite's maintenance and data recovery, SpinRite's on-the-fly interpretation of "raw" SMART data often provides useful, detailed and sensitive feedback about the current operating condition of SMART-capable drives. So, it's an added bonus when it's available.

So, are you saying that Spinrite will not work on your Win7 64-bit system at all, or that it won't work properly/fully?

Anyway, Dave would be much more up on this than I. I'll see if he can respond soon.

Cheers mate... Jim


January 28, 2013 - 9:25 pm
Member Since: December 31, 2011
Forum Posts: 17

John, I think the bit about compatibility mode is the answer.  I have run into this problem a couple of times on my Win7 desktop.  I boot from the SpinRite disk, it loads FreeDOS and then just hangs.  Here's what Greg, GRC's Tech Support guy, advised the first time this happened:

Do you have a SATA drive??

 If so, in your motherboard BIOS, you may find a way to switch your SATA knowledgeable motherboard to something called "Legacy IDE" or "Legacy Operation" or "Compatibility Mode".

 Various BIOSes call it different things, but the idea is that the SATA controllers, rather than appearing as "new fangled SATA controllers", are made to appear as standard, traditional IDE ATA drives.

 We have seen cases where the pattern testing has a problem when SATA drives are not in "Compatibility Mode".

 You will want to restore your motherboard to its regular SATA setting once you're done running SpinRite on your SATA drives.

I checked for the SATA settings, made the switch (I don't recall what it was actually called on my system) and SpinRite loaded fine and did its thing.

I know it's scary to fiddle with the BIOS setup, but it's worth having a look at whatever part of that setup deals with hard drives and look for the kinds of things Greg mentions. You say you've used SpinRite on other systems, so you know it's the best hard drive maintenance utility anywhere and it's worth spending the time trying to adjust the SATA settings.

Patrick in Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Jim Hillier
January 28, 2013 - 9:42 pm
Member Since: August 9, 2011
Forum Posts: 2702

The entry is called "Legacy IDE" in my BIOS... if that helps.

David Hartsock
January 29, 2013 - 6:56 am
Member Since: August 7, 2011
Forum Posts: 1117

The mode controls how the hardware communication is handled. Spinrite was written back in the IDE days (before SATA). I'm not sure if it is a limitation of the SATA spec, they haven't rewritten for SATA, or they are leaving it for compatibility (I.E., an IDE user wouldn't be able to emulate SATA, but a SATA user can emulate IDE).

Either way it looks like you have it figured out. Just don't forget to change it back after you're finished with Spinrite or you could be in a world of hurt!

Out of curiosity, why are you running Spinrite?

David Hartsock
January 30, 2013 - 5:39 am
Member Since: August 7, 2011
Forum Posts: 1117

Also, what model Dell are we talking about?

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